For the past few months, my seven-year-old daughter, Helen, has been badgering me for tennis lessons. The catalyst for this was a blogger event we participated in earlier this year as guests of the Lawn Tennis Association and BritMums.
It was a training session for kids led by former Junior Wimbledon Champion Annabel Croft followed by courtside seats at a Davis Cup doubles match in Birmingham. This was not any Davis Cup doubles match, oh no. This was the game in which Andy and Jamie Murray beat Yoshihito Nishioka and Yasutaka Uchiyama of Japan, bringing the cup home for Great Britain.
Ever since Helen saw the game, she’s been asking me to sign her up for free tennis sessions as part of the Lawn Tennis Associations #TennisForKids campaign. It’s taken a while, and there’s been a lot of re-configuration of diaries, but at long last I’ve managed to get her on a course.
Her first lesson was yesterday, although the build up began last week when we were visiting granny and grandad. They happen to have access to a tennis court and I was dragged out on to it every day to practise rallies, serving and so on. On one occasion I had to bring things to an abrupt end as rain started coming down, although I think Helen would have stayed on the court all afternoon given the choice.
At yesterday’s session, Helen got some practice with throwing and catching under the guidance of her coach, Emily. There was also some help with racket control and she was taught the difference between a forehand and backhand shot.
Here is a short video of what happened back in March, plus some highlights from Helen’s tennis lesson.
Emily did a great job of spurring the kids on. The kids were made to work in pairs. There were a couple of competitions to see which pair could pass the ball to each other the fastest. This did wonders to focus the minds of the kids taking part. Helen, who can be fiercely competitive, was absolutely delighted when she and her partner won the first of these games.
It’s early days, but Helen thoroughly enjoyed the session. She is very keen to continue, the promise of a free racquet if she attends for at least four of the six classes has also been a small incentive. The rackets, by the way, are the ideal size for children to use. We may have to invest in a second one for our youngest daughter as she was at yesterday’s session as a spectator and she also wants lessons!
The Lawn Tennis Association has put together a syllabus for all children participating part in the lessons. Over the next few weeks, Helen will do further throwing and catching practice, learn about the various shots, learn the rules governing tennis and how points are won and how to work as part of a team. I think it is going to be a great experience for her and I’ll write a further blog post when the six weeks have come to an end.
Disclosure: This post is part of the #TennisForKids campaign with BritMums, sponsored by the Lawn Tennis Association in partnership with Highland Spring. Sign up now to be part of Great British Tennis Weekend, which will open up even more free courts for families across the UK in July www.lta.org.uk/gbtw