Award-winning tennis coach Danny Sousa limbers up for another lesson at the picturesque Pacific Bay courts.
Award-winning tennis coach Danny Sousa limbers up for another lesson at the picturesque Pacific Bay courts. Bruce Thomas

Coach of the Year award a shock

A NEW Level Tennis Academy coach Danny Sousa has been named 2011 Lower North East Region Coach of the Year.

“The way it happened was just the weirdest thing,” he said.

“I attended the awards with some of the students and was looking at the trophy, thinking I’d like to win it some day, when my name was read out.

“There have been awards before from all over the place but this was the first local one and a real buzz.”

Now based at Pacific Bay, Sousa has been coaching on the Coffs Coast for 16 of the past 23 years and became the first local selected for the Tennis Australia High Performance course, which will be completed soon.

He currently works with three juniors ranked in the top five in Australia – William Berrigan, Harrison Lombe and Maddie Antoun – and world-ranked junior Rhys Becarris.

Sousa also took local player Chanel Cunningham from a beginner to a world ranking, has produced dozens of regional champions, and many former students have gone on to have successful coaching careers themselves.

While happy to have earned the respect and recognition of his peers, he said he had different motives for going to work every day.

“It’s not for awards that I do what I do and while coaching top players challenges my knowledge and forces me to keep learning, it’s not what keeps me motivated,” he said.

“I love helping all players achieve their potential.

“For some players that is a world ranking, for others it may just be to be competitive at a local level. Everyone can achieve more than they think they can.

“Tennis is a great game, where you can have fun, get fit and learn a lot about yourself. I don’t think I will ever retire, as I love tennis.”



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