Friday, July 17, 2015

May and Baker Tennis

Watching the tennis courts at May & Baker being brought back into use makes me realise that the idea I put forward for a tennis club/coaching programme might just actually become a reality! There used to be a club, so this is more a resuscitation than a brand new venture, but I'm guessing a lot has changed since the old club folded and it really would be a new start.

May and Baker, for those who don't know, was a pharmaceutical company in Dagenham, London. The site is quite extensive and they had a large Sports and Social Club attached to the working site. The company changed names and hands a few time and it's most recent incarnation has finally closed its doors. The Sports and Social Club was gifted to the the community, and there is a thriving rugby club, football, cricket (not called May and Baker) and social club. A local running club is based their too.

The tennis courts haven't been used for some years but the club managed to secure a grant to refurbish two of the three courts. The work was delayed by the poor weather in May but the surface is down and the fence is up. Marking out and painting still needs to be done and then the courts need time to settle before we can begin playing on them. Quite when that will be I don't know.

In a conversation with one of the committee members through my involvement with the rugby club, I offered to set out a few ideas about how the courts could be run for coaching and as a club. It wasn't all guesswork, on the other hand, trying to give a reasonable idea of what might be possible wasn't that easy.

Anyway, I set out my thoughts and handed them over. Whether I will be involved or not I have no idea, but it would be interesting to be in at the start of something like this. There is a mountain of work to do to set up a club and get officers in place and policies written. Especially true when really what you want to do is get out on the courts and get people playing tennis.

I hope that M&B Tennis will take off and we can offer a great tennis service and experience to the club and community. I never imagined that I might be involved in anything quite like this, but then I never imagined I'd be involved in setting up an After School Club in Newark, or on a steering group for a Children's Centre in Bedford or a Care Scheme in the village etc. I have no idea even where to start with tho latest adventure. I'm rather hoping that the local tennis association will be helpful! I'll also pick the brains of a few folk I've got to know over that last few years of being around tennis.

My next step is to complete my next level of coaching certification, which I'm doing in August/September. Hopefully that will give me some more ideas about coaching models and more technical information to help correct stroke errors and teach good habits. I don't see myself as going much beyond helping people get started and improving to become good recreational players. That's my goal-to get people playing and enjoying tennis. If they want to push further then I know enough coaches to refer them on to who have more experience and more skills than I have.

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