‘I take great joy in serving players and university representatives’

Posted on April 07, 2021

Student Head Coach and Assistant Academy Coach at TuksTennis Blaise Izungu tells Tukkievaria what makes the TuksTennis Academy so special, and about his experience as an assessor for the USSA Tennis Executive Committee.

Blaise Izungu, Student Head Coach and Assistant Academy Coach at TuksTennis, chats about his various roles in the tennis world and what the pandemic has taught him.

As a student head coach and assistant academy coach at TuksTennis, what is your main focus and areas of responsibility?
I assist in planning programmes, promoting tennis, innovating for improvement, coaching build players, evaluating players’ performance and am involved in some admin work. In the junior academy, this responsibility can be better described as supporting the leader's vision and philosophy by investing in the success of that vision and philosophy. As a student head coach, I focus on giving an excellent platform for students of all levels (beginner to high performance). This second responsibility comes in many forms on the ground.

You work with the TuksSport High School learner athletes through the TuksTennis Academy. What are the objectives of the academy; and what makes it so special on the continent?
The objective is to make these learner athletes good citizens before they become good tennis players. Fundamentally, we empower them with the skills to be world-standard junior players with balanced morals and values. This is made possible through the corporate implication of both the school and the club into the athletes’ day-to-day tasks. The set-up of TuksSport High School within Hillcrest Sports Campus and all the linked services make TuksTennis Academy one of the best on the continent.

In 2020, you were appointed as Tournament Director of USSA Tennis. Explain your duties and responsibilities and how big a career step this was?
It consists of organising the USSA competition, from receiving entries and making the draws to running a successful USSA event according to the USSA rules and regulations. To date, my previously directed events were the TuksTennis Student Club Championships and some social events throughout the academic calendar. This is indeed a step forward to be handling such a crucial aspect of the USSA tournaments for the duration of my mandate.

From 2014 to 2016, you served as an assessor for the USSA Tennis Executive Committee and a member of the USSA National Team Selection Panel. What was your overall experience?
Both positions were a whole new, amazing experience. I had to analyse things from different angles in order to be efficient in my roles. The privilege of being among the people carrying the vision of university tennis to its fulfilment and the opportunity to have a share of responsibility in the organisation were an honour for me. I take great joy in serving players and university representatives, making every USSA event memorable for them.

What impact has the COVID-19 pandemic had on your personal objectives and club objectives for 2020?
The pandemic carried a strong message of seeing opportunities that come with each situation in life, rather than seeing its limitations. I had to adjust my plans and set new goals that are more achievable in this global situation. At club level, the flow of activities was disrupted, severely affecting finances, coaching programmes and competitions. On the other hand, this gave us new perspectives for the year 2021 to never run out of ways to move forward with tennis as a whole, internally and beyond. 

Do you have a message for the TuksTennis Club and TuksSport as a whole?
The driving energy of the TuksSport family is remarkable, and its impact upon the athletes and staff is life-changing. Thanks to every person making TuksSport such an amazing place to be part of; thanks to my closest team members for the support and passion that you inspire.

- Author Author Bhekani Bright Ndebele

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