How I left my sales role to fulfil lifelong coaching dream
• 3 MINUTE READ
What is the secret to happiness at work? One of the burning questions of today that, for many, remains unanswered. Whalley Range Tennis Club’s Head Coach, Simon Wood (commonly known as Woody), found his answer later in his career after leaving his management role at a big corporation to follow his dream of one day becoming a coach at his local tennis club.
COVID-19 impacted us all, and for many of us, it often made us question the path in which we embarked upon in life. Whether that be job related, relationship related, family related; we all felt it to some degree. For 56-year-old Woody, it was met with his desire for change, waving goodbye to his day job as he began his pursuit to rediscovering his tennis roots.
“COVID had a significant impact on the business I was working for,” admitted Woody. “And I just came to the conclusion that I was ready for a change. I’d always thought about tennis coaching as a potential career path; even when I was a junior playing.”
From his habitual 9 to 5 office role working in international logistics to biting the bullet and volunteering his time at Whalley Range Tennis Club, Woody reflected on his prompt 18-month journey to realising his dream position as Head Coach.
“I started helping out with the Head Coach there back in September 2021”, said Woody. “The club then made me a formal offer, and I was at a stage in my career where I needed a new challenge.
“I’ve always hugely enjoyed the game. I had played for Lancashire County and the North West Region as a junior and was highly ranked Nationally for my age group, so when this opportunity presented itself aged 56 it was now or never.
“Since then, I worked hard to achieve my LTA Assistant (Level 1), my LTA Instructor (Level 2), and my LTA Coach (Level 3) awards at breakneck speed. Then in July last year I was appointed Head Coach, and I’ve been thoroughly enjoying it. It’s a completely different way of life for me."
A decision that seems clear as day now, but it wasn’t one that came without reservations, “I had doubts about the financial security element,” shared Woody. “It was a big leap into the unknown, so there was always a question of whether I’d be able to generate enough income.
“I also went from managing hundreds of people to effectively starting right back at the bottom and making my way back up, but volunteering provided me that opportunity to help move forward with my career and get the requisite qualifications. It was my chance to prove myself as well to the club that I had ability even though I wasn’t yet qualified.”
Remaining tenacious, the now LTA Accredited Level 3 Coach saw his dream become a reality after working hard to complete his qualifications and work experience in just nine months, exactly a year after he began his volunteering journey.
“I found the whole process with the LTA and LTA Learn extremely interesting,” enthused Woody. “You can track your progress easily, and it’s fit for purpose now in terms of coaches coming through. Certainly, the younger aspiring coaches that I have been encouraging to undertake these modules find it more in line with their new methods of learning.
“I’d say don’t underestimate the challenge, but if you knuckle down and apply yourself, then the benefits are fantastic. I’m enjoying my career now more than I have ever before, and these past 18 months have been a fantastic journey for me. I encourage everyone to not be afraid of taking a chance.”
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