Lockdown thoughts (What am I doing?!): A chance to take stock of life for many, but I'm lucky enough to have had clarity before lockdown. I coach tennis, because it's a privilege to work with young players, and to help them fulfil their potential and goals, whatever they may be. It's highly rewarding working to provide something that they really value being part of, and is a big positive in their lives. We also happen to be extremely successful when it comes to their performances and results!
Latest Covid-19 News: It's an ever-changing situation we face, so please see the section on the homepage for the latest.
Dream comes true in the Surrey National League Team Trophy 19/20!: After a change in rules that meant only 3 of our teams qualified for the knock-outs, we found ourselves with all 3 of our U16 Boys teams in the 1/4 Finals stage. The dream came true! An all-Hawker final was confirmed when Tristan and Georgiy went away to St.Georges Hill on the last weekend before lockdown, and scored a sensational win against a strong team! Our B team (James and Josh) had already won a nail-biting semi-final away at Ham & Petersham against older players. The final is still to be played, but we hope it will be an amazing event that many can enjoy. I want to highlight the amazing team spirit that we have amongst the squads at Hawker. This is one of our magic ingredients for success, and makes the whole thing so much more than just being about tennis. It's about enjoying life, learning and growing, supporting each other, and overcoming challenges together.
Premier Team Tennis 2020: 2 years ago, our U12's squad set the goal to qualify for Premier Team Tennis in 2020 when they would be U14's, and they smashed that goal, qualifying for division 1 in the South East region, despite cruelly losing 2 players due to eligibility based on the new age changes. The competition has not been cancelled yet either! It's been re-structured into a knock-out event, with 1/4 finals due to be played in September, through to finals in November, and National finals for the winners in December! Wish us luck!
Marginal Gains!: I'm thrilled with the publication of my latest article series, which is currently running on Tennisplayer. It's great to once again have my work published alongside coaching greats such as Nick Bollitieri, Rick Macci, and several current pro tour coaches. Tennisplayer.net to check it out, and there is currently an offer of 30 days free trial to access the whole site!
Instagram: Why not brighten up the misery of social media by following our Hawker Jets on Instagram!
Individual success: Competitions were cancelled in mid-March, but that was still enough time for our players to find themselves once again winning important tournaments! Big well done to Tristan who backed up his Teddington Autumn half-term win with another sensational win at the Winter half-term Wilton tournament, beating the No.1 seed in the final of the U16 Boys. Also, Dan Cumings won his first 2 LTA tournaments in February, a Grade 5 followed by a Grade 4 at U10's level!
BLM: I want to comment on this, because too many people bury their heads in the sand, and I won't be one of them. Whether people agree with my views or not doesn't matter, what's important is we are talking and thinking about these issues.
I think the fact we have to push the slogan 'black lives matter' in 2020 shows the extent of the disease within humanity. This slogan states the obvious, or at least it should be obvious to every human on the planet, if they have been given the most basic education in terms of having and showing respect for other people, and accepting their differences. Racists haven't been educated properly, they have been badly let down by their schooling or their parents, and that's often why they hold the views they do. RGE would be my slogan - Racists Get Educated! Feeling hate or anger towards racists is going to achieve absolutely nothing. Education is surely the key, not just for current racists, for preventing future racists, but also for non-racists to be able to help the cause better. For white people, not being racist is no longer enough. It should be their duty to educate themselves about the reality of racism, the history of black and white lives, and to be part of a collective effort to speed up the painfully slow process of eradicating racism from society.
Also, I think those who are privileged, regardless of skin colour, have a duty to understand their situation. They have a head start in life that has nothing to do with anything they have done. They should be aware of the many people their own age, their own skin colour, or any skin colour, who have not had the head start in life they have, and through no fault of their own. As a privileged person, if you can empathise, you may understand those people better, you may refrain from judging them when they get things wrong, and you may be more open to giving them opportunities that will help them catch up and fulfil their potential. Then you can say you are part of the solution to the damaging level of inequality we see all over the planet. Change can't happen any other way, than by our collective understanding and collective change in attitude. It's pointless saying we are moving in the right direction, we must move faster because what is currently going on is beyond comprehension for a supposed civilised society. Can we do it? If come 2025/2030, we are looking back and seeing George Floyd's death didn't change anything, it will be a sad moment, and yet another opportunity to push strongly in the right direction wasted.
CEO of the LTA has written an open letter on the subject, which can be viewed here, and also offers the chance for anyone to have their say.
Summer Hols and Autumn Term Classes: With the Summer Term completely cancelled, we are looking forward to resuming group sessions in the Summer holidays, beginners/improvers with Jeremy, and advanced/squad level with Nick. Click the link for the full timetable. Autumn Term arrangements are yet to be finalised, but we hope to be running the usual timetable from September.
Matchplay: Matchplay is a gem for local juniors who wish to compete regularly and without having to travel too far. It’s open to players from other venues as well as Hawker, and caters for all levels. Those starting out shouldn’t be put off, as we often have helpers to assist them, and we won’t match players up where the ability/experience gap is too wide. We are planning for a resumption of Matchplay in its original format in September.
Hawker Tennis Squads: The success of our players in team and individual competition continues to speak for itself. We have a handful of spaces in our squads, and welcome new players to have a free trial, please contact me directly if you're interested. Squads will restart officially from September, though we will have Summer hols sessions available too.
Thursday Night Tennis (TNT!): 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. TNT will resume in September, and once details are known, I'll contact all those who previously took part. Newcomers also welcome!
YouTube channel: 56 videos that continue to receive huge support from around the world. Do check them out via my website!
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.
Feel free to get in touch about anything at all.
In the mean-time, enjoy the Summer-time!
All the very best
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 over the last 5 years. 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 as follow:
2019 - Hawker's most successful year ever!