–By Ottawa Sportspage, for Tennis For Life Ottawa
If you’ve ever set foot in a tennis club in the nation’s capital, chances are you’ve crossed paths with Nick Patterson – the man who embodies the name of his tennis teaching service, Tennis for Life Ottawa.
After 38 years of teaching the sport to players young and old, Patterson is still finding new ways to expand the city’s tennis scene.
Patterson became a certified tennis instructor when he was 17 to pay for his studies at Dalhousie University, where he also played varsity hockey.
Once a junior city champion in doubles, the 55-year-old is now the tennis director at Rideau Sports Centre, a year-round instructor at the Carleton Tennis Centre, a tennis ambassador for Sporting Life, and a volunteer for countless more local tennis initiatives and organization. That’s all on top of running his own tennis teaching and management services.
“I live and breathe tennis,” smiles Patterson, well-recognized for his teenager-like energy levels and enthusiasm. “I just feel very fortunate to be involved in such a great sport.”
Whether it’s a 5-year-old child picking up a racket for the first time, a 16-year-old hoping to earn a tennis scholarship, or a 75-year-old looking to take up the sport, Patterson caters his services to any age, ability and goal.
Private, semi-private and group lessons, after-school and junior programs, tournaments, round robins, tennis camps or stroke of the week classes are examples of formats offered, with court bookings possible during prime hours.
Tennis For Life Ottawa operates at many locations across the city, including Carleton, Rideau, Valleystream, Craig Henry, and Ottawa Tennis and Lawn Bowling Club.
Growing sport in Ottawa & Canada
In the last 5 years, Patterson has noticed an explosion of interest in his instruction services and the sport in general. He credits this trend to the emergence of players like Milos Raonic and Ottawa’s Gabriela Dabrowski for showing Canada’s youth the heights that can be achieved in the sport.
“They see Canadians doing well in the sport and it really captures their imagination,” highlights Patterson, who was recently sought out to introduce the sport to new Canadians through the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board.
Patterson feels “very honoured” to have Tennis For Life Ottawa selected as the OCDSB’s exclusive tennis school for international students. He’s spent tons of time teaching the sport in school gyms across the city; in a single year, he introduced 5,000 kids to tennis at 30 different institutions in the free Tennis in Schools program.
Tennis For Life’s after-school programs also kick off after Labour Day, where Patterson will teach kids the basics, and work to connect them with nearby clubs.
Tennis is increasingly becoming the sport of choice for many families, Patterson notes.
“Parents have told me that they love the sport because it teaches their kids resiliency, to be out there on their own in a one-on-one challenge where, when you’re losing, you have to fight back and never give up,” he indicates, adding that safety and low cost are other attractions.
But for Patterson, it’s the community and the social aspect of tennis that trumps all else. Once he’s done instructing for the day, he’ll still head over to one of the clubs he’s involved with to meet with friends and play some matches.
“I have a huge number of friendships from the tennis community going way back,” Patterson underlines. “It’s a pretty remarkable sport with the lifelong friendships you make.”
Visit TennisForLifeOttawa.com for more information on Patterson’s tennis teaching and managing services.