Head Coach’s Review of 2023

About me

I’ve been a member at Brooklands Sports Club for 40 years, having first joined age 15 in 1983. I started playing tennis for the Men’s 1st team the following season under the guidance of our very own Nigel Lewis, whom I partnered in the 1st team for several seasons. Nigel and I won the Brooklands Annual Men’s Doubles title several times, back when you could enter the tournament with a partner of your choice, and there’s a sterling silver trophy somewhere to prove it!  I represented Trafford schools at tennis, played several county tournaments, and obtained my first LTA level coaching badges aged 18.   I also started playing hockey for Brooklands from age 15, back when we all played on grass pitches.   At University, I started to focus on hockey and on returning to Manchester after University, I continued to play both hockey and tennis for Brooklands Men’s 1st teams for many years.

I worked in management consultancy for 23 years and 8 years ago decided to take up an opportunity to be the Head Coach at Heyes Grove tennis club.  During this time I have implemented several initiatives which have seen significant increases in participation, and the development of players at all levels. 

I applied to be Head Coach at Brooklands because of my long association with and love for the club.  I could see that there was a great opportunity to build on the excellent work that already been done, and I felt that with the incumbent, very experienced coaches, I could manage the role alongside my existing role at Heyes Grove.

I feel I have benefitted from some of the very best individual and team coaching available, and have learned a huge amount about the demands required of top level sport, and I would like to pass as much of that on as I can.

The year so far

I spent a fair bit of time initially managing the transition from Oli Jones who had successfully built an excellent tennis programme at Brooklands  My first task has been to bring back structure and reliability to the programme, ensuring that the group sessions ran smoothly, with the administration (all the behind-the-scenes stuff) working well.  I feel this has been achieved.  It was very important for me to ensure the incumbent coaches didn’t lose any of their coaching time (and income) following my introduction, and, moreover, gain the option of further growing their coaching schedules.  However this did mean that I wasn’t doing much coaching at Brooklands – but not because I didn’t want to.  All the coaches at Brooklands are self-employed so I really wanted to make sure they were not financially disadvantaged by my appointment.

The whole team has been great in welcoming me, and also continuing to do a great job helping all of our programme participants develop their tennis. It is a real shame to have lost Nat Pacitto recently to a fantastic opportunity in Padel, but as a team, we have collectively picked up the hours, and continue to deliver our full programme.  At present I don’t see a need in replacing Nat, but I’ll keep a watch on that.

I added more junior squad sessions during the week to reduce the number of juniors in the sessions on Saturday afternoons – this ensures a better coaching experience.  I also set up some adult coaching sessions for beginners and for improvers.  The ladies’ team players asked for coaching, and I’ve been running sessions for them on a Monday evening, focussing on tactics and doubles play.  The additional benefit has been the introduction of the juniors into this session and the feedback is that this has been very successful to date.

The committee asked me to deliver a junior tournament as part of the fundraising effort, so this was run in May with around 30 participants.  I also ran the Brooklands Annual tournament for both the adults and juniors (held in September).  The junior teams have done really well this year, and the Parent Captains have been a real asset – I’m very grateful for their help.   The coaches have also been supporting some of the teams which will, I hope, achieve even more success in the future.

Holiday camps have been held during every school holiday and managed very successfully thanks to our team of coaches and I’m really delighted that the numbers of juniors coming to squads has remained fairly constant over the course of the year.  I feel positive about what has been achieved this year, and although it may seem like I’ve not been very busy, I can assure you that a Head Coach does as much (if not more) off-court as they do on-court to run a successful programme. 

2024 and beyond

The plan going forward will be to ensure we have a full tennis programme that meets everyone’s needs and aspirations, but also helps players develop and enjoy their tennis.  Some additional adult beginner sessions will start in the new year, and improver sessions added to the programme if there is demand.  I’d love to work with the men’s teams too and am exploring other opportunities with the committee.

Ideally I will grow the programme over the coming years and have already starting put in place a pathway for juniors which I plan on developing.

I hope to help Kev and Dave where possible, but certainly support Charlie in his coaching development, together with our wonderful team of junior assistants on their coaching journey.

Over the next month I will update the Coaching pages on the website so you should find the answer to any question you have about coaching on there, and I will keep you updated regularly with what is happening and how things are going via the email update that is sent out by the committee.

I hope this has been informative.   If you need to contact me, please do so via email or phone on or 07887988722.

Gary Brown - Head Coach