NEW TEACHER: Brothers Ryan and Cooper Monaghan train with new East Lismore tennis coach Kelly Richards.
NEW TEACHER: Brothers Ryan and Cooper Monaghan train with new East Lismore tennis coach Kelly Richards. Mitchell Craig

Club nets new tennis coach

HARD-WORKING Kelly Richards will soon be the highest qualified female coach in the Northern Rivers, after receiving a women in sport scholarship from Tennis Australia.

Richards has been flat out on and off the court and has just taken on the head coaching role at the East Lismore Tennis Club.

The 37-year-old has lived and been an assistant coach at Casino for five years and will soon rank alongside the top male qualified coaches in the Northern Rivers.

She is doing a Club Professional coaching course which allows her access to better players and makes it easier to run a business.

"I started a nine-month course at Brisbane in March and I applied for the scholarship that only about 35 people in Australia received,” Richards said.

"It's helped pay off about half my course and it's allowed me to be mentored by a national academy coach up there.

"When I'm finished I'll be the highest qualified female coach in our area and the main thing is I really want to be a good ambassador and to promote our sport.

"I'm travelling to Brisbane every second week and doing practical work through a highly regarded coach that has a lot of good players in his academy.”

Richards has played tennis most of her life and has a background in childcare which has allowed her to work with young children on the court.

She hopes to build the junior base at East Lismore and also wants to keep teenage girls in the game.

"I was approached by the president here (Mick Oaten) and I'd love to get juniors back playing at East Lismore because it's a lovely venue here,” Richards said.

"Tennis Australia feel that a lot of girls are dropping out of the game at around 14 and 15 years of age.

"They're hoping if they get more female coaches it might help keep them around. I just want kids to love the game and have fun. I think some of them lose that when it becomes all about winning.”



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