We are thrilled and extremely proud that one of our juniors has gained entry into one of the most prestigious schools in Essex – Newhall!
We met Ollie at our Brentwood club, where he was and still is a huge part of the Aspire Tennis Academy. Ollie now trains mainly at our Maldon centre under the tutelage of our Head of Coach Development & Hello Padel England Director Dan Troy.
Go Padel UK’s Ollie Grantham
We caught up with Ollie’s Mum Jayne for an update!
We first discovered Oliver could hit a ball when he was just 4 years old in our back garden with his pops and a couple of old wooden bats. He just held a rally and hit the ball so hard that the bat broke! We decided to look for somewhere where he could take lessons just as the LTA were rolling out a free play in the park scheme to introduce kids to tennis.
We took him along and met the most wonderful lady Mandy Morris (who we are still in touch with) and although he right handed with all the exercises she did with the group she discovered he was left handed?
When the session finished she came over and asked if he would stay for the advanced session, so of course we agreed. Ollie looked so silly as some of the boys were 5ft tall and he was tiny but he was smashing the ball around the court.
He attended a few more sessions and loved it so he joined a local tennis club and started taking lessons. He soon progressed onto playing club matches. At the age of 6 he started competing regularly around the country.
He was then selected to train with the Essex County team. When Oliver’s tennis academy moved to Brentwood Hard Tennis Club, he was intrigued by the Padel court and just like when he tried the LTA tennis, the opportunity came up for a free trial at Padel. He met the Go Padel team and he loved it! As soon as he got home he was asking when he could go back! As well as keeping up his tennis training, Oliver also plays Padel around 4 times a week with 1-1 sessions match plays and social sessions.
Image: Ollie Grantham in action at Go Padel Club.
One of Oliver’s goals was to go to a school that specialised in sports, particularly tennis. We applied for him to go to Newhall School, one of the most prestigious schools in Essex. He had to pass an academic exam as well as an interview. We also had to present them with all sorts of information about his achievements in both Tennis and Padel. As well as achieving an award in tennis, Oliver was awarded a scholarship in Padel! We believe this is the first of its kind and such fantastic news for the fastest growing sport in Europe.
Oliver hopes that maybe one day the school will build a court, so he will be able to introduce his peers to Padel and they can see the social benefits of playing the sport and how addictive it is. Oliver can’t wait to get back on court and continue to work on his fitness and is looking forward to a Summer of competitions in both tennis and Padel.
Ollies Coach Dan Troy added…
‘Padel is a thriving sport and the fastest growing in the world and I am fortunate enough to be part of the growing club GoPadel in Essex. We are extremely proud to be the largest academy in the UK with over 60 juniors on our books.
Ollie is an exciting young prospect and at only 10 years of age he is developing rapidly as a Padel player. Ollie has excelled quickly and has been promoted into our under 15s Academy and is thriving with the added competition and training.
As a coach I have found that Ollie has a drive and thirst for learning, which is rare and a great attribute for someone of his age. He is always first on and the last one off the court due to his love of playing. His competitiveness within himself, to not only improve but improve quickly, has helped him adapt to the game of Padel and compete against older players.
However it is his passion and desire to understand the tactics and intelligence needed for the game that has most impressed me. His willingness to listen and learn makes coaching him extremely rewarding and progressive, because of this I have no doubt that if Ollie stays committed to his learning and his competitive behaviour, he will be able to become one of the best players, not only at his age level but also in the country by the time he is 16.
Ollie has been a great addition to the club playing and winning junior competitions and also competing in men's tournaments. He is a pleasure to have around, always interacting and talking to all members that he meets and he has never been anything but polite, happy and friendly to all at GoPadel.’
Rich Hall Smith – CEO Go Padel Club & GO Padel Foundation CIC Added:
Fantastic story don’t you agree? This is one of the reasons we have set up the Go Padel Foundation…
It has been established to use the emotive power of Padel tennis to improve the health and wellbeing of individuals and to bring communities together.
The Foundation will work in partnership with other public, private and charitable organisations to deliver an inclusive * and accessible range of sporting opportunities that will encourage regular exercise and boost mental health for all.
In the first three years of its community engagement programme, the Foundation will address four key areas of activity – Health, Education, Social inclusion and Padel participation.
THE GO PADEL FOUNDATION IS A NOT FOR PROFIT SOCIAL ENTERPRISE.