Over 100 children attended the festival at Exeter Tennis Centre

Schools Tennis Festival serves up an ace

On Monday 25 February Exeter Tennis Centre played host to its annual Schools Tennis Festival. Over 100 children, aged four to eight, from five different schools visited the centre for an afternoon of tennis coaching and games aimed at encouraging young people to pick up a racket and enjoy the sport.

Part of the centre’s community schools programme, afternoon featured a number of activity stations in which coaches helped children develop fundamental skills such as movement, hitting and throwing.

Director of Tennis Will McNally said “The Schools Tennis Festival is a big day on our calendar and we have been gearing up to it for while now.  The children today have been exceptional and all of the coaching staff have had a lot of fun.

Today isn’t about elite performance; it’s about the enjoyment of a sport that we are deeply passionate about. We wanted to give children the opportunity to come and visit our centre and have a great time playing tennis.”

The event followed on from a Talent ID session that took place earlier in the month, offering standout school players a chance to develop their skills and receive advice on how to take their tennis further.

Community Development Officer Gayle Vaughan organised the day and was thrilled with how it went, she said: “Tennis is a sport that is often overlooked in Primary School P.E lessons which is something we aim to prevent. We deliver tennis programmes to over twenty schools in the local community, providing coaches and equipment to help young people get into the sport.

Each of the schools here today is part of that programme. We are always looking for new ways to get children into tennis and hope that today will encourage more young people get on court and enjoy themselves at all levels.”

The schools tennis festival has coincided with the development of a new “Little Hitters” tennis club that is starting this week to make tennis more accessible in the community.

Gayle added “The aim of little hitters is to make tennis affordable to everyone. The classes are also larger than a normal session allowing more scope for games and social interaction for children.”

Date: 27 February 2013