Lionel Cox and County Cup

Best of luck to all Everyball players competing over the weekend!  Fight for everyball!

Everyball is our coaching ethos at Halton UK. In Everyball author Mike James brings alive his reflections, anecdotes and observations from a life in tennis aimed to tool you up for the game of life! It's no doubt a book for the tennis coach, parent, player and enthusiast, all of which Mike is, but also for anyone interested in learning, growing and thriving in the bigger game we all have no choice but to play.Buy the book.

Embody a breakthrough today!

AJ Neuharth-Keusch writes in USA TODAY:

Earlier this week, Time magazine named (Stephen) Currry one of their 100 Most Influential People, further solidifying the notion that he's more than just a basketball player, and that his impact - both on and off the court - is far-reaching.

Full article here

What does it take to be given a spot on this list?  Time Editor Nancy Gibbs explains.  'One way or another they embody a breakthrough: they broke the rules, broke the record, broke the silence, broke the boundaries to reveal what we're capable of.  They are seekers, with a fearless willingness to be surprised by what they find.'

Embody a breakthrough today.

Break the rules.

Break the records.

Break the silence.

Break the boundaries.

Be a seeker with a fearless willingness to be surprised by what you find.

Busy weekend ahead for Halton Aegon Teams - come and support if you can!

Hi all,

This is a busy weekend for our Aegon teams and a great opportunity to drop into the club and see some great action!


Premier junior teams playing on Saturday 23rd (today!!)

Home matches

12&U boys playing West Hants  warming up 2.00 starting 2.30 (Captain Roy Knight)

Miles Groom, Jack Shawyer ,Calum Fairey,Thomas Creighton


18&U girls playing Oxstalls warming up 2.00 starting at 2.30  (Captain Jemima)

Holly Hutchinson, Lauren Armstrong, Izzy Marshall, Amelia Barton


Away matches

Our 18&U boys are travelling to Exeter (Captain Alan Bevan)

Jake Williams, Oscar Glenister, Seb Harris, Joel Good.


We also have 5 Aegon county junior teams playing, two of which are at home in the afternoon


National Open matches on Sunday 24th 

Both teams at home 

Men playing Virgin Active Dorset , 11.30 warm up, start 12 noon on outdoor clay

Alan Bevan, Cameron Malik, Roy Knight, Alex Barnes


Ladies playing University of Bath  12.30 warm up, start 1pm

Holly Hutchinson, Julia Bone, Lereesa Easterbrook, Izzy Marshall


We also have 3 Aegon county junior teams playing, one of which is a home match in the afternoon.  

Best of luck all - fight for 'everyball'!!!

Final blog from Fila English Senior Indoor Champs at Gosling

So to the final and it was no way to win my first event on the ITF Seniors Tour!

A topsy turvy tight first set which Jacques won 6-3.  Second game of the second set he pulled up off a return with a calf tear and that was that.  After a fantastic week it was of course a let-down and I would have preferred to fight on to take it to a third set but these things happen!

A few reminders/learning from the week.  Great to experience once again what our young players are going through week on week!

1.  All the words of encouragement (text and social media) I received through the week were so uplifting and therefore a strong reminder for us as coaches that it makes such a difference.

2.  The emotional energy expended in playing a tournament should not be underestimated and rest/recovery so important - not just physical.

3.  Routine - the confidence I gained through the week by having a daily pre and post match routine was immense.  

4.  Linked to number 3, but little details make a huge difference.  Hydration and when to eat were key.  Having a Mars Bar in my bag to give me a short term boost at end of my semi saved me.  Warm-up and cool down so important to how my body felt at tail end of event.  All equipment ready and packed in easy reach for when I needed it.

5.  Great to feel those nerves and tension again as a competitor!  Shows I was doing something that 'mattered' and I chose to view them as 'performance excitement' rather than debilitating nerves.

6.  None of my matches went: good, very good, great, shake hands.   There were ups and downs, peaks and troughs, tough calls, lucky shots that turned momentum/sets.  My 'chimp' was never far away, but I worked hard mentally to catch any negative thoughts and re-frame them as quickly as possible into something more positive/controllable.

