A chat with James Faudemer, co-founder of The Tennis Hub, Jersey News September 14, 2020

The Tennis Hub is a family-friendly, inclusive tennis environment which engages with local schools and the community, offering varied tennis programmes for all abilities and ages.

Oak is pleased to support the programme which has a particular focus on encouraging children and young members of the community to access tennis in Jersey.

We sat down for a chat with James Faudemer, co-founder of the Tennis Hub in Jersey, to find out a little more about their sporting initiatives on the Island.

 

James, what were the origins of the Tennis Hub - how was it formed and why?

The Tennis Hub was set up by myself and Mark Gilmour in early 2017 and has been running for three and a half years now. We felt the venue (St Clements Golf and Sports Centre) presented a fantastic opportunity to grow grass roots tennis on the island and provide a coaching programme for a wide range of ages and abilities.

What is your vision for the Tennis Hub?

Our vision is to continue growing tennis participation on the programme and creating a pathway for players so that they sustain tennis as a sport for life.

How has COVID-19 affected your plans for 2020/21 and what measures have you had to take as a result of the pandemic?

Although I was able to restart things sooner than many other sports ( being an outdoor venue and tennis being a socially distanced sport), the pandemic resulted in less competitions for more regular players and also meant the schools programme was unable to run this year which was a big shame as it was great fun in 2019.

In terms of measures in place, for the first number of weeks after lockdown I was the only person who could touch the tennis balls during sessions and people had to sanitise their hands before and after. During the summer holiday programme children were grouped onto different tennis courts. Like all clubs and sports programmes, you had to  think much more outside the box.

Please tell us more about the Oak Family Cup.

The Oak Family Cup is in its third year now. It’s a family competition where parents sign up to play with their child in fun, friendly doubles matches against other parent and child pairs. It’s very inclusive with some grandparents even playing with their grandchildren which shows that tennis really is a sport for all ages.

 

On Sunday 13 September, The Tennis Hub hosted the Oak Family Cup which returned for a third year at St Clements Golf and Sports Centre in Jersey with 16 parent-child teams competing. Many congratulations to 'Team Smashers’ and ‘The Mint Choc Chips’ who emerged victorious and well done to all who took part. We hope you see you again in 2021.

 

How has the Hub benefitted from corporate support?

The support that Oak provides is proving to be instrumental in attracting and retaining more children in tennis which has always been my aim. The schools programme links really well with the Tennis Hub programme in terms of providing opportunities for children to continue tennis coaching, whether that is after school, at weekends or during school holidays.

What is the rest of the calendar looking like?

The new Autumn term started this week and this caters for both new and existing players during the week and on Saturday mornings. This will run up until mid-November. Every few weeks I am also scheduling regular tennis match plays so children who are keen on their tennis can start to gain some competition experience.

Tell us about yourself and your career in tennis.

I started playing at a local sports centre when I was seven years old. From there, I filtered into a club and that was me hooked. I was lucky as a junior as there was a good group of players from both Jersey and Guernsey so we all pushed each other along to keep improving. I continue to compete when I can for the Channel Islands but now the focus is more on the next generation of players.

What have been some of your career highlights?

 In terms of playing tennis for me it was the buzz of going away on team trips with your friends and competing in some great places. These are memories that I will always have and for me is a big part of not only playing tennis, but sport in general. In terms of coaching it has to be the impact of The Tennis Hub since it started in 2017. It went from turning up at a venue which had never had a coaching programme before to attracting over 100 children on a weekly programme and over 250 during school holidays.

Tell us about your role now as a junior player coach?

My role is to attract new players to the sport and then retain and develop existing players. The main challenge when running the programme is trying to ensure every child is grouped correctly according to their age and ability. This way they improve quicker and ultimately they enjoy playing tennis and want to continue.

What would you say are the best words and advice to live by?

Do something you enjoy and work hard at it.