Despite not being very athletic as a child, there were a few sports that I really did enjoy taking part in; namely tennis and swimming.
As The Boy is getting older, I am keen to involve him in sports to ensure that he has a healthy attitude to keeping fit with exercising being the norm. I am acutely aware though that, just like his father and I, he is not a big fan of rough and tumble sports or even competitive team games. I've spotted him on the playground playing football with his friends, and it's fair to say that other than kicking the ball, he doesn't have a clue about the rules!
It's proved a bit of a challenge to find sporty activities for him that he'll engage in. He's started swimming regularly with daddy, and goes to gymnastics every Sunday, but the one he's passionate about has eluded us.
That is until the opportunity to experience tennis came along!
It's not every day that an e-mail drops into your inbox offering your child the chance to have a tennic coaching session with former professional British No. 1 female tennis player, Annabel Croft, but when it does then you reply with a very big 'YES PLEASE!' straight away!
As part of the launch of the amazing free Tennis For Kids campaign by the Lawn Tennis Association, we spent a fresh March morning in Edgbaston Priory Club with several other bloggers as their children (along with The Boy) received tuition from Annabel and one of the Davis Cup coaches.
Never having picked up a tennis racquet before (I'm not sure swingball counts!), The Boy was a complete novice. However, within 90 minutes of specialist teaching and learning specific skills, he was hitting the ball across the net with an underhand serve and even managing to return some of the shots from other children! The coaches were wonderful and able to bring tennis down to the level of the children, most of whom had never experienced it before, proving that tennis truly is a game for all abilities and ages.
My young man was quite taken with the enigmatic and extemely friendly Miss Croft, and I must confess that when she told me that my complete beginner, left-handed, little boy was a natural, he wasn't the only one who thought she was lovely!
The children really had an amazing taster of what the campaign is about; a fun activity for children to introduce them to a sport they may not normally consider. Tennis For Kids is a free 6-week coaching course crammed full of action packed games and activities designed as the perfect introduction to tennis for kids aged 5-8.
What can you expect?
- A free 6 week course with a qualified LTA coach
- A free racquet to keep forever if you attend regularly
- An opportunity for parents to get involved
- An opportunity to keep playing at the venue after the course.
What is particularly special about these courses, aside from the fact that the LTA are funding it themselves, is that Annabel Croft and other tennis players like Greg Rusedski, have recruited 1000 coaches from all over Great Britain. These 1000 tennis coaches will each tutor 10 children for 6 weeks (one lesson a week) to help them develop skills like;
- Throwing and catching
- How to hold a racket and control the ball
- All the different shots
- How to develop a rally, hitting the ball over a net with new friends
- Being part of a team and respecting one another
- The rules of tennis and how points are won and lost.
Sign-ups for these courses opened on 4th April and I would urge all parents of children aged 5-8 years old to rush over and find out if there is a free course available in their postcode. One of the most exciting aspects of this campaign is that after the 4th session, each child will be able to keep their free tennis racquet to continue developing their passion.
As was highlighted by Miss Croft, tennis is a great game for all the family to play; there's no need for specialist racquets or booking a court. When I was a child I used to play it against my dad's garage or in the (quiet) street with my siblings. It can be played in a park, a playground, anywhere with a hard surface and two people! Annabel's passion for tennis started at the ripe old age of 9 years old while she was on a family holiday. It was the first time she'd picked up a racquet and when she returned home she continued her lessons, progressing on to become Wimbledon Girls Champion and Australian Open Girls Champion. All this from a 50p lesson on holiday!
Ignite your child's passion for tennis, who knows they may be the next winner of the Davis Cup!
This post is part of the #TennisForKids campaign with BritMums, sponsored by the Lawn Tennis Association in partnership with Highland Spring. You can sign up now for LTA’s FREE tennis lessons for your child – find out more here www.lta.org.uk/tennisforkids