Thank you Phil

As we pass the half way point in this calendar year, we also mark the first six months with our Head Coach Phil Thomas at RLTC. I’d like to thank him for all the hard work he has put in to build the foundations for a successful coaching set up for the club now and in the coming years. 

There is much that goes unseen, such as going into local schools and nurseries, and delivering a Tennis for Kids programme designed by the LTA to bring a new generation into tennis and our club. Phil has also initiated a tots session for the very youngest, which we hope will also help grow the club in the years to come. 

Phil’s offer to take a group to Wimbledon this year had 32 signing up within 2 days of the notice going out, and several  juniors have taken advantage of his free Friday evening sessions. It’s been good to see just how many of the adult members, having enjoyed his sessions with both team and non-team players financed by the club, asked for and received further sessions on Tuesdays and Thursdays financed by themselves.

Phil has recruited and developed a team of coaches who are arguably the strongest RLTC has ever had.  I’d also like here to thank our senior coach Tom, who has embraced a period of change, and as well as his coaching has now become a regular player with our mens first team. Phil has also introduced Jon and Emily who bring their coaching expertise to our club and teams.

There is of course a great deal of work behind providing a structured coaching programme alongside ad hoc 1-2-1 lessons, and with regular coaching team meetings, Phil and the team have delivered a consistent message across their various sessions. Statistics are very dangerous, and can be very misleading, but on the Tennis Wales website at the time of writing, our collective junior results are listed at c60% successful, compared to just c30% at the end of last summer’s matches. That’s a big enough and significant difference to speak for itself, despite any statistical misgivings.

As well as regular coaching, there have been school holiday camps, LTA tournaments, cardio tennis, regular newsletters, and juniors supported and encouraged to participate in competitions elsewhere including representative tennis. 

There is much still to be done of course, and inevitably some teething problems which are being addressed. Phil is endeavouring to see all of the juniors in due course, and juggling the make up of groups to fit in with ability levels and availabilities. That is not a straightforward task, believe me, and well nigh impossible to keep everyone happy! 

I do stress that if anyone does have an issue with any aspect of the coaching programme, please raise it with Phil directly first, and then if it remains unresolved, please let me know. The planning for Junior week has been very collaborative, and promises to deliver a memorable week with fresh ideas embedded with many of the popular traditions which have evolved over the years. Don’t forget to sign up! 

Both Phil and the club recognise that it is important to remain a club both for those that want regular competitive tennis, and for those who just want a once or twice a week hit for a bit of fresh air and fun. The coaching programme is designed to cater for both categories, and it has been really good to see just how many juniors and adults are using our courts more than ever before. Phil is planning more events for the summer months, and whilst thanking him for his first 6 months, I look forward to the rest of the year with a great deal of excitement.