Well, I'm part way through getting my Level 1 tennis coaching certificate. It's not a long course, three days with a few hours of practice along the way. It's the first step almost anyone needs to take if they want to become a registered coach. I'm not sure I'll ever go quite that far, but it's an interesting thought.
The reason I'm doing the course is quite simple. Over the past couple of months I've been asked to look at running some sort of social tennis activity in the local park where we have a couple of tennis courts. I've had a bit of interest, mostly from beginners and others for whom a bit of help would increase their enjoyment. So it seemed like a good idea to go and learn some coaching skills. I've played sport with people who like to coach, even though they clearly have no skills in that area. I don't want to be one of those people!
The Level 1 course is really a coaching assistant qualification, level 2 is directed at those who want to work on their own with adult beginners, so I may have to do that course too. Will it never end? The course is based around what is known as mini-tennis, the form of the game used for under 10's. I guess it makes sense to start there, but part of me wonders why working with children is not a developmental stage rather than a starting point. It seems much harder to get children to understand what you want them to do than it does an adult who can ask questions. But that's probably me!
I suppose the obvious question is why am I dong this? Am I doing it as pre-evangelism as we used to call it? Actually, no. I'm doing it because I think it's a good way to get people active and I rather like playing tennis. It gets me involved in the life of the village by engaging with sport and activity. This is part of what it means to live in and serve the community. It's about building friendships that are not predicated upon an evangelistic opportunity.
Where it might lead I simply don't know. Perhaps I'll end up running a summer sports camp, perhaps someone will start talking to me about an issue or problem and all my other skills will come into play. Who knows!
Jim Wallis used to say, "Find out what you're good at and then do it in a way that makes a difference." Could I add to that, "Do something you love in a way that makes a contribution."