ALL good things must come to an end and it is time for Game4Padel to say ‘Adios!’ to one of our most popular coaches.
When he took over at our Edinburgh facility, Thistle Padel Club, in January 2022, Alejandro De La Caba had big footsteps to follow after succeeding Jorge Martinez as head coach.
Yet now as the hombre from San Sebastian gets set to return to his sun-kissed homeland, Alejandro has overseen an incredible rate of growth with registration at Thistle breaking the 1000 players mark while at our flagship Edinburgh Park facility we have now hit the 500 players mark.
Reflecting on all of this, Alejandro revealed his pride at a job well done: “So when I took over padel was in its first stage in the UK and when someone asked me what padel was I always had to explain! Now that is not so much the case.
“I would say we are still in the first phase for padel, as it’s not like Spain where they have more padel players than tennis players, but for sure the momentum padel has in the UK is growing every day.
“Really my first goal was to try and get as many people playing padel as possible and not just so they would play padel a couple of times a week but to make it a life experience. What I wanted was that when they were working in their office job and were stressed, all they wanted to do was get out on to the padel court. This is what I hope I have achieved with many of the people who now play at Thistle and Edinburgh Park.
“We now have players coming from all over to Thistle for coaching and we have registered more than 1200 players. When I took over at the beginning and we changed our booking platform from ClubSpark to MATCHi, we had just under 700 players, so I am really pleased with how numbers have grown at Thistle. But also at Edinburgh Park, which just opened in October, we have over 500 players registered now which is also a fine achievement.”
Yet it has not only been in growing participation levels at our Edinburgh facilities which Alejandro has excelled as he revealed: “One of my biggest achievements was that in the last LTA National League competition the two teams in the final, Thistle and Edinburgh Sports Club, had players on both teams who had been coached by me. That is something that makes me so happy, as to see that improvement as a coach, well there is nothing better. But also as a Game4Padel coach, it is great that people from Edinburgh Sports Club came to be coached by me.”
Alejandro has also benefited from our collaboration with the world-leading Padel MBA coach education platform and he was keen to extol its virtues: “For me it was really important to complete the Padel MBA CPC (Certified Padel Coach) course to gain tactical knowledge. I was comfortable coaching intermediate players but it was how Padel MBA produced the lesson and how they motivated players and made the lessons so enjoyable which really struck me,” said Alejandro.
He continued: “So these were some great skills which I picked up on the Padel MBA course and of course so much more, but the instructors just made it really attractive – there is so much involvement and they are looking for feedback all the time with the students on the court so the level of interaction is very good. Really I would recommend it to anyone who wishes to coach padel.”
Before he returns to his beautiful home city, which nestles in the Bay of Biscay within the picturesque Basque Country, Alejandro has one final goal to achieve. For our Señor from San Sebastian will be competing in his final event on the Game4Padel Tour LTA Padel Regional Men’s Grade 3 at Edinburgh Park on the weekend of July 8/9 and he is determined to go out with a ‘W’.
The Game4Padel Thistle head coach said: “The G4P Tournament will be my last in Scotland and I am hoping to play in this with Antonio Fernandez who has been my partner for the last two years. We are always laughing that we are the ‘kings of the consolations’ as I’ve won four of them in the last year or so, although my best results in an LTA tournament was a final at Grade 2 level while I’ve also made two Grade 3 finals but I don’t have that win – yet!”
Despite his near misses, Alejandro has no doubt, with people travelling from as far afield as Aberdeen, about the unique benefit the Game4Padel Tour Edinburgh events are providing for ‘padelers’ all over Scotland.
He said: “The best thing about the G4P tournaments is the accessibility. As a one-day tournament it allows the father to play one day and the mother the other and it is just a real family-friendly event. When you have the parents and the kids in the same place and you see mummy and daddy on the court, it encourages the child to play padel. And the benefits of playing sport are so important in terms of both health and physical aspects but also the values of a sports person and their mentality helps people grow so much in a positive way.”
The good news is that we will see Alejandro again and he admitted: “I will miss my Game4Padel family so much but it is not a goodbye it is a ‘see you later’. I will come back to Edinburgh to play G4P tournaments for sure and now that G4P have courts at Oliva Nova near Valencia my family and I will definitely be visiting!"
If you wish to enter our LTA Grade 3 Men’s or Ladies events on July 8/9 please click on the link below.