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Our 2023 Q4 Coach of the Quarter is Tom Burn! We visited Tom during a performance squad session and discussed his passion for development, inspirational figures in his life and what he finds most rewarding about being a coach. You can get in touch with Tom by clicking the icons below.

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QUESTION: When and why did you decide on pursuing a career in coaching?

ANSWER: In 2019 after my first meeting with the principle of Ewell Castle, Silas Edmunds. I felt I had met someone that shared similar values about how pursuing performance should be viewed. Before this I had coached for 15+ years in roles that were mainly jobs rather than careers.

"Development, Development, Development"

QUESTION: Have there been any inspirational figures that have helped you in your coaching journey?

ANSWER: There have been three that really stand out.

  • John Elbourne (1944-2022) C.E.O Australia Legal and General Pensions

  •  Silas Edmunds, Principle of Ewell Castle School

  •  Nick Saviano, "World Touring Coach of the Year" (Twice)


All individuals with very different personalities that all possess the ability to give instantaneous logical advice about a scenario or a problem; something I try my best to implement when coaching


QUESTION: What have you found to be the biggest difference with coaching in an education environment?

ANSWER: At Ewell Castle, the players get to train throughout the day based around the academic timetable. They also receive educational support from professional teaching staff which is crucial. Outside this model, time for training often must be found in the evenings or weekends which can be a extra drain on the heavy physical and mental demands for the players and their education can suffer. It is more of a complete package.

QUESTION: What has been your proudest moment as a coach so far and why?

ANSWER: Honestly, seeing my players apply a no excuse mindset; we train outdoors all year round in all the elements and the players develop another level of resilience. The coach has to bring the energy and set the tone but watching the Ewell Castle Scholars give their best in conditions that many people shy away from, gives me a real sense of pride as a coach.


QUESTION: What are examples of non-negotiable behaviours you expect from the players that you teach?

ANSWER: I try not to have to much of a fixed mindset as I work in a sport with alot of variables and we are always negotiating with change and different circumstances, however;

  • During a squad based scenario, if a player's physical or mental effort drops below a level that then effects other players in the squad from pursuing the desired task hand, then it's time for the coach to have a word.

  • Players regularly turning up late for sessions with no valid or reasonable excuse.

"There is too much emphasis placed on an outcome or scoreline at a young age"

QUESTION: How has your coaching style developed over the years?

ANSWER: Development, Development, Development. There is too much emphasis placed on a outcome or scoreline at a young age, with players as young as 10 or 11 having rankings as their primary measurement tool to judge their current ability.


Learn it- Train it- Test it. I try to give my players Development targets; technical or tactical during live-match 'play' scenarios, rather than be 'outcome' focused by the scoreline result. In my opinion, until there may be a financial outcome at the end of the result, (seniors), all matches should have the primary objective of development and learning in mind.


QUESTION: How would you like to develop as a coach? Are there any targets in your career? Perhaps coaching a professional player or working in the states?

ANSWER: Who knows what the future brings. I'm in the exact place that I would like to think my skill set as a coach is best suited. If an ex-Ewell Castle Scholar came back one day and said " Tom, the lessons I learnt during my time at Ewell Castle have set me up to get to the place I wanted to be at today" then thats enough for me.

QUESTION: What would be your message to any coach reading this who would like to level up their coaching?


  • To be selective on the advice others give towards your individual development. We live in an era where so many people give so many opinions, that it seems to silence or dilute the importance of the actual expert's opinion.

  • Don't be generic in your coaching; there's no one single route to becoming a great tennis player and the same applies to coaching. One style does not fit all! 

  • Be passionate about your delivery and maintain empathy as a priority towards your players. None of our players are intentionally trying to miss, it's our job to help them navigate their way through the challenge of "pursuing performance in a place where perfection rarely exists "; In what I believe to be the toughest sport in the world.

By Surrey Tennis

If you would like to nominate a coach to be Coach of the Quarter then click the button below and fill out an application form. Coaches must be working within Surrey.

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