Jared Connell has begun training to be the first Manitoban certified Level 4 tennis coach.

While most people spent the Thanksgiving weekend eating turkey and pumpkin pie, Jared Connell was in Montreal working on his craft.

Connell, Manitoba’s director of tennis development, was one of nine candidates from across the country that was selected by Tennis Canada to enroll in the Coach 4 program. It’s a two-year commitment where the practical coaching training is done by Tennis Canada and the theory side of things is taught by the Canadian Sport Institute. Those that complete the program will be become certified Level 4 coaches — a level that no tennis coach in Manitoba has reached before.

“Selfishly I wanted to do the Coach 4 for another chance for me to learn and hopefully improve and keep motivated in my coaching and evolve my coaching philosophy and coaching skills,” said Connell, a Winnipeg native with 25-years of coaching experience on his resume. “I have always been more ‘old school’, so with all the analytics and tools available now, I was motivated to become competent with Dartfish (a computer interface that is used to analyze player’s techniques), video analytics, and other tools. My other motivation was to better the players in Manitoba and make sure a player like Reece Carter is getting what she needs to continue her development as a National Team member.”

There are other certified Level 4 coaches in Canada, but this is a new installment of the program which will feature various re-groupings at the National Tennis Centres in Toronto and Montreal as well as the Canadian Sport Institute in Toronto and Calgary. There will also be some international trips as well. Connell hopes the lessons learned over the next two years will give him the tools to help tennis players all across the province reach their goals.

“My long-term goal in coaching and for Tennis Manitoba is quite simple,” said Connell, who oversees all areas of tennis development in Manitoba and is the Tennis Professionals Association course facilitator for the region. “It’s for me to look for ways to get better everyday and for the players that they find ways to get better everyday. Though it is pretty simple, it requires a lot of self-evaluation and questioning on my part and the players need to be willing to work hard and give their very best in any and all situations.”