Game, set and match - how tennis can benefit your child
Anyone for Tennis?
Strawberries and cream, Deuce, Andy Murray and the most famous tennis tournament in the world - Wimbledon. Great Britain has a rich history in tennis. Does your child enjoy racket sport? Not only is tennis lots of fun and a real sociable activity, it’s also great exercise! We explore the benefits of getting your child into tennis and how to find the right local tennis instruction and club for your child and your entire family.
Tennis - An Overview:
Real tennis was the first form of the sport to be played in England during the 16th century. Henry VIII was quite a fan and in 1530 built a tennis court at his palace in Hampton Court. The modern game, or ‘Lawn Tennis’ as it was also known, was developed by a gentleman called Major Walter Wingfield in 1873. Four years later the world famous championships at Wimbledon first took place. The modern game of tennis was born.
Tennis has a range of health benefits and is also a great social environment for children and adults like. Unlike other sports, anyone despite of their age can get involved in tennis. It is fun for all the family. Tennis is a sport for life.
So how do you get your child set up with their life-long tennis dream? How can tennis benefit your child throughout their school years and beyond?
Tennis - The Benefits:
Tennis is a great aerobic workout, from sprinting to chase the ball through to working the arms and legs with a serve. Tennis will certainly get your child moving! By learning to react quickly to the different shots used in tennis it will also increase your child’s mobility and agility. Finally through using a racket and learning the necessary skills it will contribute towards developing good hand-eye coordination.
One Step Ahead
Tennis is a physical non-contact sport and also a game of strategy and tactics against your opponent. Your child will learn how to think strategically whilst staying active. A great skill to build your child’s focus and concentration.
Rain or Shine
Although perhaps considered a summer sport - tennis doesn’t have to be. The beauty of the game means that it can be played both indoors and outdoors. Making a brilliant all year round children activity that doesn’t have to rely on the British weather!
Tennis clubs are a great way for your child to meet new friends, keep fit and have fun. Many clubs have an active social calendar for all the family from mini tennis tournaments to fun-days, BBQs and quiz nights.
Did you know…
Three quirky Wimbledon tennis facts.
1. During the 2016 championships, 139,435 portions of strawberries were sold.
2. It takes 10 minutes for the Centre Court roof to completely close.
3. It would take a whopping 290 million tennis balls to completely fill Centre Court (with the roof closed). (1)
Tennis - The Kit:
So rackets at the ready, your child is ready for tennis! Where do you start with getting the right equipment and kit? We’ve listed some of the key essentials, please check with your tennis club or instructor for a more detailed list as these could differ from club to club.
Get Kitted Out
Make sure your child is wearing comfortable but practical clothing for tennis. It may be worth checking with the tennis club first, as a particular club uniform or colour may be required. Usually t-shirt/sweatshirt and shorts for both boys and girls. Girls may choose to wear a tennis skirt over their shorts.
Well fitted tennis shoes with adequate support around the ankles are very important to reduce the risk of injury. Again these may be a requirement by the tennis club or instructor so check before your child takes part in a lesson.
Load of Racket!
Even beginners will need a tennis racket, again your tennis club or instructor may provide these. It may be worth considering buying your child their own racket as this will allow them to practise any new skills away from their tennis class.
New Balls Please
Tennis balls are usually provided by the tennis club. But again may be required for practise away from your child’s tennis instruction.
Tennis - How to get involved:
Tennis classes for children can start as early as 2½ years old. These preschooler classes are mainly focused around music, songs and require junior tennis rackets and equipment. For school aged children, lessons usually start between the ages of 5-7 years.
Beginner lessons for this age group should focus on your child’s ability to hold, swing and control a tennis racket and how to make contact with the racket and ball. Basically developing your child’s hand-eye coordination and footwork techniques.
Group lessons for children starting tennis lessons are a good way to start. These tend to be more interactive and fun with other children of a similar age group. A good ratio of children to tennis instructor is 3-4. Private lessons tend to be more expensive, but are great if your child is keen to progress with their tennis and is considering entering competitions.
We are very fortunate to have some wonderful tennis clubs in the local area that cater for children of all ages. Here are three local Tennis clubs:
Coombe Wood Lawn Tennis Club:
Accessible via Galsworthy Road in Kingston, this club is surrounded by the greenery of Coombe Wood Gold course. They have 5 artificial grass and 2 artificial clay courts; each with floodlighting to enable play all year round. Children can join the Junior programme or the Tennis academy, depending on their level. Both are run by a professional coaching team. During school holidays, junior tennis camps are open to non-members.
New Malden Club:
The New Malden Tennis, Squash and Badminton Club was established in 1922 on the present site. The club has produced many high quality County players. Numerous social events are organised all year round. The children programme is targeted at children from 3 to 18 years old and include a variety of educational activities.
The club offers a curriculum-based teaching programme for children aged 2½ to 6 years old. This is targeted at Visual learners, Auditory learners and Kinesthetic leaners. Classes are divided into three groups based on age in order to tailor the learning experience and progression to each child's ability and experience.
So if your child is dreaming of winning at Wimbledon and wants to give tennis a try, we can help you find a suitable class and get your family calendar organised and ready to go. Simply sign up on our Parents page to request your own bespoke weekly planner of children activities.