Driven to improve, excel

Trial and error: Self-taught player achieves much success.

Dedicated: West Martin-Patterson, who has excelled in the Interior circuit, both in singles and doubles play, practises his game.

Dedicated: West Martin-Patterson, who has excelled in the Interior circuit, both in singles and doubles play, practises his game.

West Martin-Patterson’s name is well known around the Interior tennis circuit as he and his men’s doubles partner, Jeremy Bell, were undefeated in the 2013 outdoor tennis season.  His ratio of wins to losses on the singles and mixed court is an impressive 12:3.

The secret behind his competitive edge is just that – his competitiveness.

“I drive myself to get better at things.”

This whole attitude began at the age of 12.

“I was into everything – basketball, running, snow-boarding, mountain biking. I wanted to be really good at one thing and I picked tennis one day – randomly.”

At the time he was living in Abbotsford. Someone had given him an old wooden racquet and he went to the tennis court.

“I hit against the wall for a few months before I had anyone to play with. It was just me and the wall. The wall remains undefeated,” he jokes.

That first day, some senior ladies were playing.

“One of the ladies told me to stick with the sport because I had a knack for it.”

That simple remark was enough inspiration. Martin-Patterson would ask anyone who happened to be around to play with him. Occasionally people gave him pointers, but, for the most part, he was self-taught.

“I watched a little bit, I read up on it a little bit, I just kind of became a student of the game. I learned by trial and error.”

He focused on becoming a well-rounded and mentally strong player.

“This is an individual sport; you have to be mentally strong. If you let up for a little, you let the match slip.”

He moved to the West Kootenay three years later. For the next few years, without as much opportunity, Martin-Patterson didn’t play as often. When he was 19 he started to travel to the Okanagan and Slocan to play in tournaments, both men’s doubles and singles.

“I like them both equally. There’s a little different strategy. My friend, Jeremy Bell and I have been playing together for four to five years. We complement each other’s styles. Jeremy is a tall guy and he’s got a long reach. Both of us pack a lot of power.”

He and Bell, a Vernon resident, play against each other as well: “We go to war on the court and then we’re friends when we shake hands.”

How do they fare against each other?

“We’re pretty close, I have a slight edge, I beat him in two tournaments last year and he beat me once.”

Martin-Patterson, his wife Lisa-Marie and their two daughters moved to Salmon Arm last year from Sicamous. He is the new recreation and volunteer co-ordinator for the Good Samaritan Society (Hillside Village and Pioneer Lodge) and coach of the Salmon Arm Secondary tennis team.

This year he plans to do the local circuit again, and that competitive spirit is apparent in his pre-season training.

“I was travelling to Kamloops and Kelowna when there was no snow on the courts. I was mostly going to Vernon. I was playing there on Jan.  5th, it was -5. Anything colder than that is too cold. ”


Salmon Arm Observer