Self-made tennis club earns top LTA honour

On the up: Skipton Tennis Club now has more than 600 adult and junior members.
On the up: Skipton Tennis Club now has more than 600 adult and junior members.
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A tennis coach who sold his house to finance a dream of building his own club at the age of 24 has seen his hard work rewarded.

Skipton Tennis Club was set up in 2005 by Adam Cox, who had just left university and was coaching at schools in the town at a time when it had no active club.

Skipton Tennis Club has a thriving junior section

Skipton Tennis Club has a thriving junior section

Then just 24, Cox negotiated the purchase of land from a sports centre to build five courts on, secured a £75,000 loan from the Lawn Tennis Association and sold his house to raise the remainder of the capital needed to finance the project.

His dedication has been rewarded after Skipton was named Northern Club of the Year for 2017-18 by the LTA. It now has a membership of over 250 players and 300 children are enrolled on the junior coaching programme.

“I had been coaching tennis at a local school since 2000 with a small programme of 80-100 players and I felt that it was an incredible opportunity to combine my love of tennis with my interest in business and marketing. I presented the idea to the trustees of the land, who at the time were very sceptical as I was 24 with no financial backing; all I had was a vision and a dream,” said Cox.

“The initial project was at a cost of £102,000; I sold my house to raise the capital needed to provide the extra £27,000, lived at home with my parents and built the club. The the rest is history!”

Adam Cox receives the award from the LTA on behalf of Skipton Tennis Club.

Adam Cox receives the award from the LTA on behalf of Skipton Tennis Club.

Cox has developed the coaching outreach programme so that it now includes 28 primary schools and four secondaries. The club has 14 teams, three social nights and runs children’s holiday camps.

He faced initial challenges including the personal risk on the loan he had taken out and delays in securing a 99-year lease for the use of the site.

The club has emphasised the need to add value to its membership packages, and offers schemes such as discounts at local businesses and free coaching clinics.

“It goes without saying we try and provide the best tennis experience we possibly can. Providing quality and flexibility helps retain players.

“Local schools are very important, so to understand how they spend their PE budget is essential.

“We have significantly increased participation through school initiatives, and also attracted new families to the club.

“I feel very proud to make a real difference to the sport I have loved since a young age.”