This year has been a better year for the programme. Our numbers have increased and we are getting more interest from children aged 10U. We continued to push the school links and again worked with a large number of local primary and secondary schools.
In April I chose 3 local primary schools, Standlake, Stanton Harcourt and Aston. These schools were given a letter to handout to the parents of children aged 4 – 7 and 8 – 11. I offered 10 FREE spaces for children aged 4 – 7 and 8 – 11 for 5 weeks on the coaching programme. Within a daythese were all full up and we had brought a further 22 children to our club. After the initial 5 weeks of coaching was up we then offered them a 50% discount on the rest of the term. We had a good take up of this offer and today still have about 8 children who came through this set up.
My belief in growing the programme through schools has not changed and this year we have moved things forward an extra level. In September I set up the ‘EXCEL Tennis Academy Schools Partnership’. I spoke with the local schools Sports Co-ordinators who are in charge of all sports at primary schools. I suggested my ideas to them and they were more than happy to back it and promote it to the local area.
This idea was to set up an ‘EXCEL Tennis Schools Partnership’ this partnership contains everything that I was already doing but now with a contract between the school and Excel Tennis. Some of the key factors of the partnership is that I (Excel Tennis) will offer the school 5 hours a year of FREE coaching to use as they wish, they will get given Prizes, vouchers and FREE spaces on our programme for their pupils. In return the school will promote the club and programme and also have a banner up outside their gate which I have had produced.
So far we have had 8 schools sign up and interest from a further 3. I hope that over the next few years all the schools in the area will take up this offer. Speaking of banners. I have had all the banners professionally designed and produced and they look great. I have had one made for Witney and for the Lower Windrush Tennis Club. I would like the banner to be put on the courts next to the club house if this would be possible? This banner will promote the Excel Tennis Academy and therefore the club. I am hoping to have more of these printed up and displayed around the local villages and towns. If you ever spot one that looks broken or tatty please let me know so it can be replaced and we can continue the look of professionalism we are after.
We continue to run the schools tournaments as we have done for the last 8 years. These events bring us nearly 100 children every year to play competitive matches at both Lower Windrush and Witney Tennis Clubs, before going on to represent the west in the Youth Games finals.
We entered Teams into the leagues and again all the results were very positive. We have won a number of leagues again this season and finished runner up in countless more.
One player I have to mention is Oliver Broadhurst. A previous Winner of the Coaches Player of the Year Award. Ollie has gone on to even greater heights this season. He has represented the county and the regional team on a number of occasions and had some superb results helping the county to progress. He played in the finals of this year’s ROAD TO WIMBLEDON where he eventually lost in the Semi Finals in a very close 3 setter. He finished his 12U year in the top 50 of the country and has already started working his way through the 14U age category. I think it is great to have such a highly ranked and rated playing still training with us and as a role model to the other children at the club.
Lastly at the end of September we said farewell to Balazs, he has been with us for a number of years and was a great asset to us and the academy. All the players and parents will miss him and we wish him all the best for the future. The new coach who has joined us is DAVE EVANS. I have known Dave since he was a junior. Dave is a very talented player who spent a lot of time training and competing in Spain. Dave is a Level 3 coach and I look forward to working with Dave for many years to come.
My goal for the next 12 months is to continue to develop and grow the programme. I would also like to work closer with the club in order to help them with the club tournaments and club nights.
I have had a new website developed which is much more professional and user friendly than the last. This new website allows parents to sign up for coaching online and to access much more information. There have been some teething problems when the website went live but these are nearly all gone. The new website is the start of a large advertising campaign that I will be doing this year with the intention of gaining lots of new players.
Normally at this time we would have the Coaches Player of the Year Award. As this is a big deal for me I wanted to give this award myself. I also can not inform you of who the player is as I would like it to be a surprise for them. I will let the club know once the award has been handed out.
As you can see it has been a very busy year for the academy again. We have achieved great success with our players and the programme has grown. We are looking forward to the next 12 months and know there are many obstacles ahead. With the support of the club and committee though we can continue to offer greatcoaching and many opportunities to the local community.