Rutherglen LTC Head Coach Jonny Willcox has been named as the 2016 Tennis Scotland Coach of the Year.
A level 4 coach at the tender age of 24, Jonny has a Masters’ degree in Business Studies but has chosen a career path in tennis, his number one passion. At Rutherglen, he organises and oversees the work of a team of three other coaches and has coaching commitments at David Lloyd in Renfrew as well as being involved in the training of regional and national players and squads.
With over 110 children now actively involved in the Rutherglen coaching programme, the club has an extensive base allowing them to field very strong teams at every age group as well as having some juniors involved in county and national programmes.
Jonny also secured a major sponsorship deal for Rutherglen LTC with McDonald's which is providing free tennis to hundreds of local children. In addition he has formed an exciting partnership with the Fuse Youth Café which is giving lots of children from the East end of Glasgow the chance to play tennis at Rutherglen LTC, while up-skilling their workforce to allow them to deliver tennis as part of their year-round programme of activities. This partnership has been nominated for the “Most Innovative Physical Activity Programme” prize at this year’s Scottish Sports Futures Awards.
Even with his success and commitment to Rutherglen, he is also involved in a number of other initiatives including; the new West of Scotland County Programme (Orange and Green Ball), National Development Camps from 9 & Under up to Under 14, and trips to Tennis Europe Events! In addition he coaches at David Lloyd Renfrew where, in a short period of time, he has established a number of very successful performance squads. He takes a keen interest in all aspects of the development of the players he works with, not just as tennis players, but as honest, hardworking and caring individuals, and puts a huge amount of his own time into encouraging their development.
On receiving the award, Jonny said, “I am delighted to be named Tennis Scotland Coach of the Year for 2016. It is a huge honour especially due to the great coaching going on throughout Scotland. It is certainly a huge vote of confidence in the work that I am doing at Rutherglen Lawn Tennis Club, David Lloyd Renfrew, the West County Programme and through the extensive Schools Programme set up with McDonald’s Rutherglen. I would like to thank the clubs and coaches I work with closely without whom all of this would not have been possible.”
With so many clubs eager to recognise the fantastic work that their coaches have brought to their roles, this was a popular award and a tough one for the judging panel but they wanted to highlight a few of the coaches shortlisted.
*Olivia Paisley has been intrinsic in Darnhall Tennis Club seeing a complete turnaround in regards to their activities. In 2010, the club had no junior or adult coaching and an ageing membership. With Olivia’s help, they have several junior and adult year round coaching blocks, now with "performance" related coaching. She is actively encouraging lady members to become competitive team players as well. Several of their juniors now compete in regional events which was unheard of 8 years ago. Ollie has also encouraged the development of a couple of junior members into "Tennis Leaders" and one has gone to complete their Level 1 and is now undertaking Level 2 qualifications. The club now has a range of adult coaching, regular coaching blocks for novices through to the "more able" team players. Olivia also organises "ad-hoc" family sessions in the summer.
Olivia commented, “I was surprised, but very proud to have been short listed for the coach of the year award with there being so many experienced, hard-working coaches in Scotland. Thank you to the voting panel, Tennis Scotland and particularly to my club, Darnhall, for supporting me and encouraging me to do what I love. I am look forward to an exciting year of coaching in 2017!”
*Alex Harkins has embraced the Davis Cup Legacy programme managing 7 courses in Edinburgh all taking part in courts across the city. This has included a Girls Onesie day, Boys Davis Cup, and many Adult and Children events around the Grand Slams.
He also ran free tennis sessions for girls on a Friday afternoon and convinced 5 players to take part in the East of Scotland Aegon Leagues! In a typical week he will deliver tennis to around 400 people at the Meadows and around the schools, mentor numerous coaches on L1-L3 courses and children on work experience, as well as support participants on their JET and DofE programmes. He has also trained over 50 Tennis Leaders from places like Edinburgh College, Boroughmuir, Holyrood and James Gillespies High Schools. These went on to deliver tennis to over 1000 local children - all for free!
*Julie Gordon has spent many years inspiring young children both in the tennis clubs and across deprived communities to get involved in tennis, and sport in general. She has also inspired and helped many coaches with their skills, including taking it all the way to Melbourne in the last couple of years. Julie is focused, generous with her time, great fun with children and young people respecting and listening to her! The parents at Western Tennis Club have nothing but praise for her, and she has even encouraged some of them by setting up and offering adult coaching. She has been instrumental in raising money for a number of charities, not least in working with the late Elena Baltacha's husband to organise and hold fundraising days at the Western in the last couple of years, and getting celebrities along to support, play as well as local businesses to support and contribute funding.