Local tennis players availed of an opportunity to improve their skills at a performance coaching weekend hosted recently by Letterkenny Tennis Club in conjunction with NW Sporting Pathways through Donegal Sports Partnership (DSP).
A total of 64 local players of all ages and levels participated in the the two-day event which was delivered by MacXTennis Academy elite coaches, John McGahon and Paul Casey, who are based in Dundalk.
John holds a Bsc in Sport and PE and is a level three Tennis Ireland High Performance coach. He is head coach at the Leinster Tennis Academy and personal coach to multiple national and international champions.
Paul Casey is a former national coach with over 25 years experience as a professional performance coach. He was head coach of the Leinster squad for 15 years.
The weekend of clinics and workshops was co-ordinated by Maggie Farrelly, education and training coordinator with DSP and is the latest initiative to be rolled out under the North West Sporting Pathways Programme in Donegal.
"The whole idea of this programme was to help tennis players from Letterkenny and the North West region," Maggie commented.
"It afforded dozens of tennis players an opportunity to learn and improve. They gained elite technical and tactical knowledge and experience from two of Ireland's finest performance coaches. John McGahon and Paul Casey brought energy, encouragement and huge know-how to each session," she added.
"This pioneering event was a huge success and is another great example of good cross-community cooperation. Technical and physical development was the focus. The participants were all shown different warm-up routines. The weekend was really interesting and really different.
"The quality of the coaching was of the highest level and there was a lot of spotting and fixing. It was top quality coaching. The coaches have great expertise and the manner in which they conducted their sessions was superb," Maggie commented.
"Other parts of the game that were covered included basis serving actions and rallying. I would be hopeful that a second weekend of performance coaching will be organised later in the year. I believe there is a huge benefit to be had from events like this."
The coaches were extremely impressed with the senior and junior players that took part.
"All the groups we worked with had a tremendous attitude. They all wanted to listen, all wanted to improve and all wanted to learn - you don't find that everywhere," John said at the end of the weekend.
Paul had a similar view of the two days in Letterkenny.
"It was a fantastic weekend and with the the right guidance, there is no reason why tennis players in Letterkenny and the North West region can't move up to the next level," he commented.