7.  Winning the event was a 'happy coincidence' of following a process, refusing to consider 'outcomes' for more than a fleeting minute, and 'going as far as I could using all I've got.'  A second 'happy coincidence' will be a over 45s senior world ranking of around 350!

8. Finally, I have given my body some serious care since a bad episode with my back last autumn and IT MAKES A DIFFERENCE.  Key is having the discipline to follow a simple daily routine which took place 6.30-7.00am each day.  Do what works for you but make in consistent, easy to follow, and commit!  5 singles matches played and feeling more mentally drained than physically.

Once again, thanks for the support as I played this event and I look forward to another one when time permits! 

Fila English Senior Indoor Champs - today's update..

Those of you on twitter would have seen the result today.  A tough, tough match against 4th seed Adam Boucher which I came through 6-4 6-2 in over 2 hours so the scoreline does not reflect the battle that took place!  Although we had an 11.30 am start time, we didn't get on court until gone 1 so it was a challenge to stay mentally and physically ready to go at a moment's notice. Thanks Katy Dunne for a great hit though!

Adam had a strong first serve and moved the ball around well off his one-handed backhand and was also in great shape and covered a lot of court.   His forehand was less consistent but dangerous. He started out with very positive attacking tennis hitting several outright winners and before I knew it I was two games down and was yet to win a point!  I had the feeling I might be on the end of a bit of a beating and had to work hard emotionally to focus on one point at a time. A scrappy third game where I just dug in and made some balls got me on the scoreboard and then I managed to break to get even at 2-2.  After getting a feel of the match and beginning to exploit my opponent's slightly weaker forehand I went ahead 5-3 only to play a sloppy game to lose my advantage.  I stuck in there though at 4-5 and Adam missed a second serve just long at 30-40 to give me the set.

In the second set I began to be a little more aggressive but Adam redoubled his efforts and came back with some great tennis and at 2-2 30-40 I was in trouble as his confidence was visibly growing as he sensed a third set.  It was a tricky moment but I put in a decent first serve out wide to his backhand and closed in with a forehand volley winner and then snuck the next two points to go up 3-2.

A long game at 2-3 Adam serving gave me the break having been 0-40 down and with that my opponent's resolve drained and I pressed on for home winning the last 8 points on the trot.  Sorry Dom and Gemma, but that Mars Bar did the trick in middle of the second set!! (The short term energy buzz I needed!)

Nice to share a cuppa and a chat with Adam afterwards - he lives out in Italy and his club has some lovely clay courts we at Everyball could visit sometime!

Tomorrow is the final at 9.30 am against the very strong second seed Jacques Kilian (RSA). A tall mountain to climb me thinks!  Still, will prepare as I've done all week and be ready. Body is holding up ok and have refuelled well.

Anyway, thanks so much for all the support so far and will touch base again tomorrow after the final.


Fila English Senior Indoor Championships - the story so far!

A few weeks ago I decided to dip my toe back into the competitive arena as a player by entering the Fila English Senior Indoor Championships (An ITF Grade 3 'Seniors event' for Over 35s and older) held by one of our T5 partner centres at Gosling Tennis Centre.  We are hoping to host such an event at Halton next summer, and no better way to really understand the mechanics of it than to play it!

It's been nice to have a focus, something to prepare (more mentally and physically) for and look forward to.  Having suffered quite a serious break-down with my back last autumn I have worked hard to build up strength in the pool and on the living-room floor with a pilates routine each morning and I have been interested to see how it would respond.  

The event has been superbly run by tournament director Marcus Stapleton, Tennis Director Matt Willcocks and referee team of Ray and Kath Lovell.  With a Wildcard into the event duly secured here's a quick summary so far in the Mens Over 45 event.

