***Eric was a provincial coach for Quebec at the recent ACE Cup in Burlington. He started playing tennis at the age of 16, went on to play in college at the University of Wisconsin Stout. A level 3 Tennis Canada coach, he been developing players since 1990. He has coached at the top three Qubec tennis schools: Academie de Tennis Jacques Herisset in Quebec City, Academie Menard Girardin in Montreal and now the Academie de tennis Momentum in Repentigny.***
ONcourt: What caused you to suddenly shift your coaching emphasis from HP to progressive tennis?
Eric Giguere: I stopped coaching for 6 years when my wife became pregnant with my second child. I took a 6 year break and found out that more than anything I was a coach. So I decided to come back to tennis. I wanted to work with players who had dreams, passion and enthusiasm. I found that I was getting that with the younger kids who were more committed and willing to learn. I also wanted to make a difference in how the kids were started, especially from a technical/tactical standpoint, so that they could really have a chance to make it if they had the required profile.
ONcourt: Do you see a big difference in the level of play of the U12 players now compared to previously?
Eric Giguere: I find that the level of the under 12 today is better that what I have seen in the past. Mostly I find that their strokes are more mature and they are tactically more advanced. I find them more intuitive on the court and with more offensive intents.
ONcourt: Academie Momentum has always had great national level juniors. What is the key to their success?
Eric Giguere: Coaching team is the success of Repentigny. Stability, unity and mutual values are what lies behind our coaching staff. We feel that if we find someone with our values and ethics we will hire him. We have just hired a coach from France, who played at a professional level. He brings to the academy and the kids an experience to help them develop and improve. Experience and undying passion is also part of us. Our team of coaches has developed national champions over the last 20 years.
ONcourt: If you could do one initiative to help Canadian junior development what would it be?
Eric Giguere: This is difficult to answer. I don’t think I have something special to offer but I will say that I’m willing to offer my time to anyone who feels that my experience can provide something positive to them. I do believe that we need to improve our tournament structure but with the initiatives that Tennis Canada has made in the progressive area, we are on the right track.