Hard work and perseverance does pay off and setting long term goals and targets for yourself should be a must.
I started a career in tennis with literally no experience, knowledge or background in the sport. Brave I know and probably a little bit stupid too.
I had experience in the field as I coached football to juniors for 5 years prior to starting at my current club which is where my passion for tennis really began. I was asked to coach toddler groups part time and now I’m looking for coaches to work and join my team.
I found that tennis was not only just a new challenge but it was fun, rewarding and disciplined mentally. It is only now that I can understand and really value it’s underlying morals.
Although…. tennis isn’t all rosey. It’s obnoxious and elitist in areas and there are some individuals that think they are above you no matter what.
Ignoring its negative implications, I decided to continue and start getting qualified. It was clear to see that it wasn’t going to come easily to me as I’m not naturally gifted and I didn’t understand much of what I was being taught. A world of technique and tactics were another language.
I also really couldn’t play and didn’t understand why people made it look so so easy. But I graft and always have done and this perseverance has got me to where I am now.
I scraped my way through a PTR qualification and started to learn how the British tennis system worked so I could know it inside out. If anyone had a question, I would have the answer. I had the most amazing support from my boss who took me under his wing, encouraged me to put myself out there, shadow and assist with sessions and play and we became a great team.
I specifically joined a health club with indoor courts so I could train over winter and started weekly lessons with a coach who played on tour as a junior. I have not only invested a lot of money into qualifications but also my standard of play.
Earning respect is the hardest thing. I’ve had to earn this from fellow coaches, parents and players who were already rated and knew the system back to front. Going out there and showing your weaknesses is daunting and never gets easier.
I remember breaking down when I was told I wasn’t ready to take my Level 3. I couldn’t understand that even though I had been working so hard, it still wasn’t enough. But things wouldn’t be as worthwhile if you didn’t have to fight for them and I had to work even harder.
It is only recently that I have passed my Level 3 and received my license and I have never been more proud of myself. A Level 3 to anyone else might be nothing but to me it is everything. It just shows that if you do really work for something, ignore those that put you down, say that you can’t do it or deserve it, laugh and roll their eyes, you can achieve anything you want to achieve. Trust me, I’ve had it all.
I’m now Head Coach, run a club with 250+ juniors and a growing adult programme, 10+ part time and full time coaches and have teams that have won their divisions the last four years in a row.
My journey has taught me to appreciate everything that you learn along the way and take your time. What will be will be and opportunities come to those who make it happen. Level 4 next? A bigger club? Maybe. We will see.
All I know is that a nobody can become a somebody.