Round 1: 6-2 6-0 win over Roy Beniston (GBR). Great to feel those pre-match nerves once again, that performance excitement from doing something that 'matters'.  Early morning core session to ensure back was ready, arrived early, signed in and found a hit.  Performance was ok and opponent was a great guy who has subsequently been so encouraging and watched my next matches as I have progressed through the event.  Thanks Roy!

Round 2: A 6-1 6-2 win over top seed and world ranked number 78 Edward Oakenfull (GBR). Again, great preparation with my early morning routine, early arrival and hit.  The confidence gained by a simple but adhered to routine is a great reminder to keep it going as long as I'm in the event.  Ed had left Derby early in the morning and after what must have been close to a 3 hour journey arrived just before our match time of 9.00 am.  Rushing him a little in the warm-up to deny him too much time to get used to balls, lights and surface I played a solid match, serving well and keeping the ball low to prevent him from using his heavy topspin forehand.  

Quarter-finals: 6-3 6-1 win over 4th seed Craig Arbuckle (NZL).  Again, good routine to my preparation and had a long chat with Craig before the match.  He's a chef down in Plymouth, tennis being his escape from the busyness of work and family.  He's played a few ITF Seniors events and is now ranked 364 in the world.  He's a good mover, with solid all-round game.  I started the match really tight and couldn't find the nice serving rhythm of my first two matches or any flow to my groundstrokes, but I dug out the first set (with a Katy Dunne watching on which was a bit of a weird role reversal!) and began to relax a little more in the second, hitting some great returns and staying solid at net.  A really good cool down, stretch and foam roller afterwards and body is feeling pretty good this morning!!

Today: Semi-finals against 4th seed Adam Boucher (GBR), world ranking 230.  Haven't managed to scout or find out much about him so it will be a suck and see job.  For sure though, I'll be living out our Halton UK definition of winning by 'identifying, gathering and mobilising all my resources to go as far as I can.'  In other words, whatever resources I'm holding in my hand today I'm going to sweat them as far as they'll go.  The happy coincidence of doing this hopefully will be a 'win' in the traditional sense, but just looking forward to competing for a place in the final.  Added bonus of a warm-up hit with Katy which I'm looking forward to!

I'll report in later.

Have a great day everybody and looking forward to seeing RAF men later this afternoon in preparation for their Inter-Services event being held at Halton this weekend against the Army and Navy.

All the best,


The Azarenka player development model

Not blessed with resources (financial and otherwise) as a youngster Azarenka is reported to have said: 'Just get me onto a tennis court and I'll get better.'

At Everyball our improvement is not conditional on who is down the other end.  In fact, we don't even need some one the other end!  Our improvement in not conditional on how good the balls are.  Our improvement is not conditional on our racket, strings, equipment or what court we play on.

Our improvement is conditional on our attitude to learning, our state of mind and our absolute commitment to treat everyball as a gift to explore our 'becoming' selves.

One more event to go......would love to have your support!

Dear Friends of Everyball,

If you're getting sick of hearing about this book, just imagine my poor wife and boys!!


The launch of my new book Everyball - Reflections, anecdotes and observations from a life in tennis aimed to tool you up for the game of life! has gone really well over the last few days and there is one more event to go tomorrow evening 8-9pm at Halton (see details below) and I'd be delighted in your company.

Thanks so much and do let me know if you can make it via email ( or sign up on the link below.

Many thanks indeed,


Our Curious Cow talks at CHILDS (Chiltern Institute of Learning, Development and sport) are morning and evening meetings designed to spread ideas and spark curiosity within and beyond our community.

Join Mike James, founder of Everyball Tennis and author of the book 'Everyball', on 11 April at 7.30pm for our next Curious Cow Talk.

In this particular talk, Mike will be introducing his book, sharing some his experience in writing it and exploring a number of ideas around the philosophy and ethos of everyball and how it can be practically applied to everyday life!

There will be an opportunity to purchase a signed copy of the book and to meet for a relaxed evening with nibbles and drinks in our beautiful conference room at Halton, UK.

7.30-8.00 pm Welcome, Drinks/nibbles
8.00-9.00 pm Talk and signing