Local Face: James Morgan
James moved to Wendover in April 2002 to take up the position of Head coach at Halton Tennis Centre alongside good friend and Director of Tennis – Mike James.
Born in Welwyn Garden in March 1976, James fell in love with tennis just before his 11th birthday after watching the year ending Davis Cup final featuring Sweden’s Stefan Edberg. Tennis kit and lessons followed, and James began spending many hours on his local courts at Bletchley Leisure Centre in Milton Keynes, where Alan Hutcherson, now a colleague at Halton, also played.
After 5 months of hard work and a lot of practice, James was invited to try out for a spot in county training — which took place at Halton Centre in what was back then, the only indoor dome. A move across the border saw James continue his tennis and education in Hertfordshire and after passing his Senior Performance Coach Award, James took up a post at Gosling Sports Park in Welwyn Garden City, where he met Mike. Mike had just returned from a position as national coach in Scotland, where he had been working with none other than Andy Murray! Together, Mike and James led the county performance programme there.
Before long, Mike mentioned that he was thinking of making the move to Halton Tennis Club, with the vision of making Halton one of Great Britain’s premier tennis clubs. James didn’t take much persuading to come along. His reply was, “If you’re going, I’m going!”
James has been living in Wendover and working at Halton for the last 17 years. He is happily married to Alison, and is a very proud dad of daughters Freya (9) and Jessica (turning 7 soon).
When he’s not on the court, James has developed a keen interest in trail running — taking advantage of all the local trails — and has now run four marathons and three ultra-marathons. Last year, he competed in the Race to the Stones — a 100km race over two days, starting in Lewknor and ending at the Avebury stone circle. He credits running coach and Halton personal trainer Helen Mulhall for turning him from a ‘joyous tourist’ to a half-decent runner over the last years. He’s also grateful to Matt Blackmore-Squires, another local face, for coaxing him off the road and onto the trails.
As a firm believer in the mental health benefits of physical activity, James is an advocate of daily exercise. He suggests that even ten minutes of ‘green exercise’ — taken in the great outdoors — can have an uplifting effect on mood and can help combat depression and fatigue.
Over the last few summers, James has enjoyed the opportunity to lead members of his church through a twelve-week programme of physical activity, including an experiential day at Green Park in Aston Clinton with instructors Morgan, Harry and the team. James says, “A real highlight for me is to see a group of people break through fear, uncertainty and doubt, and move themselves outside their comfort zone in an environment of teamwork, challenge, and support. We have led a number of these days over the years with businesses and charities, too, through our work at Halton Tennis Centre. Our Eupsychia — ‘good mind’ — days help us to learn to ‘play to win’ and to choose growth and learning over fear in work and life.”
James’s daily work is as programme manager of Halton Tennis Centre’s coaching team Everyball Tennis. For James, and all the coaches, Everyball is a philosophy that extends way beyond the courts: “If you are an Everyball player, you are committed not only to answering the questions that each ball may ask, but also the questions that each day may ask! We seek to educate, motivate and inspire through our programmes that cater for everyone from the ‘cradle to the tour’ with the motto ‘each different, each talented, all valued.’”
The Summer Camp programme is back this year, with daily activities for tots (2.5-4), minis (4-7), juniors (7-17) and this year — for adults too. Everyball is also partnering with OTEC Bikes to offer brand new mountain bike camps this summer. All the details about Everyball and the summer camps can be found at everyball.uk or by emailing James at firstname.lastname@example.org
Everyball: Reflections, anecdotes and observations from a life in tennis aimed to tool you up for the game of life is available to buy from Amazon.