Stanforth’s departure prompts new LTA role

LTA Padel Performance Manager Matt Stanforth is leaving the organisation after 18 months in post. 

Matt, who joined padel’s governing body after 14 years in various performance-related roles with Table Tennis England, was responsible for setting LTA strategy for driving the development of GB squads, nurturing, supporting and developing elite players.

His departure in nine days comes at a key point for British padel, with teams being announced this week for the European Padel Championships in Cagliari, Italy (July 22-27th). In addition, the Padel World Championships are later this year in Qatar and there is work ongoing to form junior GB squads. 

Speaking to The Bandeja, Matt described the move as a ‘personal decision’ and a complete change – he’s taking his performance management skills into the financial/IT sector – and one that involves far less travel; he quipped that he’ll no longer live with a suitcase in his office.

LTA padel
Matt Stanforth: moving from sports to financial sector performance.

Wishing Matt well for the future, Tom Murray, LTA Head of Padel, said: “During Matt’s time at the LTA he’s developed our padel performance approach, set up player support packages for our elite players, issued selection policies for national teams and created a platform for our head coaches (John Leach and Libby Fletcher) to manage the delivery of the National Team programme. We’d like to thank him for his work.”

While a replacement is sought for Matt, John and Libby will manage the delivery of the men’s and women’s national team/s, supported by coaches Jordi Munoz and Alvaro Fernandez. Libby will also be leading the youth programme.

Youth squad

Some 50 prospective junior GB players have this week received confirmation from Matt that they are in the youth squad – 30 youngsters in the U14 category and 20 in the U18 age group – following two selection camps in Derby and Bristol over the last seven months. Libby is understood to be taking charge of the U18s with Steve Yeardley, who works for Tennis Wales and is a former coach at Padel4All Basset Down, overseeing the U14s. The selected players have been invited to attend a training camp at Rocket Padel, Bristol, at the end of this month. 

“We felt that there were a number of really good players at the two camps and the standard was really similar so it was better to keep the squad bigger,” said Matt, who explained this would deliver better development opportunities and ‘keep it competitive’ for the young players, who may find themselves training alongside ‘senior’ GB players in due course.

Padel manager role

The LTA is now looking to fill the vacancy that Matt’s departure creates but is changing the role, as Tom outlined: “Given the strong performance team we have in place now we have taken the opportunity to review the job description for this role and plan to broadened it out to include some development responsibilities, as well as core performance accountability. We felt a number of the performance tasks can be managed by our national coaches now that the structure is in place.”

The newly-created position of Padel Manager is open for applications. It’s a hybrid role encompassing performance and developing padel, with responsibilities including growing player numbers, assessing LTA competitions, helping deliver the LTA padel strategy (more details in our online magazine here) and developing strategic relationships. For the full job description click here. 🎾