Training Tennis Talent
The courts of the Franschhoek Tennis Club were chock-a-block with energetic youngsters on Wednesday, 17 March. They were all there to try out ‘tennis’ for the first time.
The activities were part of the first day of the ‘Love-All, Tennis!’ development programme conceived by the tennis club and implemented in partnership with the sponsor, Train Camp, and Franschhoek High School. It all forms part of the club’s efforts to explore partnerships, grow the club and sport of tennis and to have a wider impact in the community.
Club Secretary, Ross Hutchison, summed up the rationale for the programme. “In tennis, every game starts at Love-All; full of promise, nervous energy and possibility. What if we could apply the same to the Franschhoek High School children at the start of their tennis careers? And so, the idea of the Love-All, Tennis! programme was born; we wanted to get kids on the court, get them started, excite and inspire them. Get them ‘Fransch-hoeked’ on tennis! And surprise them, that they may have a talent for tennis!”
The children – who were escorted from the school down the road to the club by their teachers – could barely contain their excitement at the new experience awaiting them. On arrival at the club the first order of business was to comply with the Covid protocols and give each of the children a name badge that also indicated on which of the four courts their tennis exposure would start.
Tennis coach Shaun Makanjuola and the club’s committee had developed activities for the children to perform on each of the four courts, which were ‘staffed’ by volunteers from the club. Activities included bouncing and catching a ball, running and stacking cones, throwing balls at a target and, finally, hitting balls!
The first phase of the programme will see all the primary school grades taking part in activities designed to identify possible tennis talent for further development. Each grade will visit the club twice and then the club’s facilitators will go to the school to discuss with the children what they have learned from the experience and how they can use it in life.
The partners are already working on a suitable programme for high schoolers with an interest in tennis to be implemented in the fourth quarter.
Text & Image: Editorial Desk