I first started playing tennis at the age of 11 and very quickly fell in love with the game. It took around 5 years to make any impact as a player. At the age of 16 I got my first invitation to county training and by 18 was representing Yorkshire at number 2 with a national ranking of around 40.
Whilst desperate to play full time, my parents thought it wise that I attend university for 3 years, so off I went (reluctantly) and gained a degree in “Materials Science & Engineering.”
4 months in to my course, I received a letter offering me a scholarship to an American University. Once I start something I have to complete it so turning this down was one of the toughest decisions I have ever had to make.
I loved representing my first club “Rawdon Golf and Lawn Tennis Club” and was very fortunate to be part of a very strong team that won 4 national team doubles titles.
After completing my degree, I suddenly found myself helping out a few young players at the club and soon enough I was on my way to becoming a level 5 coach. I spent 10 very enjoyable years at Ilkley developing their performance players and playing for the club in the national premier league.
Out of the blue I received a phone call from the LTA asking if I would consider heading up a coaching team in a place called “Thongsbridge.” I came to have a look and never looked back.
During my coaching career, I have worked with many players from beginners to national champions, captained many county cup teams and won national titles with players from Yorkshire including Kyle Edmund.
I’m very proud to work within one of the best coaching teams in the North of England where every day the aim is to improve all the players we see whatever the level or age.
BSc. Materials Science & Engineering
Performance Coach Award – UK Level 5
I have been coaching for 20 years in Yorkshire. I began after graduating from Leeds with a Geography degree when my temporary summer coaching job became full time at Otley Tennis Club. After several successful years building their club programme I moved over to Ilkley Tennis Club and joined up with Nick working in one of the biggest private members clubs in the North of England, including having a 7 year old Jonny Dow in one of the my squads and a lanky teenage Rob Jackson running about the courts!
My role at Thongsbridge is to head up the Mini Tennis Programme, together with the Schools Tennis Programme with particular emphasis on Talent Identification. Many of our top junior national players have come through tennis via this route. I am often out in the schools working with the 4-6year olds trying to engage them in the game and to see if we can find our next crop of county, regional, national and international players.
I have captained the Ladies National Aegon Team which has twice in recent years reached the National Finals and been one of the top 8 teams in the country. The Yorkshire League team which I captained and played in has also won division 1 recently.
At the club I am a member of the Junior Tennis Committee where we arrange and run various events for the juniors such as fun sponge ball tournaments, Easter Egg hunts, Tombola’s & Summer Tennis Trips.
I manage the club shop with Rob Jackson.
Away from tennis I love being outside – either in the garden or out on the hills or seaside. I have a passion for travelling and exploring new places however remote – as long as it is hot!
Level 5 – Tennis Coaching (TDA)
I am a R4 ABTO registered referee and currently I am the Yorkshire LTA referee of the year. I run all the competitions for juniors at the club from Grade 3 through to 6.
I first became interested in tennis at the age of 5 when I started lessons at Ilkley Tennis Club. I attended Ghyll Royd School in my junior days and then went onto Woodhouse Grove, where I studied for my GCSEs and A levels. I loved my sport at Woodhouse and went on to be captain of the Tennis, Squash and 2nd Team Rugby in my last year. After school I attended Leeds Metropolitan University where I achieved a degree in Leisure and Sports Management. Whilst studying at Leeds, I taught squash at the university and also at my old school, Woodhouse Grove. I then went on to join the coaching team at Thongsbridge Tennis Club in 2005. I run the Junior and Adult Programme as well as managing the club’s shop with Georgina Jackson and other bits and bobs behind the scenes.
I offer a racket re-stringing service which is available throughout the week. I also run the Tennis Box Leagues, which are open to all Thongsbridge Adult Tennis Members; Singles, Doubles and Mixed Leagues are available. Please speak to me if you would like to join one of these.
It has been said that I’m very approachable – a quality I’m proud to be labelled with. My teaching style is always to make lessons a thoroughly informative yet enjoyable experience.
Level 4 – Tennis Coaching
Degree in Leisure and Sport management
Having come from a family of teachers that all have a passion for sport, there seems little surprise that I have ended up seeking a profession that allows me to pass on my knowledge to others.
From a young age I have always enjoyed playing tennis. Growing up as a junior in the realms of the Calderdale League it wasn’t long before I was playing several times a week in performance squads held at Queens Tennis Club, Halifax. While studying A Levels at Greenhead College any opportunity was also taken to assist in leading coaching sessions at my local tennis club throughout the holidays.
It seemed a natural progression to go on to study a degree in Sport & Exercise Science at Loughborough University. Successfully representing the University in BUSA competitions while also assisting the Leicestershire County Development Programme which was based at the University was a definite highlight during this time.
Deciding on a future career in Secondary Education, I went on to complete a Post Graduate Certificate in Education before holding down a post at Thornton Grammar School, Bradford as a PE teacher for 16 years.
More recently I’ve been committed to supporting the journey of my two children who are both aspiring young tennis players heavily involved in the Junior tennis programme at Thongsbridge Tennis Club. In addition, I’m also proud to have represented the Yorkshire over 35 men as part of their County Cup team and still enjoy the occasional guest appearance for Thongsbridge in the Winter and Summer National Leagues. My involvement at Thongsbridge has continued to grow, initially offering hits in my spare time to many of the young performance players at the club. This has helped reignite my passion for working with individuals of all ages and ability who seek to maximise their own potential.
It is an absolute pleasure to be part of a team of coaches at Thongsbridge Tennis Club who all share this common goal!
BSc (Hons) Sport & Exercise Science
Post Graduate Certificate in Education (P.G.C.E) – Physical Education Development Coach Award – UK Level 3
I took up Tennis at the age of 16 playing at Queen’s club in Halifax and at 21 moved to Middlesbrough to live and train full time at Tennis World working with current GB coach Richard Plews to improve my game.
At 23 I was invited to a training session at the prestigious Queen’s Club in London to train with Stephen Botfield, British No7 and Gary Engelmann, British No 10 both coached by David Haring & Tony Mitchell who was National Under 12, 14 and 16 Champion.
I then received sponsorship to the tune of £5000 having impressed David & Tony enough to go and live in London and train full time at the Queen’s club. This led me to compete in Switzerland in a satellite event.
During my training at Queens club I had the privilege to hit with Stefan Edberg former World No 1 and Wimbledon Champion and Christo Van Rensberg former World no 19 no 5 at Doubles. I practice and drill to a high intensity and have a great knowledge of the game.
Level 3 Tennis Coach
Coming from a family who all love tennis I first started playing at the age of 9 at Barnsley Tennis Club where I was coached by my older brother. Tennis quickly became my life and from the age of 9 to 17 I dedicated myself to the sport competitively at county level and eventually achieved a 3.2 rating.
Fast forward a few years, after leaving tennis to study at Newcastle College where I graduated, I found myself back where it all started at Barnsley tennis club where I was asked to take on a coaching role in 2017. This progressed to achieving the Head Coach role, running the coaching program, working in local schools, and representing the club in the men’s doubles Sheffield and district league. Last year my eagerness to develop as a coach lead me to approach Nick Fitzpatrick who was kind enough to give me mentoring, time and now the chance to work alongside himself and his team of coaches at Thongsbridge who are of a calibre that I aspire to reach.
In a nutshell I am a lad from Barnsley who just loves teaching tennis, playing guitar in my spare time, and consistently striving to play a positive role in people’s journey, on and off the court.
Level 3 Tennis Coach