Mother's Day Q&A with South Bay Tennis Center's Courtney Hance - USTA Southern California



MAY 14, 2023  |  STEVE PRATT



MAY 14, 2023


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It doesn’t happen very often, but a great day on the tennis courts these days for South Bay Tennis Center’s Courtney Hance is when one of her four children stops by and jumps into one of her popular clinics at the Torrance facility she owns with her husband Ken. 

On this Mother’s Day Weekend, we caught up with Hance and asked her about raising her four children – Kenadi (26), Connor (24), Kimmi (20), and Keaton (15) – three of which have competed on the Division I level. Kenadi played for Washington, Connor starred at UCLA and Kimmi is currently a Bruin sophomore. Keaton is one of the world’s top players his age and plays for the U.S. National team recently competing for the U.S. 14U Davis Cup team in Prague, Czech Republic.

Question: What was the most challenging aspect of raising the four kids?

Courtney Hance: I think just trying to help them be well-adjusted and kind. That was my lifelong goal when I had kids. I just want them to be well-adjusted, kind and happy.

Q: Did tennis help you in achieving that goal of raising well-adjusted children?

CH: The thing about giving something like a sport to your children is that it transfers into life and learning how to cope with conflict and learning how to deal with stressful situations. And what’s funny is I never emphasized academics because they worked so hard to be good at their tennis it just transitioned into their academics. If you outwork the world on the tennis court, then that will carry over into the classroom. I believe that all parents should have their kids in sports because it only helps in every other aspect of their life.

Q: With both you and Ken owning a tennis facility, was there pressure to have all the kids play tennis?

CH: No, there wasn’t. We did karate and music lessons and soccer. It wasn’t all tennis. I didn’t really think all my kids were going to play tennis just because I loved tennis and grew up playing tennis.

One of the challenging things we faced when they were all getting really good was choosing which national tournaments we could afford to go to. Who gets to play Clay Courts and who gets to play Spring Nationals? Kenadi and Connor were both top in the nation. So one of us had to stay home and work and the other traveled with them. We just had to make hard choices. The thing is they knew we had to make these hard choices and it didn’t put more pressure on them, it just taught them gratitude. “Wow, I’m so lucky I get play this tournament.” It was huge. They were just so grateful and blessed that they got to go to Peachtree, Georgia, or wherever.

So Ken traveled with the older ones and I stayed home and ran the business. With the younger ones and me less mobile with a bad hip and not able to teach 10, 12 hours a day, I’ve been traveling and Ken has stayed back to teach.

Q: What are some of your favorite earliest memories of the kids?

CH: It’s funny because it doesn’t center around tennis. My favorite memory of Kenadi was her musical recitals and performing arts. Those were incredibly joyous moments because it was outside my box. I mean, I can’t act or sing. For Connor from ages 5 to 10, it was the more than 30 commercials he did as a child actor. For Kimmi it’s just seeing her come out of her shell. She was so shy, but she just loves college tennis and is the vocal leader on her team. So that’s been neat to see. For Keaton, he was one of the best athletes in elementary school and actually has a paper Burger King crown for winning the district fourth-grade handball championship. It’s the best trophy I have.

Q: Favorite thing to do after a long day on the courts teaching tennis?

CH: Well, to be honest it’s to come home, eat dinner and watch Netflix.

Q: What do you miss most about the pre-teen years?

CH: Just all of them home at once – all the love and chaos. We have a family text which is fun, but one of them is always gone.

Q: Tips or advice you would give to young parents?

CH: Kill them with love and kindness, and they can’t turn out bad. My strategy was different. I wasn’t very strict. I didn’t have a lot of rules or structure. I just loved the heck out of them.

Q: Do you have any Mother’s Day traditions?

CH: What I like to do is honor all the mothers who have helped me on my journey. Everyone from my aunt and to all my friends. When you’re a working mom, you have to instill a lot of helpers, but all the mothers along the way have really influenced me and paved the way for the mother I am.

Q: Plans for this Mother’s Day?

CH: I will be attending a wedding for my daughter’s best friend.

Q: Favorite tournament the kids played?     

CH: It would have to be Ojai. One year Kenadi and Connor were playing the Pac-12, Kimmi played the Open and Keaton the 14s. So each of them played the same year. That was my favorite all-time tournament.

Q: You have had three children play Division I, Pac-12 tennis and the youngest is an aspiring pro. Do you ever sit back and say, Dang, it’s been a good run?

CH: You know what, you’re just trying to do the best job you can and keep your kids safe and healthy. It is fun to think that and think, how did I get so lucky? But it’s just been a lot of time. A lot of blood, sweat and tears. People ask me, how did you get all four of them to play tennis? I just say I let it be their decision. It’s all about making it fun so they want to be out on the court and enjoying the grind. When I look back, I just think how lucky that they have all thrived on this tennis journey.


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