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Young tennis trainer Offutt loaded with experience
by Maurice Dixon
July 02, 2014 03:38 PM | 1400 views | 0 0 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Staff / Katherine Frye<br>Connor Offutt, who grew up in Asia, trains tennis players at the DeKalb Tennis Center.
Staff / Katherine Frye
Connor Offutt, who grew up in Asia, trains tennis players at the DeKalb Tennis Center.
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Because of his well-traveled past, which included a lot of tennis, Connor Offutt already has enough experience to train others at a relatively young age. Appearing closer to 30 years old, Offutt is only 21 but training at a high level at the DeKalb Tennis Center.

“Most of my clients assume I’m 27, 28 years old,” Offutt said. “By the time the client-teacher relationship is close enough that you would ask the age, they already know who I am.

“That I’m a good coach and I know how to train so age doesn’t become a factor then. When you have grown up in as many places as I have, you have to grow up pretty fast.”

Offutt grew up in Kyrgyzstan and also lived in Kazakhstan and Thailand.

“I grew up playing tennis in Kyrgyzstan,” said Offutt, whose parents were missionaries. “The courts were like a gravel parking lot with lines painted over it. It was pretty fun playing over there. I played with balls that didn’t have any felt on them that would bounce sporadically.”

While in Thailand, Offutt had a chance to learn from Paradorn Srichaphan, the first men’s singles player from Asia to be ranked in the ATP top 10.

“He’s a celebrity there,” Offutt said.

As far as training at the DeKalb Tennis Center, Offutt has been there just over two years and helps kids as young as 3 and adults as old as 72.

“I will train anyone who wants a lesson but I definitely prefer competitive juniors who want to be the best,” Offutt said. “I also enjoy anyone who is there to have a good time and learn, but my favorites are the ones who are really passionate — have that fire in their eyes.”

Offutt also coaches an ALTA team, which recently won the city finals, and his younger brother, who attends Parkview.

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