Parks Tennis Interviews Coach Derek Healy

We talked to the Head Coach in Shankill Tennis Club, Derek Healy, about what boys and girls can expect in Parks Tennis Summer Camps.

Derek Tell Us About Yourself:

I started playing tennis at the age of 12 down at the local tennis club. I liked tennis immediately. I love playing tennis. The first time I played I fell in love with the sport and I wanted to play, be a coach, be a player.

I started coaching part time at the age of 15 down at the local club through Parks Tennis.

For me coaching was all about teaching. If I couldn’t be a player, I definitely wanted to be a coach. I wanted to make a difference. Teach kids how to play the sport, teach kids how to appreciate it with adults, beginners, performers, advanced vice versa.

Tennis is a sport for everybody, from starters to performers. It’s a great sport and there’s a level for everybody. From social tennis, to league tennis, to all aspects of the game.

You can become a serious player from being a beginner, of course you can. But that all depends on the level, the age, the ambition, the drive, the will.

What Is The Programme Like For The Youngest Players?

In this club we cater for 5-year-olds and we call it a Mini-Tots program. For Mini-Tots it’s working on the right racket skills, basic movements, basic coordination’s, the usual stuff to really teach them how to go from a Mini-Tot to a beginner.

And the younger players do stick with it. I’ve got kids in the club now, well they’re not kids now, where I started them at 6, and they’re still training and they’re 19 and 20 now. Anyone who plays tennis 10-12 hours a week, the response is in itself is very positive. We have 28 coaching groups running at the moment and any of the kids I work with they love it. They want to be here everyday, every minute.

I have a lot of success stories. My number one player that I’ve ever coached is in America now on a scholarship now on a semi-professional tour. I’ve taken so many kids to very high levels of performance. But I’ve also made such a difference with young kids lives.  The fact that we have 160 kids in our coaching programme kind of speaks for itself. And they’re all doing great things.