New north tennis regional coach spells out targets to raise sporting standards
New district tennis coach for Highland and Morayshire, Derek Brown, has spelled out his goals as he prepares to raise standards across the board in the north of Scotland.
The 58-year-old is a proud ‘Doonhamer’ from Dumfries and, having spent a spell at Nairn Sports Club last autumn, he is preparing to start his next job as head of coaching at Highland Tennis in March.
The Highlands District is one of nine District Associations in Scotland and is responsible for organizing local leagues and training at district level. A total of 16 tennis clubs fall under the Highland District Tennis umbrella.
As a player, Brown played for the South of Scotland men’s team for a decade and was captain for part of that time.
Coach Derek Brown moved from Dumfries to Nairn Sports Club last year.
In 2003, the lure of tennis proved too much for the former town planner, who became full-time head coach of Strathgryffe Tennis and Squad Club, one of Scotland’s biggest clubs, based in Houston. , in Renfrewshire.
While at Strathgryffe, Brown earned the LTA Level Five Master Performance Coach qualification and was twice awarded the Tennis Scotland Coach of the Year award.
He has coached two players in the top four of the UK table, 12 players up to Scottish selections and around 40 players in county teams in the west of Scotland.
Now he will use his vast experience to oversee tennis in the Highlands and Morayshire across all age groups and help raise the standards.
Raising the standard of young Highland players is the first target
Brown explained what his goals are as he prepares for this latest challenge in what is clearly an important position for the sport in the region.
He said: “In my role as Highland District Coach I will be looking after youngsters between the ages of 8 and 18. There are two main goals for what I aim to achieve.
“Firstly I have to raise the general level of young players in the Highlands and Morayshire region.
“The end goal is to bring more players from the region into the North of Scotland junior and senior teams, as well as to improve the performance of the Highlands District in the Scottish Inter-District Championships, which take place every April at Kilgraston School in Perth.
“I’m the designated coach to do that and I’ll do it running teams at multiple designated locations and the idea is that it will start to raise the levels.
“I will also liaise with the individual coaches.
“So a player can have another coach – I will see him in those teams and liaise with his coach to get the best out of that player.”
Derek Brown has been a tennis coach for 35 years. A large area calls for a district trainer
Scotland is divided into four counties (North, South, East and West) for British inter-county events and nine districts for local leagues.
And such is the great geographical challenge, Highland Tennis sought a district coach over the winter and Brown’s background made him the ideal choice.
Brown, based in Elgin, said: “The Highlands District has two main aspects – internal leagues and Highland player selection.
“They have considered appointing a district coach and not all districts have one. For example, Dumfries and Galloway are so small they wouldn’t.
“But Highland, which includes Morayshire, is big enough to appoint a part-time district coach and that’s where I come in.
“A lot of my training over the past 35 years has been with all levels of juniors and adults, helping to develop their skills to improve their game.
“I have always played tennis and I have always been a tennis coach in my adult life. I only became a full-time coach in 2003 where, after having been an urban planner, I followed the desire to my heart to coach tennis.
Gordonstoun’s role is also a winner
In addition to this high-profile role, Brown was also appointed as a coach at the independent Gordonstoun School in Elgin for students who show a genuine interest in tennis.
He said: “At the moment I will be going to Gordonstoun to provide tennis coaching for pupils who wish to do so as an extracurricular activity.
“So really enthusiastic students will be coached by me and that’s the starting point for that role as it stands.”
The Murray brothers are perfect coaches Andy and Jamie Murray when the Brits battle in December. Image: Kenny Elrick/DC Thomson
Of course, three-time Grand Slam champion Sir Andy Murray continues to inspire players of all ages across the country.
Brown believes that Andy and his doubles star brother, Jamie, have always had the X factor.
He said: “Andy Murray has helped every Scottish club over the past 20 years by raising the profile of tennis in Scotland and helping to increase participation in the sport as a whole.
“I bumped into Andy as a young boy at a coaches conference in Largs and could see that he and his brother Jamie were a bit special at that age.
“They have both been fantastic benchmarks for Scottish coaching since their success.”
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[New north tennis regional coach spells out targets to raise sporting standards]