Lismore coaches are flat out on the court

KEEN KIDS: Coach Dean Kyle with some of the junior boys in the holiday clinic at Lismore Tennis Club. Photos Mitchell Craig.
KEEN KIDS: Coach Dean Kyle with some of the junior boys in the holiday clinic at Lismore Tennis Club. Photos Mitchell Craig.

A CHANCE to return home and run his own tennis business was an offer too good to refuse for coach Dean Kyle.

Kyle is passionate about the sport and leads a group of coaches in a rejuvenated program at the Lismore Tennis Club.

He has had a busy 12 months since taking over the centre in July last year.

Kyle works fulltime under the On Tour Tennis business name with coaches Bianca Nugent and Trent George.

All three have years of experience coaching across the Northern Rivers.

George has 15 years' experience at Casino while Nugent has coached and run programs at both clubs.

"I coached here for eight years when I was younger and I've been back since July last year," Kyle said.

"I've been away in Queensland and Victoria and finally made it back which is awesome.

"We've grown our numbers by about 60 per cent in that time so I've got to be happy with that."

A bonus has been the purchase of a mini bus that they use to pick kids up from school.

They also use it on weekends when they take juniors away to tournaments between Tweed Heads and Forster.

About 50 kids were part of the most recent coaching clinic which ran under COVID-19 restrictions during the school holidays.

"You've got to be dedicated and it all comes down to the coaching staff," Kyle said.

"If we were to be a bit slack it really sticks out, that's when people don't come back.

"We try to stay as sharp as we can and I've got enough senior coaches around me to make sure we're organised and that everyone has a good time.

"Lachlan Piggott is our younger coach coming through and we have plenty of others who assist over holiday and busy periods."

YOUNG GUNS: Junior players Ben George, Nat Ertz and Christian Pidillia.

YOUNG GUNS: Junior players Ben George, Nat Ertz and Christian Pidillia.

Junior players Ben George, Nat Ertz and Christian Pidillia (pictured above) were three of the older boys at the recent holiday clinic

Nat has been growing in confidence and is another player who is keen to give Kyle and his team a hand with coaching.

"He hits the ball really well and he was keen to give us a hand in the holidays," Kyle said.

"We had smaller groups and COVID-19 restrictions this time, but he'll definitely get a go soon."

A government sports grant program has also seen them spend more times in schools around Lismore.

The club currently has 12 courts in operation and can have about 200 kids come through the gate during the week.

"Lismore is a pretty big sporting town, a good thing is we're not competing with the beach like Ballina and some of the other coastal towns," Kyle said.

COURT COVERED: Lismore hosts a COVID safe tennis camp.

COURT COVERED: Lismore hosts a COVID safe tennis camp.

"We do compete with other sports during winter, we try and make it as convenient as we can for people all-year round.

"We obviously get a lot more interest around summer and when the Australian Open is on.

"Those holiday clinics are half a day on the court and we spend the rest of the time at the pool.

"The advantage we have is that the kids are constantly hitting the ball and with that comes the hand-eye co-ordination.

"I love seeing kids play any sport but tennis is really fun and it triggers those skills that they can take away with them."