You will often hear in many sports that a team can be built around a player depending on their level of expertise and I believe that this statement could be correct. As far as a sporting facility is concerned well I believe that if it is run correctly then people will keep coming through the gates to play. A sport can be built around a venue, you just need the right people to run it.
The C and S Tennis Club had that sort of aura surrounding it when I was a kid because it owned a vision or rather one man owned a vision for the future of the sport in Albany.
Peter Holmes ( Holmsey ) who I often write fondly of on this site had a Business mind as well as a tennis mind and he put that business brain of his to work beautifully. I don't like to compare myself to Holmsey because he was by far a better tennis coach but I think we were both on the same wave length when it came to teaching juniors the sport of tennis.
Previously I have written about the program which we ran at the Lawley Park Tennis Club 5 or 6 years ago that brought juniors through into the senior club. Well that was also how Peter ran his program because he had a vision for the future as far as the youth of the sport was concerned and he wasn't just in it to make a dollar.
The Saturday morning junior club was an integral part of the C and S Tennis Club and it made kids strive for the afternoon matches with the adults. We all treated it as almost an honour to be selected to play in the afternoons because we knew that it would make us into better players. How could it not ? Saturday morning tennis was ridiculously competitive because of what was at stake for us if we continued to get better.
Holmsey had a way with his teaching that brought the best out of a kid who showed potential and his methods were nothing short of brilliant as he urged kids to become a part of the club and not just someone who turned up for a session.
You see there is a difference, yet it is common now days for a kid to go to coaching yet not even play the senior afternoon club matches which I find bemusing to say the least. If a coach turns up at his local club at 1 pm on a Saturday along with 4 or 5 of their pupils it brings a good vibe to a tennis club, that's what Holmsey did.
You can only play so many tournaments due to what is available on the calendar so surely in between those competitions a kid of say 12 or 14 years of age needs some good hard hitting. That's where C and S was so damn good as it was a tennis club where ALL of Albany's best senior and junior tennis players competed due largely to Peter's management skills.
Peter had a way about him, a way that commanded respect and his Saturday morning junior coaching program as well as the junior club match play filled the eight courts easily week in, week out of the season. The strongest juniors would play for three hours in the morning and then stay on for the senior club matches which ultimately proved the difference in tennis club strength in the Region.
As an adult you just knew that Saturday arvo club play was going to be hard work due to the standard of players who would turn up each week. Peter's adult coaching was also brilliant because he would bring players through his program and into the club to strengthen it.
There was always an idea to bring a novice adult into the club, never a 'thanks mate see you same time next week' sort of situation that does nothing to help bring a club new members.
The club on the highway I believe was the strongest tennis club this side of Perth and I recall a competition which proved that statement to be correct.
From memory I believe that it was 1985 and Holmsey organised a City vs Country Competition where the State 16's and 14's best players came to town to play over a full weekend. It is a fact that every single player from our team was a member of the C and S Tennis Club and I was fortunate enough to be selected to play. Peter put a team together of around 10 players and we played their best 10, we won easily, our team was outrageously strong.
Putting that into perspective now I could not find more than 4 locals of any age who would even have a sniff of a chance against a team like that from Perth yet we had TEN who barely lost a match consisting of adults and juniors all operating out of one tennis club, the C and S Tennis Club.......
Part 3 to follow