Blaise Izungu is a Student Head Coach & Assistant Academy Coach at TuksTennis.
From 2014 to 2016, he served as an Assessor for the USSA Tennis Executive Committee and member of the USSA National Team Selection Panel. At the beginning of 2020, he was appointed Tournament Director of USSA Tennis.
In this interview, Izungu talks about what makes the TuksTennis Academy so special on the African continent, his experience as an Assessor for the USSA Tennis Executive Committee and lastly, his appreciation message to the TuksTennis Club and TuksSport as a whole.
1. As a Student Head Coach & Assistant Academy Coach at TuksTennis, what is your main focus and areas of responsibility?
I am mainly involved with assisting in planning programmes, promoting the sport, innovating for improvement, coaching to build players, evaluating players' performance and some part of admin work as well. In the Junior Academy, this responsibility can be better described as being the support of the leader's vision and philosophy by investing yourself 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) to get the exposure and experience of tennis their tertiary studies long. This second responsibility comes in many forms on the practical ground and all that with the help of an assistant coach.
2. You work with the TuksSport High School learner-athletes through the TuksTennis Academy, what are the objectives in place of the Academy? And, what makes the Academy so special on the African continent?
The objective is firstly to make these learner-athletes good citizens before they may become good tennis players. Fundamentally we empower them with the skills to be world-standard junior players with balanced morals and values for life. This is made possible through the corporate implication of both the School and the Club into the athletes’ day-to-day tasks. The setup of TuksSport High School within the Hillcrest Sports Campus and all the linked services makes TuksTennis Academy one of the best in the continent.
3. In 2020, you were appointed as a Tournament Director of USSA Tennis. Explain your duties and responsibilities for this position and how big a step forward towards your career?
It consists of organizing the USSA competition, from receiving entries, making the draws, to running a successful USSA event according to the USSA Tennis 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. And I believe to have already acquired the required competencies for this position on a bigger scale.
4. From 2014 to 2016, you have served as an Assessor for the USSA Tennis Executive Committee and member of the USSA National Team Selection Panel. What was your overall experience?
Both positions were a whole new and amazing experience. I had to look at things and analyse them from different angles in order to be efficient in my roles. The privilege to be amongst the people carrying the vision of University Tennis to its fulfilment and the opportunity to have a share of responsibility in the organization were an honour for me. I always have a great joy serving players and university representatives, making every USSA event memorable for them.
5. What impact has the COVID-19 pandemic had on your personal objectives and club objectives for 2020?
The pandemic for me carried a strong message of never seeing limitations around me but rather the opportunities that come with each situation in life. I had to adjust my year plans and set new goals that are more achievable in this global situation. At the 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 of moving forward with Tennis as a whole internally and beyond.
6. What is your appreciation or love message to 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 for the support and the passion that you inspire.