Spotlight on Usk Tennis Club
Originally published on: 24/10/13 00:00
Matt, who was a former Aston Villa youth player, joined Usk at the beginning of September and is already getting stuck into the role.
How did you get into tennis?
My mum always played so I started when I was a tot. I was also a keen footballer and played for Aston Villa youth teams so tennis was always a secondary sport for me until I started taking tennis seriously and playing four times a week.
I got my Level 1 coaching qualification and when I left school I went off to the States running a summer tennis camp in New England for about 100 kids. After university I did my Level 2 qualification and then Level 3. You started working at Usk towards the end of the summer.
What attracted you to the club?
It’s a great club with a good reputation for doing things properly. They want to grow the club and they’ve got facilities which is a great base.
As a coach the last thing you want to hear is: ‘This is the way it’s always been done’. The committee here is relatively new and are open to suggestions to move the club forward.
Clubs have suffered from the economic downturn over the past few years and are having to be more creative in the ways they are attracting new members – things like off-peak membership and pay and play and for a club to grow you have to be dynamic. It’s not good enough to think you can carry on as you have always done.
What would you say is the best thing about your job?
Getting out on court. If you come off court after coaching a Mini Red session and don’t come off the court buzzing then you’re in the wrong job. They don’t have to be amazing players but if you can see them develop that’s what motivates me.
And what’s the worst bit about your job?
The hanging around! My home page on my web browser is set to BBC Weather because as a tennis coach you also have to be an amateur meteorologist! You need to be able to work out when you’re likely to get on court, when to wait for a shower to pass and when to cut your losses and head home.
What three words would you use to describe Usk?
Friendly, welcoming, fun.
Who would be your dream doubles partner?
Roger Federer. He is the player I’ve looked up to over the last 10 years and he plays in a way I think tennis should be played. I always say Federer is the art of tennis, while Rafael Nadal is the science. Nadal may go on to win more Grand Slams than Federer but for me he will still be the greatest player.
So do you model your game on Federer?
I’d like to think so! Although I probably play more like Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. If you get a ball coming towards you in a difficult position, I’ll go for the shot when you should probably neutralise the ball. If it comes off it’s unstoppable but more often than not I’m missing the lines by a couple of inches!
No. of members: 145
No. of courts: 5
Club sessions: Ladies, men’s and mixed social sessions, family mornings, touch tennis and regular coaching sessions for all age groups.
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