Tom Plowman

Tennis Coach and Official

Masters student, Tom Plowman, has been heavily involved in Tennis programme throughout his time as an Undergraduate and Masters at Loughborough. Starting of as a player in his first year, Tom has undertaken roles as a coach leading the My Lifestyle Tennis sessions before undertaking the chair and line officiating pathway and volunteering at a range of tournaments up and down the country.

Tell us a little bit about yourself (hobbies, interests and background):

I come from a big family (being the eldest of 6 children!) and from an engineering background in York. I enjoy designing and making new things or fixing up old Land Rovers at home. I love taking part in any sport be it bouldering, cycling, running or badminton to name a few. (and tennis of course!)

How did you first get involved in volunteering within sport at Loughborough?

Started playing tennis in first year then joined the coaches programme and completed my level 1 coaches award. Ran My Lifestyle sessions such as beginners and cardio tennis from second year onwards. Completed the chair and line officiating pathway in second year (2016) and begun volunteering at a range of tournaments up and down the country.

During your years at Loughborough what have you got involved in through volunteering within sport?

Thanks to the course held at Loughborough, I have very quickly progressed from chair umpiring at small tournaments, U10, U12 etc.. to chair umpiring in 1st round $25K men’s events. As a line umpire, I was at Wimbledon for the first-time last year on semi-show courts 12 and 18 with Hawkeye which was an incredible experience – it is such a shame it is not running this year but bring on 2021! I also take part in major grass court tournaments in the UK (Nottingham, Ilkley, Wimbledon Qualifying). In March, I was selected to be part of the line umpire team for the Davis Cup in Stockholm between Sweden and Chile.


I also enjoy umpiring at the Visually Impaired tournaments and Wheelchair tournaments which are held at Loughborough and elsewhere around the country. I help coach the wheelchair squad when I’m in Loughborough.  

What has your experience volunteering been like whilst at Loughborough?

A Brilliant experience. Everyone in the CVA is incredibly welcoming and it is great to be guided and attend talks from some of the best coaches in sport. All the other coaches are friendly and love delivering sessions. It is a fantastic community. David Boddy and the tennis team are always on hand to help and give you the tools needed to succeed in any role. It is always brilliant hearing the stories and socialising with the students who come to our sessions, they are the ones who really keep the programme running!

How has being involved with Loughborough Sport helped you develop and progress (personally and professionally)?

Being a coach and ambassador for Loughborough tennis has improved my interpersonal skills, ability to work and lead large groups of people without being nervous. These skills are particularly useful in the engineering workplace but also incredibly beneficial when umpiring different tournaments around the country and controlling matches effectively.

What’s the best advice you could give to a Loughborough student looking to get involved in volunteering & gain the most out of their university experiences?

Get involved as soon as you start Uni. It’s a great platform to learn new skills, connect with new people and build a fantastic group of friends and colleagues in the process. You never know where a little bit of volunteering can take you – from one decision to take part in volunteering could lead you to umpiring on centre court at Wimbledon! It could lead to a job in sport in the future and what a great way to get your foot in the door through volunteering at the best Uni for sport in the country!

Finally, what do you enjoy most about volunteering?

Knowing that we successfully provide a comprehensive sport programme to suit all abilities every week of the year and seeing students come back time and time again, improving their skills and enjoying the sessions we run!


Meeting new people and travelling round the country, especially to visually impaired tournaments. They are my favourite tennis tournaments because the players make it such a fun environment to volunteer at. As I’ve been part of VI tennis for 4 years now, to see these players develop and improve such that they are now the top players in the world is absolutely incredible and very heart-warming.

Feeling inspired?

Feeling inspired by Tom's experience? Check out the CVA Portal regularly for officating and coaching opportunities like this.

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