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Former Desborough student named club coach of the year by Tennis New Zealand

A former Desborough College student and Maidenhead resident has been named Club Coach of the Year by Tennis New Zealand for his work at Mount Maunganui Tennis Club.

Paul Arnott grew up in Maidenhead and worked for both the town’s tennis club and Wargrave Tennis Club before moving to the Bay of Plenty in New Zealand’s North Island with his wife and three children nine years ago.

In the past four years he has helped transform the club’s tennis coaching programme and membership numbers have soared as a result.

On his arrival the club had only 260 members but that has grown to 420 thanks to Paul’s efforts to create a coaching programme that has something for everyone.

There are lessons for tiny tots, promising juniors and players who haven’t picked up a racket in a while, as well as popular club evenings for juniors and adults.

Alongside his big win the club was also nominated in the Club of the Year category, but narrowly missed out.

“To be nominated for three awards for the same club in one ceremony, that’s unheard of really,” Paul, 40, told Sunlive in New Zealand.

“It shows how well we are going in regards to our club, coaches and volunteers.”

Paul has visited multiple primary schools in an attempt to boost junior membership over the past few years and has won a number of awards, including the Bay of Plenty Coach of the Year award in two of the last three years.

“I’m pretty pro-active. I have done a bunch of things this year which has helped boosted participation numbers,” he said.

“I have gone into primary schools to get kids to come down to the club, giving them free lessons and trials.

“When I arrived there were only 50 juniors, Now we have 170. We are also investing in training up our younger assistance to be coaches shortly.

“Every day is a good day for me. There is no reason for this club to not be fantastic. It’s in a popular area and our facilities are awesome. Now, the energy down there is just buzzing.”

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