Matt is the newest member of the Oxford Parks Tennis coaching team, so we popped along to Bury Knowle to get to know him a little bit better while working on our strokes.
So Matt, tell us a bit about yourself…
I’ve recently relocated here from Cardiff and I’m living in Abingdon. Cardiff is a really great city – there’s lots going on, but it’s small enough to get around easily. It’s fun getting to know Oxfordshire though – I’m having a good time here, apart from this morning when a white van man blocked me into my driveway by parking across it, nearly making me late for my session!
What made you decide to become a tennis coach?
I have always been involved in tennis. Both my parents play, so I pretty much grew up at a tennis club. I began by helping my own coach with the younger players, when I was in my early teens. I did go to College – to study Computer Science, but my heart wasn’t in it – I prefer being on court! So now I am a full-time level 3 tennis coach.
What’s your favourite age group to coach?
They are all good for different reasons. But I have a particular soft spot for the Mini-Reds, because I get to be a big kid when I’m coaching them. Though teenagers are good too – it’s not so long since I was one myself, so I think I’ve got a good understanding of how to get inside their heads and help them.
What makes a good tennis coach?
I think it is patience and the ability to break things down so you are just focusing on improving the one most important thing at a time.
Favourite shot to work on with players?
It’s got to be the serve. It is such a technical stroke and it is all under the control of the player. Everyone has different elements they need to work on, and if I help a player to identify the most important, then they can make huge improvements just through repetition, even by themselves.
Have you noticed that since we’ve been having this conversation that I haven’t hit a single serve in?
Yes, I had noticed that. Perhaps you should concentrate….
Okay, last two questions - What has surprised you most about coaching in Oxford?
It rains a lot less here than in Cardiff, which is fantastic!
And what is the strangest thing that has ever happened to you on the tennis court?
Um, err, I’m not quite sure how to answer that. Perhaps I should think about it…
Matt is currently coaching at Bury Knowle and Florence Park and is also available for private lessons. You can contact him directly on MattParry76@gmail.com or 07909 628082 or for group lessons, simply book on at Parks Tennis.