After working with Sally and Nigel for five years, Paul now leads the new LTA Local Tennis Leagues team. What can we expect and what are his plans for the leagues?
We met Charlotte a couple of weeks ago and now we meet Paul, who will lead the new LTA Local Tennis Leagues team – but he’s secretly been with you for a long time already.
Paul joined the LTA in 2015 just as its partnership with Local Tennis Leagues was formalised and he immediately became an extended part of the LTL team, working with both the LTA and Nigel & Sally to seek out new opportunities within each organisation and support the growth and expansion of parks tennis – although the ball was a bit smaller than he was used to.
“Haha – yes, it’s a bit embarrassing to admit since I've been working here for so long," says Paul, "but I’d never played a tennis match in my life before I joined the LTA!
“I grew up playing all sports to some degree, but only ever took football seriously and ended up playing semi-pro until my early twenties. Since then I've played socially (and always in parks!) so I definitely class myself as a weekend warrior now. I only played tennis properly after joining the LTA and quickly realised that some adults should also play with an orange ball!”
Despite the steep learning curve on the court, Paul’s experiences in previous roles were a good fit for Local Tennis Leagues and have shaped how he views grassroots sport.
“I spent years in various coaching roles working with kids of every ability, from every background you can imagine. Sport universally improved their lives and that had a profound impact on me. The value I place on being physically active and enjoying yourself is huge and I’m passionate about giving everyone that opportunity. Local Tennis Leagues is the perfect way to bring tennis to so many more people than might have played in the past, and the team and I feel very fortunate to be able to take on the challenge of expanding the leagues into more venues and bringing that opportunity to even more people.”
So what’s next for Local Tennis Leagues? “Well, first of all we don’t want to fundamentally change anything. The core values of Local Tennis Leagues (‘friendly, competitive tennis on a court near you’) are exactly what we need to be doing more of in the future. We need to make sure people can play the tennis they want to play, at convenient times, with suitable opponents and at fit for purpose venues. We have some longer-term plans in place to tackle venues as we know there is work to be done, but getting people on a court, any court, now is something we can do even more of through Local Tennis Leagues. We’ll be working hard to bring leagues to new areas of the country as well as raising the awareness of the existing leagues to encourage new players to join. We’ll also seek out new opportunities to improve our service to players where we can, while ensuring the core of why they play Local Tennis Leagues doesn’t change.”
Over the coming weeks and months there will be lots of opportunities to give your views on the future of Local Tennis Leagues to Paul and the LTA team as they look to plan for the future with your help.
“We’ll be doing lots of listening and gathering feedback as we move forward with things like focus groups, surveys and even an online conference with a few hundred contacts in the next 2 weeks, which should be interesting! It’s important to us that the players give us their views and we tailor any changes to what is really wanted or needed by them.”
In the meantime, you can contact us anytime via firstname.lastname@example.org or the contact form on the website.