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From lessons to coaching: Teen tennis whiz getting attention on the courts

Brandon Trider is tearing it up on the tennis courts. The 16-year-old recently competed in the Atlantic Championships and is sharing his skills by coaching younger players.
Brandon Trider is tearing it up on the tennis courts. The 16-year-old recently competed in the Atlantic Championships and is sharing his skills by coaching younger players. - Contributed
WINDSOR, N.S. —

ANITA FLOWERS

Sixteen-year-old Brandon Trider is getting noticed on the tennis courts of Nova Scotia.

Trider, who will enter Grade 11 at Avon View High School this fall, qualified to compete in the Atlantic Championships held this summer in Truro. It’s just his latest achievement on the courts - and probably not his last.

His list of wins includes the Valley Junior Open in 2017 and 2019, as well as the Halifax Open in 2018 and doubles at the Waegwoltic Junior 4 Star in 2019.

And now he is adding coaching to the list.

Trider began playing tennis at age six.

“I was just looking for a sport to do in the summer and my parents thought of tennis, so I started playing at Gordon Hughes Tennis Club in Windsor,” he says. “My coaches were Joel Young and Jeremy Parker. I don’t remember whether I was any good or not.”

Trider tried several sports before settling on tennis. At age eight, he gave up hockey and tried Tae Kwon Do and curling. The next winter, he picked up his racket again.

“Daniel Nester Tennis Centre in Bedford had just opened, and so I tried lessons there with a friend. My coach was Colin Latchford and I did tennis there twice a week or so for three or four years.”

Trider began competing in junior tournaments and winning frequently. In 2016, he started to attract attention.

“I was playing in a tournament (NS Open) and the instructors at Headstart approached my parents and said they would be interested in having me come play at Headstart Tennis Academy.”

This summer, Trider qualified for the Atlantic Championships. Players are selected based on the Rogers rankings and includes one qualifier.

“I won the NS qualifying tournament and got that qualifying spot. The lessons paid off, I guess,” he kidded.

“In the first round, I won my match in straight sets against Jeff Bodner from New Brunswick. I’d never played him before. In the quarter-finals, I played the second seed, Luke Conlon, from Halifax. It was a really tight match with him and went three sets, but I lost.”

He had another chance, though.

“It’s double knockout, so I went into the loser’s brackets, where I played a good friend of mine from Halifax, Alex Comeau. We played at night and the lighting was really bad. It was a tight match again, but I lost it,” said Trider.

Last year, Trider was surprised to find himself being offered a position as a tennis instructor, becoming one of the youngest instructors at the Gordon Hughes Tennis Club. 

“I was planning to continue scooping ice cream at a farm market near Falmouth for the summer, but one of the coaches at Gordon Hughes was retiring. I had an interview and got the job,” he said. “I coached there last summer as an assistant, and this summer, I’m coaching there again. I like being able to pass on the fun and the knowledge of tennis.”

Trider enjoys the mental game and the precision needed for tennis.

“It’s an individual sport, so you can control every aspect of it. You don’t rely on teammates,” he said. “In tight matches, it doesn’t always matter who’s the better player; it’s who is more mentally strong. I like that you need a lot of skill and precision to play the game. You can’t just pick up a tennis racket and win.”

Trider feels that being left-handed gives him a bit of an edge.

“That’s an advantage,” he says. “A lot of players train to play against right-handed players and so you can use different spins into their weaker side if you’re a lefty.”

Trider also plays on the school table tennis team and enjoys golfing. He plans to continue competing and possibly play on a tennis team at university.

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