SiP 18 – Pocklington Tennis Club

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Pocklington Tennis Club

Pocklington Tennis Club does a fantastic job of providing people in their local community with an opportunity to play the game. Sport in Profile Magazine recently caught up with their Chairman Chris French to find out more about how they have been getting along lately.  

Involvement 

He told us, “I joined Pocklington Tennis Club in 1987. I was engaged and married a tennis mad (And now cycling and tennis mad) P.E. Teacher and took up the game with my wooden racquet, not having played since my school days.  

I became more involved in the club when we only had 40 senior members, two poor grass courts and three hard courts and no flushing loo! It was a challenge to assist in its development. We have now developed into a Club with increasing membership of 180 with six astro-turf type courts, two flushing loos and the onset of floodlights this summer. I also now play with up to date modern racquets, supplied by the Club’s sponsor and main ball supplier I.T. Sports at York.” 

The Role 

“The most challenging aspect is raising funds in order to continue the development of the Club, which is so very rewarding when the news comes through of a successful grant application. I am very lucky in having a very hardworking committee with a positive approach. Each member of the committee has a role which is well defined. We are all motivated people with a common goal. Pocklington Tennis Club.” 

Atmosphere 

“The Tennis Club is currently thriving; our membership is increasing which sees the facilities we have being used. There is an ever improving junior programme run by our Head Coach Sean Evans. The onset of having floodlights is exciting for everyone. This will enable both social tennis and coaching to be carried out all year round. The Junior Section is growing really well, having a fantastic relationship, not only with our neighbour Pocklington School, but all of the schools in the area which the Coach has visited and offered coaching and also the use of the Club’s courts.” 

2017 

“2017 started with a changed coaching regime. We went from our coaching being  controlled by a company to appointing a new head Coach with a sole focus on Pocklington Tennis Club with strict eye on small class sizes and more lessons for all age groups. This twinned with holiday camps during school holidays at every opportunity.  

When the dark nights came along the club supported the coaching programme by hiring in temporary floodlights to continue the junior programme. The junior programme has risen dramatically from 20 juniors to over 80 and rising. This has enabled the Head Coach to take on another coach to help with coaching. A fantastic achievement in 12 months.” 

2018 

“The Club are in the final stages of funding with several partners which include the East Riding of Yorkshire Council, the Lawn Tennis Association and Yorkshire Tennis to provide the Club with floodlights together with a gate entry system to enable the club to be accessible to the general public who wish to play. It will be a marvellous facility not only for the Tennis Club but also for Pocklington and the surrounding area.” 

Youth 

“Youth development is hugely important to the Tennis Club as a sport we wish to promote active sport to our younger generation. The junior section of the club is thriving and all of the young people who come through our system will be able to play tennis and if some of them stop playing for whatever reason with the skills they have developed they can also return in the future. We have a full programme of tennis for the young at Pocklington, whether it is just social tennis or a future Wimbledon champion they have to start somewhere.  

The Club have the ‘Tennismark’ from the Lawn Tennis association which is hugely important as it governs the standard of safeguarding especially when working with and coaching young people. The Club have a designated safeguarding and welfare officer which should be a top priority for any sports club, not just tennis.” 

Progression 

“Our coaching system will flag any outstanding players to go further in the tennis system. We offer coaching and lessons and also have a junior club evening where they can play together and the stronger players are then welcomed into the senior club nights and teams.  

My wife started tennis when she was 12-13 years old (Some time ago now!) at Pocklington Tennis Club. Both her and her friend who were and still are strong players at the Club were told by senior members of the club they could not play as it was 6pm and was the senior club night. Times have most definitely changed for the better. If Juniors are strong enough to play they are invited to play with the seniors. 

The Club is currently offering free coaching to local schools and will host a schools tournament, the club’s courts are offered free during the day to schools if they wish. The Club’s LTA led “Tennis for Kids” initiative has been over-prescribed and the Club’s Coach is currently offering a further course.”  

Community 

“Pocklington Tennis Club is most definitely part of the community. Anybody, no matter what background, standard or ability are welcome at Pocklington Tennis Club. Our current project will make tennis available in the area and not just for the membership of the Club. The Club is accredited as a place to play tennis by both East Riding of Yorkshire Council as well as the Lawn Tennis Association. Both have excellent standards in such things as safeguarding and coaching etc.” 

Get Involved 

“Anyone interested in local sport should come and visit Pocklington Tennis Club. Someone will show you around (Probably me!), introduce you to everyone and get you playing tennis. We have a young and enthusiastic coaching team who have a whole range of activities whether it be cardio tennis, drills or one to one coaching they will fit in with your requirements.  

The Club runs Club Nights on Saturday, Sunday and Monday evenings for players to socialise with a game of mixed tennis and sharpen up their game or just hit a few balls. Check out our website (www.pocklingtontennis.com) or our facebook page and come down to West Green, Pocklington to play tennis, you will be most welcome.” 

Challenges 

“The Club must continue to move forward with the times. It must strive to attract people to remain active and play tennis. People’s lives are becoming busier every year and also less active as time spent in front of a screen, whether it be T.V., computer or smart phone seems more attractive than playing sport. This is why we must make Pocklington Tennis Club a great experience for everyone using it in order for them to spread the word. 

Pocklington Tennis Club is run entirely by volunteers within, and elected by the Club’s membership. The Club is a non-profit making organisation, but must continue to develop with the times. This takes an incredible amount of time and effort to find people to help with the running of the club, moving it forward and maintain and develop facilities. In this day and age people’s expectations are very high, therefore in a small club it is a matter of instilling on people who use our hard earned facilities that it is everyone’s responsibility.” 

Ambitions 

“The Club are finalising their funding for the Floodlight Project which they hope will be fully operational by the end of the season in preparation for the darker evenings. This together with the gate entry system to enable access to the Club to anyone wishing to book a court and play tennis will be a huge step for the club to take and get used to. 

When this has settled down after this upheaval it will move onto its next step, forming partnerships with local clubs sharing facilities and growing the game of tennis in the area for all. We will continue to work with tennis’ governing body, Lawn Tennis Association and the East Riding of Yorkshire Council to further and realise our dreams, hopefully making sure they do come true!” 

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