Congrats to Jake Johnson on becoming an Honorary Old Wilsonian

Posted 21st December 2018

Congratulations to Jake Johnson for becoming a honorary Old Wilsonian at the AGM earlier this month . Well done for all your hard work over the years . Nigel explains why below :- 

Jake started coaching at Old Wilsonians’ LTC in 2009 at which time there was no coaching programme at the club, and very few members under the age of 50. In the 9 years since then Jake has worked with the club and local school to build a coaching programme that is drawing many more youngsters and IMPORTANTLY, many adults into the club. I estimate the number of new players who have attended OWLTC since he started at around 1000. Many of the neighbours who are seen propping up the bar first came to the club as a result of their children joining the coaching programme. The knock-on effect of Jake’s work to the entire Association is immense, but is often overlooked or under-estimated.

Jake’s coaching programme covers all the mini tennis levels as well as yellow ball. He runs group sessions for children and adults as well as 1-2-1 coaching. We now have a Performance Group and host external LTA Grade 5 tournaments. Jake was himself recognised as Kent Tennis Coach of the Year 2014 and has recently been asked to start getting involved in delivering county training to Kent’s most promising youngsters.

Prior to Jake’s arrival, we did not enter junior teams in the league competitions. We made our first junior team entry in the summer of 2012 and have done so every summer and winter since that time. The youngsters love it and are doing well.

For the first time in anyone’s memory the club can now boast several successful coaching groups for adult novices – we are attracting lots of men and women who were previously completely inactive. Jake makes the sport fun, and his likeability and care means people don’t drift away. They are more likely to drift into the bar!! The overall coaching programme has grown from zero to around 400 people today who take coaching weekly. More importantly, the vibrancy this has created is reinvigorating the club, leading to new volunteers and a general buzz about the place that has long been absent.

Speaking to other clubs around the county I am acutely aware that the special relationship Jake and Nigel have forged, built on trust, is at the heart of this successful partnership. Their openness with one another, the complete transparency of decision-making and mutual support ensures that what works for Jake also benefits the club. Everything either works for both, or doesn’t work for both. Neither side benefits at the expense of the other.

So Jake has done an enormous amount to support the tennis club and through that the Association. He richly deserves recognition, and this was unanimously proposed by the recent tennis club AGM


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