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Competition: Barclays Unsung Tennis Hero


Originally published on: 10/10/12 00:00

Do you know someone who has shown commitment and enthusiasm in their tennis role? Have you provided support to others or encouraged change within the tennis community? Barclays want to celebrate and reward the unsung heroes of tennis in Britain and they’re looking for you to nominate yourself or someone you know for an opportunity to win this once-in-a-lifetime prize.

To enter for a chance to take centre stage at the conclusion of the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals on November 12 at The O2 in London then visit the competition website and provide 300 words about why you or your nominee are deserving of the reward. The prize also includes two tickets to the Finals and the deadline closes on October 28.

Helen McHugh, the communications manager for HEAD UK, is one of many unsung heroes up and down the country doing their part for tennis in Britain. We spoke with Helen about her work and the most rewarding and challenging aspects of it.

Can you tell us a bit about your involvement with Barclays and the work you do on behalf of them? 
Barclays are the sponsors of the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals and HEAD are the official ball and racket suppliers for this. In addition to this Barclays also fund Further Education (FE) and Spaces for Sport (S4S) events around the UK and HEAD provides the manpower and expertise required to implement them. Barclays choose the FE colleges around the UK, different colleges are chosen each year and HEAD visit the S4S areas that have been specifically built for the local communities. It is my job to oversee the delivery of these events, recruiting and briefing the coaches, organising the equipment and activities. I ensure that the coaches and myself make all of the sessions enjoyable, fun, accessible and innovative.

What are the most challenging and rewarding aspects of coaching youngsters?
On paper working with 24 teenagers at a time looks challenging especially if, as is quite often the case, they are a lively bunch. However the coaches love this, the more enthusiastic they are the better. When you see an individual teenager or youngster who has been slightly struggling initially and then, after a little one on one coaching, see their confidence grow and see them go on to get really involved and try all the shots, well that is pretty rewarding.

How can participating in sport help teenagers with their development? 
I believe that with skilful coaching, sport can provide teenagers with transferable skills for use in other parts of their lives. For instance when they do the Barclays days and they see that they can actually do things that they did not think they could, it can give them the confidence to try other things be it in sport, their studies and their everyday lives.

What is your idea of an unsung tennis hero? 
I think it is when a person who can win and lose graciously in equal measure and also those who can bring people with lesser talent to the fore.

_ьDo you or does someone you know fit the bill? Then get your nominations in before October 28 via the competition page.


Tim Farthing, Tennishead Editorial Director & Owner, has been a huge tennis fan his whole life. He's a tennis journalist and entrepreneur as well as playing tennis to a national standard. He also helps manage his local club and volunteers for his local tennis organisation. He's a specialist in content about the administration of professional tennis and tennis coaching for all levels.