Women in Tennis. Edition: 1
Updated: Jun 10, 2019
Our focus for this edition of 'Women in Tennis' is the Co-Director of Sheen Parks Tennis, Kate Maurici. Aside from Kate's on court coaching, she has also spent time working as a Barrister, personal trainer and sports therapist, so we sat down with Kate to hear about her journey as a woman in tennis.
· Name: Kate Maurici
· Coach Qualification: LTA Level 3 Accredited+
· Venue: Sheen Parks Tennis
· Top Coaching Tip: Be yourself on court. Get to understand who that person is and don’t be afraid to embrace the playing style that matches your personality.
1.) How did you get involved in tennis and then into coaching?
I was a ball girl for several years from 1985 at the Brighton Pretty Polly Classic which then became the Brighton Volvo Classic. At the events, I enjoyed watching Chris Evert-Lloyd, Steffi Graf, the Williams sisters and lots of other top women players and developed a love of watching tennis. Squash was then my preferred sport throughout my childhood (as tennis membership was too expensive and squash coaching cost me only 20p per session for 2 hours coaching). I used to walk to the tennis and squash club on a Saturday morning, which was 40 minutes walk away: do 2 hours squash coaching and then luckily for me there was a wall on the outside of the tennis club where I could practice my tennis on the wall after squash. We also used to sneak into the Tennis Club Bar afterwards even though we weren’t members to order lemonade and crisps.
Football then attracted me at University, as I love team sport. When I went to work as a Barrister and then had kids I stopped playing sport for a while and then only when my youngest child started having tennis lessons did I return to playing tennis. I was working as a personal trainer and sports therapist at the time and my Co-Director at Sheen Parks Tennis, Caroline Jordan invited me to have some tennis lessons myself after my son’s lesson. I then started assisting on court and it went from there. Now I am doing a career I love which also easily fits around looking after my children.
2.) How has the programme at your club/park/school developed in recent years?
We started the programme at Sheen Parks Tennis a few years ago. We began with no programme at all on Sheen Common near Richmond and now have 5 sites and a great team of coaches, with growing programmes at all venues. We also developed great school and nursery links and, with the support of the LTA and Richmond Borough Council, are bringing tennis to all areas of the local community.
3.) What are your goals as a tennis coach over the next few years?
I have 3 goals over the next few years:
To continue to attract more girls and women to the sport and to coaching.
To create opportunities for those who might not think they fit into the "world of tennis" - to feel empowered to take up the sport.
To improve and develop my coaching skills.
4.) What do you think can be done to get more female coaches in tennis?
We need to start attracting girls to the sport early in Secondary schools. We need to develop and expand the Sports Leaders programme to give the girls an early sense of achievement and responsibility in the sport. This will then feed into more women starting on the coaching pathway.
We need more "all women” LTA coaching qualification courses and the opportunity for more relaxed assessments at individual coach's venues rather than at assessment centres.
We need more “all women” CPD opportunities in particular areas that many female coaches struggle with- to build confidence in those areas.
I think a formal and structured mentoring system for women coaches would benefit lots of women.
I would like to see a British Women Tennis Coaches Association which can reflect upon and build on the fantastic work of Judy Murray in bringing together and creating a greater workforce of female coaches.
We need to give more positions of responsibility in coaching to women, so that women are more visible in the sport at all levels.
5.) What do you think can be done to get more women and girls into the sport? Why is this important?
We need to listen more to what women and girls want from a coaching session and as we need to develop more empathy to recognise what women and girls might be feeling on court.
We can learn from other sports which do engage girls successfully. I would welcome some opportunities to meet coaches from hockey, netball, football and athletics to share ideas on coaching women and girls.
Tennis needs to be introduced in primary schools within curriculum time as a major summer sport, so that the technique is learned from an early age, rather than girls having to seek out the sport in clubs or parks without any prior experience - which can be daunting.
We need to maximise the opportunities for girls to play indoors. The Miss-Hits initiative has provided one successful way of doing this. By doing so, we will attract more girls to the sport and, significantly, retain their interest through the winter.
We need to be careful to encourage a larger number of girls to continue with the sport rather than focussing on the most able players. We need a bigger pool of girls and women playing the sport and many many girls give up very early because they do not think they are good enough. We have a responsibility to them to change this perception and allow them time to reach their potential.
Surrey Tennis 2019.