Going with your opportunities in tennis
Olivia Svensson talks about grabbing the opportunities that led to her dream job as head-tennis coach at Vänersborgs Tennisclub in Sweden.
My journey with a racket started thirteen years ago when I began to play tennis in a small club in a society by name Lilla Edet. I trained and competed frequently until I was fifteen years old when I then decided to compete less and reduce my training. At this stage, to continue competing the way I had been would have required a lot of training, money and motivation to remain competitive against the others who I met on tournaments and to reach a “good” level.
I absolutely did not want to quit – so instead I chose to take a step back and continued just to train and focus on other things in tennis. Specifically, I began to think about what other possibilities there were with the sport. For example, I started to help my homeclub as a leader in training and activities. This was the beginning of much more.
Expanding my tennis education
I started to educate myself in different areas within tennis, as coach, umpire and competition management. I began also to engage myself on more places, on both camps and activities (in clubs and regional) but also successively in more clubs as coach on some hours.
Working in tennis – opportunities (and more education)
After I graduated was the plan to completely work with tennis. I worked then on some hours in three different clubs simultaneously.
One year later I got two opportunities that I could never believe would be offered to me. First was the opportunity to work two weeks at one of Europe’s biggest tennis academy, Good To Great, as a camp-coordinator. Later in summer 2018 I moved then to Stockholm to start to work as full-time coach on KLTK (one of Sweden’s biggest tennis clubs) in the junior section.
During that year I got plenty of new knowledge, experience and memories I always will bring with me, but after that year I wanted to move back to the areas where I lived before.
In autumn 2019 I began to work on some hours again at the same time I studied two university sport-courses through distance education. These courses were “Performance psychology” and “Education, teaching and learning”. I can really recommend both of these areas.
In “Performance Psychology” I learned a lot about what can affect you in your performance and how to handle it through psychology. In the education course I learned how to educate athletes and how they learn. I think of the things I have read and discovered in a lot of situations on court. For example how I organize my training so everyone can learn on their way the thing we are going to train. Another example is when a player feels stressed about a situation I feel better equipped to support and help them with a way to handle it.
In the winter I got an offer to begin as head coach at Vänersborgs Tennisclub. Located in the western part of Sweden, Vänersborgs Tennisclub is a large club that was founded in 1920! It now has over 600 members and 7 courts (4 indoor).
Days at Vänersborgs are almost never the same! Every day is different, but for me an ordinary day starts with a stable breakfast and after that I try to train on my own in the gym, a walk etc. Then I drive to the club and starts my workday with some administrative work; answering mail, planning training, checking plans for what is ahead. After I while I then go on the court and start the trainings with juniors in varying ages and levels and also with adults in different levels.
This is my story until today, but my tennis journey is still going!
About the Good to Great Centre and AcademyThe Good to Great Academy was founded by three greats of Swedish Tennis, Magnus Norman, Nicklas Kulti and Mikael Tillström. The Academy runs high performance programs for those wanting to reach their full tennis potential. Facilities and services include a gym, swimming centre, accommodation and camps. See the link at the bottom of this article for more information.
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