A really tough loss for Hawker Jets!: This newsletter is always full of success stories, so for a change, I'm going to put the main focus on a big failure, but was it?
If we won this match, we would win the division and be in an excellent position to win the whole competition. The opponents were strong, we lost one singles, but won the other singles with a great performance in the match tie-break. We discussed tactics before the deciding doubles, and our players were fantastic, building a 6-1 5-2 lead. We had 2 match points at 5-3, one was lost with a missed smash. We had to come back from 5-6 to get into a 2nd set tie-break, where we held 2 more match points when leading 6-4, but ended up losing it 8-10. We then lost the match tie-break.
Our players were understandably disappointed, I went straight over to them, flashed a smile, patted them on the back and praised them for playing so well and not giving in. I reminded them this is tennis and this is sport, and sometimes this is the way it goes. I congratulated the opponents and their parents, and we headed home. I went over a few things they could learn and take away from the experience, and then the rest of the journey back was joyful and relaxed.
We didn't win on the scoreline, but our players scored personal wins that were much more valuable. They showed respect to their opponents at all times, they never lost hope during the match, they didn't beat themselves up about the result, they showed incredible concentration and determination, and for the most part, they enjoyed being part of a great high quality tennis match.
Society demands success, right? People get praised and rewarded for achieving things at work, in exams, in sports, music, arts, and just about every walk of life. Everyone wants to achieve success, and show everyone else how successful they are. What society wants is not necessarily what society needs, because how many people feel such need to be successful (in ways that are measurable), that they lie, cheat, and steal, in order to satisfy the appetite of society? From tiny things like reporting a 6-0 6-1 loss as a 6-2 6-2 loss to the coach, to cheating in exams, cooking the books, covering up mistakes, lying to friends and family about how well they're doing, and everything else in between.
Instead, this story is about celebrating what should be celebrated and praised a lot more (and I'm as guilty as anyone for not doing it enough!). Working as a team, giving best effort, respecting others, enjoyment, self-discipline, courage, positivity, playing fair, and appreciating the wins that the scoreboard doesn't show.
I'm not totally sure why we're all here, but I don't think it's to go through life feeling stress, tension, and pressure to achieve results. The craziest thing, which the science has continually proved, is those who recognise the high value of personal development and character growth, tend to perform better and achieve more of the successes that society prioritises, whilst doing it without stress and with a smile on their face.
Don't forget to check an amazing quote for how best to achieve success in life, later in the newsletter!
Record haul of tournament wins!: Not to contradict what I just wrote! I'm only advocating a healthier balance between recognising character development versus recognising grades and results.
Firstly, congratulations to all of our Team Hawker squad players for being amazing young people! Further recognition must go to Filip who won 5 LTA tournaments this term, Oliver who won 4 (including two Grade 3's), Kartik on winning 3, Fabian 2, and Georgiy, Gabby, and Nicho on winning one each. That's 17 tournament wins last term, and a record 36 in total during 2022! 7 of those wins were at regional Grade 3 level.
Team Hawker Squads: Our squad set-up was revamped and rebranded last September, and it was a very fun and very productive first term! The emphasis as always, is on developing the players as individuals, and using tennis to aid their development as kind and happy humans. As always, squad sizes are maximum 8 players on 3 courts. Click the link for more info, and for new enquiries, please contact me directly to arrange a free assessment and chat.
Paul's programme: Paul's continued dedication to all his students saw another fantastic term, evidenced by the ever-improving standard of play that I witnessed from his players in our FA Cup Tennis competition (sponsored by Richmond/Sheen Sports). As such, places on his side of the program are very scarce indeed. Please follow the link to see the timetable, and there you will find another link to grab any spaces or to join waiting lists. Do also check out my new skills & drills classes (for 10 yrs+), a little further down.
Hawker Jets Latest!: A significant delay from the organisers in setting up this winter's competition, coupled with the December freeze, meant we only played 21 of our 26 matches in the qualifying group stage.
We won 16 out of those 21, and had 7 of our 10 teams finish top of their divisions, including Paul's U9 team, who were making their debut in team tennis!
Unfortunately due to another delay from the organisers, we still don't have details of the knock-out phase due to be played this term (as of 31st Jan), but as always, we look forward to embracing the challenges ahead with our unbreakable Team Hawker spirit!
To see the latest results, and read the latest reports, do check the Hawker Jets page!
