‘I thought I would never be able to walk and play tennis again’ Michael Cartmell in an Exclusive interview with UCLAN Live

Michael Cartmell is a 25-year-old professional tennis coach from Preston. He had a very successful career at county level and now is working as a coach, looking to bring through future British tennis stars.

A sporty and healthy young lad Michael enjoyed playing tennis and football at the weekends however more than ten years ago Michael sustained a serious head injury. “I was playing football when I was 16 and I hit my head with another lad, which burst a blood vessel in my temple.

“I was in a coma for three months. I got out hospital at Christmas eve 2008, Doctors said I wouldn’t be able to walk again. However, I proved them wrong”.

At young age Michael’s father was the one who got him involved with tennis. “I have been playing tennis since I was 8 years old, my dad was the one that got me involved with tennis, he enjoyed playing with me as kid and got me join the local tennis club.

“I started training once a week for a couple of years, then my coach said I had a talent and put me forward to county level where I played for Lancashire for three years “.

After a few years of representing Lancashire, Michael relocated. “When I was 11, we moved to a new house, so I went on to play for Cumbria for another for another four years”.

There many aspects of tennis that Michael enjoys especially the type if matches that he likes to play in “I used to play a lot of football, but football is more of a different mindset with you have to think of it more, I like having to make my own decision.

“I prefer playing singles I don’t like relying on other people in football you have to rely on other people in singles I like having my own style of play, if you hit the shot out it’s your fault”.

For many of us we have all got sporting hero or someone who has inspired us to want to get Involved in something, as younger boy Michael’s hero was former British Tennis number one Tim Henman, “Henman was my hero I got to see him at a tennis open day in Ormskirk a few years ago where he was opening a new tennis centre, I managed to get a lot of autographs from him and I was star struck from day one”  Michael said.

For many University is great way of meeting new friends through social clubs and societies, however for Michael Edge hill university didn’t a tennis social society. “Being tennis captain at university was quite hard to start off with because there was no tennis team, so I had to start it all up myself.

“I did the freshers fair which was quite stressful because I was on my own and didn’t have anyone to help me, as I was in my first year of university and didn’t know anyone, I managed to get 8 people signed up.

“But then about 25 people turned up to the training session the following week, which was quite impressive, considering we only had one indoor court”.

After a year of captaining Edge Hill University tennis team things started to improve for Michael “Second year got better, as we were able to get some more tennis courts at Ormskirk tennis club, and in my third year we were able to create a lady’s team”.

In tennis there are a range of different levels that someone can play at, from amateur to ATP in Michael’s case” I played for Lancashire and Cumbria at county level, then I had a head injury at 16 years old, so I had to learn everything all over again and how to play tennis so was really hard work.

“I won the Rippon open which over 120 people entered, and I also won the Kendall open. When it got to county level it got hard because I had my GCSE at the same time so had to prioritise myself, my mum and dad wanted me to focus on my education rather than tennis”.

Whilst doing his degree Michael was also doing his training to become a professional tennis coach, “The university paid for my level 1 and 2 coaching, which was really good and then I did my level 3 two years ago at Bolton arena, which I found really hard as I had to plan my sessions and also having to coupe with university assignments at the same time”.

“I mainly got into coaching because my former coach said I was quite good with giving instructions, some people are really good at playing but can’t see or say what people are doing wrong them themselves they can hit a great forehand”, Michael said about what made him get into coaching.

After completing his degree and coaching course, Michael travelled to America and spent four months coaching and noticed a difference, “ I noticed a huge difference with the kids over there tend to listen a lot more, whereas the children in England have to be sometimes motivated a bit more to want to get in involved.

“It has not helped as well with Xbox games, which is not doing tennis or any sport that good, parents don’t want to pay for the actual coaching anymore they would just rather have kids stay indoors”.

Andy Murray British tennis number one in recent months has criticised Lawn Tennis association on failing to build on his and Davis cup winning teams’ success, Michaels thoughts on this were “the LTA are really trying to push things a lot more.

“I know they sometimes fund the wrong programs rather than grassroots; it’s just getting that boundary; we need to support the grassroots as well”.

After many people finish their sporting carers they look to turn to coaching as way of still being involved a sport they love Michael’s for people looking to get into coaching was “I would say make sure you plan your sessions, if a lot of people turn up to the session you got to have things to do on the side.

“Because if you have 2 courts and you have 15 people turn up, they won’t come back the following week because they have been stood around doing nothing and will lose interest.

“You also have to other lots of different services like tournaments, you have to reach out to more people because it is quite hard doing it on your own,

“Because if you can’t coach for session or if you were ill for 2 or 3 weeks the sessions got to pot, so need someone there as a backup”.