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LTA Youth Leader and QCF volunteer, Sophia Bassi, writes about her experience of becoming a tennis coach through the QCF.


Sophia Bassi


I grew up playing competitive tennis from a young age, but I stopped playing as much with the onset of exams and increasing amounts of schoolwork. I found it quite difficult to find time to play tennis and felt like I was losing engagement with the sport, which had been such a large part of my life growing up. After taking the LTA Youth Tennis Leaders Course at the Queens Club, delivered by the Head of the Queen’s Club Foundation, Kate Maurici, I was inspired to start volunteering for the Queen’s Club Foundation at their festivals and community tennis sessions.

 

I found that I loved supporting local children in developing these tennis skills and a passion for the sport. I see the same motivation and ambition that I had playing tennis at a young age in these players, and being able to support them has been an invaluable experience. After volunteering at some of the sessions, I was recommended by my mentor at the Foundation, Kate Maurici, to take the LTA Level 1 Assistant Coaching Course. Through this qualification, I learned so much about how to best assist my Lead Coach during group sessions and also improved my communication skills. When I first started helping out at tennis sessions, I did not yet have the court presence I needed to be an effective communicator and leader. After this course, I saw a massive improvement in my leadership and confidence on court; I was more proactive when communicating with players, and I was no longer afraid of giving my own demonstrations and leading my own group of players through a drill. 

 

I was then encouraged to take my Level 2 Instructor qualification and saw another huge improvement after beginning the qualification, which I am currently completing. Although this qualification requires significantly more work than the first one, I am incredibly glad that I decided to take it. While the Level 1 qualification focused more on assisting the Lead Coach, the Level 2 focuses on giving players the skills they need to lead their own group of players and come up with their own lesson plans and exercises. I initially found this jump in responsibility a bit intimidating, as I had never really been given the opportunity to lead an entire group of players during a tennis session. But this intimidation faded away as I gained more practice, and I felt my skills in organizing a group session improving every single time. I have seen my increased confidence and communication skills when I am coaching, but also in many other aspects of my life. In classes at school where I would previously hesitate to speak up or take the lead, I find myself speaking up much more and taking the initiative to organize group projects. I am truly amazed at how far my communication skills have come since when I first started assisting at the group sessions.  I am now confident enough and good enough to lead my own group of children on Foundation sessions and I feel incredibly proud to do so.

 

I feel that coaching with the Queens Club Foundation has also helped me to re-engage with tennis and have a significant impact on my local community. Looking back on it, I can’t imagine my childhood without playing tennis. Aside from my academic work, memories of my childhood are filled with practicing tennis and competing in local tournaments while developing the life skills that have shaped the person I am today. I recognise the impact tennis had on me then, which is why I am proud to work with the Foundation to help other kids become inspired by the sport.

 



 



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