Skills & Drills with Nick: Skills & Drills had a great start last term. There are class options on Weds (full), Thurs (full), and Fri (spaces). This is a great addition for higher standard players to add to their weekly training, and also a suitable session for competent players who can't commit to tennis, but still want to play each week. Please get in touch if interested.
New courts: Our brand new courts are available to hire 3 days in advance through our Clubspark page.
The ABSOLUTE BEST quote for anyone who wants to achieve success!: Clearly it's not, but you're here now, so you may as well have a read! Read it slowly and take it in, I think it's gold!
Viktor Frankl (1905-97): “Don’t aim at success—the more you aim at it and make it a target, the more you are going to miss it. For success, cannot be pursued; it must ensue, and it only does so as the unintended side-effect of one’s dedication.”
This very much relates to how I coach. For me, it has always been about taking the focus away from the uncontrollable's (like winning), and shifting it subtly towards healthier focuses that are in a person's control, and will paradoxically help them to win more.
I love the use of the word dedication, because by nature it suggests you're investing your effort and energy with such a direct focus that future outcomes are not distracting the mind, and therefore not raising levels of stress and pressure, as they inevitably do. Of course, dedication can only come from within, but regardless of the differing levels of dedication our players have to tennis, it's always a privilege and a joy to support them on their tennis journey!
Best book EVER! (from April 2022): Kids can't concentrate as well today as they could 10-15 years ago. I've seen it first hand, and the research backs it up. Some of the examples I could give you of inability to concentrate are just ridiculous. This book explains why it's happening, and not just to kids. Johann Hari spent years travelling the globe, talking to experts, collecting the latest research, and experimenting. Social media and smart phones are unsurprisingly part of the problem, but why and how they are so bad for concentration is both surprising and alarming. They are also only the tip of the iceberg, with numerous other factors contributing to our diminishing ability to focus! If you're interested, then have yourself a read of 'Stolen Focus'!
Matchplay (Sponsored by Richmond/Sheen Sports): Matchplay is a gem for local juniors who wish to compete regularly and without having to travel too far to gain match experience, and the opportunity to develop their skills in the match environment. It’s open to players from other venues as well as Hawker, and caters for all levels. Please follow the link for more info.
Richmond/Sheen Sports: You could go to an online retailer, or a budget superstore, and you may save a few pounds, but you won't get better overall value. Here's the best option, pay a visit to RichmondSports or SheenSports!
They are managed by enthusiastic and highly knowledgeable staff, equally passionate about sports as they are about the local community, where they support many local clubs and schools, including ours.
Your individual needs will be met in a way the bigger retailers can't match, in terms of better advice, a more personal service, and a genuine desire to fulfil your sporting needs whatever they may be.
Being part of Hawker Tennis also entitles you to 10% off, so you'll be getting excellent all-round value, whilst helping them to keep helping us and other local clubs.
YouTube channel: 60 videos, and though most date from the original Project 2015, they are still fun and relevant! The videos have received over 450,000 views between them! Videos Index
Tennisplayer.net: I'm an established contributor on this world leading coaching resource site, having written 2 lengthy series of articles, the first in 2016/17 on 1-2 Rhythm, and the latest on Marginal Gains in 2020. There is currently an offer of 30 days free trial to access the whole site!
Racism: Check the link for the latest from myself and the LTA, though there is no update since the last newsletter.
Adult Tennis - Select 'Adult' filter to see all current courses
Feel free to get in touch about anything at all.
Remembering Joe Horner (it's all too easy to forget, so this memorial will remain on this page. I hope people continue to find enough time to reflect on the growing issue of mental health, especially in younger people): Joe was a regular face at Matchplay during many of his teenage years. He loved coming down to play, to mix with friends and enjoy the special atmosphere. His highlight was winning the 2009 Summer Tournament Doubles.
Sadly, Joe struggled with severe depression from his early 20's, and his mental health largely deteriorated during this time. He was very open about his problems, and had so much love from family and friends, but tragically in April 2019, he took his own life.
I have very fond memories of Joe, because he really understood what Hawker Tennis was all about, and fully appreicated being part of it even from a young age. He turned into a fine young man, so considerate of others, and always a pleasure to chat to.
After finishing education, Joe worked as a keeper at Chessington Zoo, and then moved on to ZSL at London Zoo. ZSL work worldwide on conservation to help save endangered species, something that was very close to Joe's heart.
For those who knew Joe, perhaps you would like to donate to this cause, or write a few words on his memorial page. Links are still up to date in 2022, and as follows:
Summer 2022 - Multiple Regional Tour winners, Surrey U14 Champion, and PYWTW National Finalists!