The biggest competitive date in Tennis Leicestershire’s calendar each year, a chance for players to find out who the best of the best is, a chance to socialise with other players from around the county and just to hang out and watch some great tennis.
It is, in my opinion, one of the best tournaments in the whole country, few can compare to this event. Its hosted in our biggest club venue in the county, Leicestershire Tennis and Squash club. 18 courts together with a fantastic club house (not many clubs can boast a stand on the roof).
For the past 4 years I haven’t taken part, I always love competing, but I’ve spent that time doing something better.
For the last 4 years we have taken a group of juniors from around the county to take part in the Cromer Open, a very special grass court event for the best juniors in the UK.
We’ve used this trip as a way to compliment the training that we do with our junior players, as an educational tool to train like a semi-pro athlete at a big event. The stakes are high, the opponents are good, there are people watching, the pressure is on.
It’s hard to recreate these conditions in practice, so we made the decision that we would be there with our players when they put themselves out there. To train them in the skills to deal with nerves, to overcome the fear of failure, to warm up and cool down, to stretch and learn to look after themselves, but most of all, to empower them to say ‘whatever happens, I can deal with it’
It’s with great pride that I write this next part of the story.
This year we didn’t take all of our players. This year we left some behind.
They had decided that even though they are still juniors, that they wanted to compete in the senior county championships, they wanted to face the best of the best…. And they didn’t need our help to do this, I couldn’t be happier.
The guys who decided to take part have been with us in Cromer every year until now.
The preparation and the work they have put in really showed in the draw and the rankings, in the men’s singles 7 of our players were in the seeded players, including the top 3, 4 of the 8 seeded pairs in the men’s doubles were players that have been to Cromer with us, same in the mixed event.
All their hard work leading up to this event had really helped them with their positioning in the draws, but that’s only the start, that’ll only help you so much, the rest you have to do yourself.
And so they did.
The draws are shown here so you can see what they’ve achieved at this years event. Not just the players who won, but how far everyone came through the draws. For some this might be the pinnacle of their tennis playing achievement, for others it’s just the start of bigger challenges to come. Some of those challenges will be on the tennis court, but many will be off of it, and hopefully they will remember how they trained for those challenges and how they overcame them, that they have developed the skills needed not just to be successful in our sport, but successful in life.
If all we teach our junior players is sport, then I believe we have failed our players as coaches. The values we instil in our players should help in all areas for the rest of their lives.
If you’d like to be part of this trip then get in touch, if you’d like to see how we do what we do, and to find out how it’s different, then get in touch.
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