By Ottawa Sportspage, For Tennis For Life Ottawa
One of the sport’s longest tenured instructors and a familiar face in Ottawa’s tennis community is set to mirror the new Rideau Sports Centre’s expansion beyond tennis.
A staple on the local courts for 35+ years, Nick Patterson is set to lead youth multi-sport programming at the enhanced facility on the Rideau River.
That’s on top of teaching tennis 7 days a week. He expects to spend upwards of 30 hours a week working with players on their games.
“I really enjoy it,” Patterson underlines. “People ask me if I find it difficult being out on the court for 6, 7, or 8 hours… Ironically, I’ll spend 6 hours on a court and then go hang out and play tennis with friends after I’ve been on the court for that long.”
Three years ago, Patterson saw an explosion of tennis interest in Ottawa, which brought a surge of new students to his school for the sport, Tennis For Life Ottawa. He saw his time dedicated to tennis grow to match that of his other off-the-court career in the tech sector.
“I like the juxtaposition,” Patterson says of his two worlds. “I’m really fortunate that I’ve found something I really enjoy.”
An instructor for students from age 4-80, Patterson now coaches as many adults as minors. He says it’s a joy to teach every player.
Different players learn in different ways, however, which is why Patterson runs private, semi-private or open-concept round-robin training sessions with his players. He’s also certified to deliver cardio tennis classes, which combines aerobics with a tennis lesson.
Patterson won’t be alone in passing his passion on to others this winter. His team of instructors include former NCAA tennis players John Payette and Len Gyetko. Elite athletes from other sport backgrounds will also be joining Patterson as he introduces multi-sport instruction at the Rideau Sports Centre.
“I’m a sports nut,” highlights the former Dalhousie University varsity hockey player. “I’m looking forward to branching out, with tennis still being my focus.”
Camps at the Rideau Sports Centre multi-sport dome featuring basketball, soccer and volleyball, and sports conditioning, will be next up for Patterson to tackle, building upon the courses he already teaches in tennis and pickleball, as well as a Little Aces program for children aged 5-14 at Rideau. Again matching the Rideau Tennis Club’s club transformation into the Rideau Sports Centre, Tennis For Life Ottawa has now added a Sports For Life Ottawa division.
Patterson will continue to be a mainstay at other local clubs on top of the Rideau. He’ll spend plenty of time further down the Rideau River at the Carleton Tennis Centre, where he’ll be starting the Little Aces program for entry-level tennis players aged 6-8.
Whether it be at Valleystream Tennis Club, Craig Henry Tennis Club, the Ottawa Tennis and Lawn Bowling Club, Britannia Tennis Club, or at local schools, Patterson is always keen to spread his love for tennis – an inexpensive sport that can be practiced on public courts and at low-cost community clubs, and a highly social activity that naturally produces lasting friendships.
“It’s really enjoyable,” notes the high-energy instructor. “When you’re teaching someone a new skill that they’re taking time out of their life to learn, to see them succeed, and to give them confidence in something that’s healthy and also helps them excel in their academic life or work life, it’s just great.”