Teaching Pro Spotlight: Stephen Thom
Longtime San Diego resident and native Stephen Thom is all about making life – and at the same time tennis – fun.
In 2013, Thom joined forces with longtime friend Nathan Welden’s Fletcher Hills Tennis team and since then the two have been making tennis fun for hundreds of young high performance juniors at Lake Murray Tennis Club, and introducing the game of tennis to even more elementary school-aged children.
The motto on the fletcherhillstennis.com website simply states: “Making Life More Fun.”
The 35-year-old Thom describes himself as a “part-time educator and full-time tennis pro.” He is currently teaching part-time special education in adapted P.E. at Carlton Hills Elementary in Santee.
For the past five years, Fletcher Tennis has provided the tennis programming for the Lake Murray Tennis Club. The group also runs the popular summer camps at Grossmont College and also teach an in-school elementary school tennis program at Green Elementary that reaches 350 kids grades first through fifth.
Thom said Fletcher Hills is able to reach multiple families by going into the schools. “It’s huge,” he said. “It helps all aspects of our business. The families are introduced to tennis and there is lots of crossover from kids coming who started out as juniors but now families and parents are coming over to learn to play tennis.”
Thom played lots of different sports growing up, and was a successful junior tennis player. But he put his rackets away when he went away to study in colder climates of Sonoma State for his undergraduate work majoring in kinesiology and Oregon State for grad school where he received a master’s degree in exercise science.
Thom, who has been a USPTA certified professional since 2006, said having a program that fits every age and skill level is important. “We try and really grow the game in our community,” he said. “If it’s summer camps, or community outreach. We are always building the program and we try to have programs for everyone.”
He added: “We are always looking to do something different and to invent new things and new ideas. We keep work fun and constantly changing.”
“Steve Thom is outstanding in every way,” said Karen Ronney, the SCTA San Diego Tennis Service Representative “He is kind, caring, knowledgeable and a fabulous pro. He is great at high performance and awesome with ROG tennis. He is an unsung hero, in my opinion. He is humble and so effective in growing the game of tennis San Diego.”