There’s nothing quite like advice from other mums to encourage and help us in concrete ways. As part of our paid project with the Lawn Tennis Association promoting the ClubSpark Tennis for Kids programme (#TennisforKids), we wanted real tips from real mums in helping kids get interested in tennis – an accessible sport that encourages fitness, can be played by the whole family and is terrifically fun.
We enlisted mum bloggers to be tennis buddies, pairing those who had experienced the #TennisforKids project last year with newbie parents. The experienced mums shared their real-world tips, just like they were having a conversation at the school gate.
The ambition of the Lawn Tennis Association’s ClubSpark Tennis for Kids programme is to get kids excited and involved in tennis. It provides a six-week course for 20,000 children aged 5 to 8 to start playing tennis. And it’s completely free! Check out the LTA website.
BritMums worked with the LTA in a paid relationship along with the bloggers to help spread the word. All opinions and advice are the bloggers’ own.
5 tips from mums to get kids into tennis
- Get the children excited before they start the new activity, says Elfa Wilmott, Californian Mum in London. “Don’t just wait for the course to begin,” she says. “Watch some YouTube clips or a match on telly. Show your children how fun, and exciting, tennis can be!”
- Check the weather, says Laura Seaton, Tired Mummy of Two. In the UK this is always a good idea, but especially smart when you’re trying to keep kids (and yourself) motivated. “The sessions will take place come rain or shine (unless you receive a message otherwise) so you need to be prepared for the weather,” she advises. “During our six-week course last year we had blistering sunshine, rain and even a bit of frost. By dressing appropriately and being prepared the girls still enjoyed their session and I wasn’t stood drenched on the sidelines.”
- Be organised, is another piece of advice from Laura. “I found that the hardest thing about these sessions for me was getting to the venue on time after school. However once we got in the swing of preparing the clothes and everything we needed in the morning, then it meant that getting changed and heading out was easy. Choose a session that is at a suitable time and venue that means you can get there easily and make sure you leave with enough time to travel so you are not stressing out about getting there.” Always wise words.
- Let your children know there will be players of all different levels, suggests Nell from Pigeon Pair and Me. “Some will be coordinated and familiar with the game, some will be absolute beginners,” she says. “The main thing is, to let your kids know you’re proud of them for what they learn over the course of the programme, not whether or not their volleying skills are better than the others in the class.”
- Encourage your child to turn up to every session, says Kath from The Boy and Me, who obviously understand a little child psychology. “Children can be contrary creatures and may try and declare that they aren’t sure if they’d like to continue attending. The reasons for this can range from not being picked first, missing the ball, someone not hitting the ball to them correctly or simply because the day has a ‘y’ in it!” she points out. “Encourage them to attend for the full length of the course as they will soon realise what a wonderful sport it is.”
We also love this sweet story from Charly Dove:
“Learning forehand (or “fry hand” as POD called it) and backhand was also taught along with other strokes like volleying and serving…We couldn’t have asked for a better introduction to tennis, giving her the skills (and equipment!) she needed to continue.”
Discover more of the tips and advice that these mums gave their Tennis Buddies and other families (click through on their links above) to encourage them to take up tennis and participate in the #TennisforKids programme! And look out for posts from our newbieTennis Buddies soon.
Kath of The Boy and Me’s Tennis Buddy: Sian Russell of Helpful Mum
Sian’s post is live now! Take a look: http://www.helpfulmum.com/2017/05/starting-tennis-lessons-with.html
Elfa of California Mum in London’s Tennis Buddy: Laura of Side Street Style
Charly of Podcast Dove’s Tennis Buddy: Louse Hegarty of Birds & Lilies
Laura of Tired Mummy of Two’s Tennis Buddy: Alice Judge-Talbot of More Than Toast
Nell of The Pigeon Pair & Me’s Tennis Buddy: Lisa Jane of Travel Loving Family