Serena Williams Launched a Mentorship Program for Young Athletes On Instagram
The tennis star is using Instagram to support female athletes all over the world.
When Serena Williams lost a US Open set earlier this week to Caty McNally, a 17-year-old up-and-coming tennis star, the Grand Slam champion didn't mince words while praising McNally's skills. "You don't play players like her that have such full games," said Williams. "I think she just overall played really well."
Williams eventually fought back from that lost set to win the match. But the 37-year-old athlete has proven time and again that she's not just a beast on the tennis court; she's a role model to young aspiring athletes everywhere.
Now, Williams is taking her mentorship to Instagram with a new program called Serena's Circle. (Related: The Winning Psychology Behind Serena Williams' Upset)
"By age 14, girls are dropping out of sports at twice the rate of boys," Williams wrote on Instagram. These dropouts happen for a lot of different reasons: financial costs, lack of access to sports and physical education, transportation issues, and even social stigma, according to the Women's Sports Foundation. But Williams says many young athletes also drop out because of a "lack of positive role models."
"So I've teamed up with @Lincoln to launch a new mentoring program for young women on Instagram: Serena's Circle," she said. (Related: Why Serena Williams Went to Therapy After the US Open)
If you're familiar with the "Close Friends" feature on Instagram, that's exactly what Serena's Circle is: a closed, private group of young female athletes on the 'Gram who will have the opportunity to send questions to and receive advice from none other than Serena Williams herself. All you have to do is DM @serenawilliams to request access to the group and get started.
A promo video for Serena's Circle features examples of topics that the tennis champ is down to discuss with the masses. "Hey Serena, I'm trying out for my school's soccer team in a few weeks. How do you calm your nerves before a big game?" reads one DM from a 15-year-old athlete named Emily. "I'm hoping to run track at college next year but overcoming a knee injury," reads another message from 17-year-old Lucy. (Related: Serena Williams Modeled Her Dress Design with 6 Women to Show It's for "Every BODY")
Any successful athlete could theoretically be hailed as a "role model." But Serena Williams earned her superstar status because she understands there's more to playing a sport than just winning.
"Sport has literally changed my life," she said at a recent Nike event. "I think sport, especially in a young lady's life, is incredibly important. Staying with sports brings a lot of discipline. In your life, you might have to stick with something that's super difficult. [You get through] by things that you can go through in sports."
It's safe to say there's no one better than Serena Williams to mentor the next generation of female athletes.