You may remember I wrote and tweeted about the Lawn Tennis Association Tennis For Kids free lessons back in April – look at all those clickthroughs – I am so excited to think lots of kids got to try tennis for free! Mr G had 6 free lessons, a mini course, and some of my friends locally also spotted my update on facebook and managed to get free lessons too. If you missed out, don’t worry there are lots more ways to get involved with tennis.
Today I am sharing how Mr G got on with his Tennis For Kids lessons, as I mentioned in this post, he’s an incredibly brilliant kid and also very headstrong and I was a little worried about how it was going to turn out. Here’s my diary, kept on the parentshaped facebook page.
Would we make it to week 6 and his free racquet?
G isn’t the sort to blindly follow instructions, he is more likely to invent a completely new sport with his own rules. But his coach Tom was utterly brilliant with him, positive and encouraging. G managed a whole hour, only tried to escape once, and had a good little rally with Tom.
I won’t tell you about the bit where he lay down to play, had three balls when he was meant to have one and deliberately lobbed the ball over the fence, because Tom deflected/ignored/distracted it all beautifully. I chatted to Tom after who was totally brilliant and said plenty of kids do this all the time and not to worry. Music to the ears to the parent of a spirited child.
Liberation! G was excited to see Tom again, he got to pair up with him as there was an odd number. Towards the end of the hour he started to rebel a bit, but he was quickly hooked back in by new challenges. It’s been great to see him today, he loves to bend the rules, which can be excruciating to watch as a parent, especially when the rest of the class are more timid, including younger girls, but I really noticed today he was also exploring the limits of what he and the racquet and ball could do.
‘You don’t learn to walk by following rules. You learn by doing, and by falling over.’ Richard Branson
I saw this quote recently and it sums it up exactly, he’s not like I was at school, conscientious and always towing the line, and watching I am realising it’s amazing how little fear he has of bending rules, falling over and doing. I feel incredibly proud of him.
G is now loving his free lessons and seems to have really got into the swing*, rushing on court with a big “Wait for me!” *sorry not sorry for the pun.
Today was tough, we didn’t know at the time, but he had been sitting SATs and was completely fed up and at his limit. After 15 minutes fighting off tears complaining about school work being too hard and talking together about how sport can help us cope with stress, he went back in to the lesson with lots of encouragement from Tom.
He’s desperate not to miss a session because he gets a free racquet after 6 lessons, and more importantly because he’s actually really starting to enjoy tennis. One of his best mates turned up too, which cheered him on.
They played a crazy fun ball throwing team game where each team has to throw back any balls the other team get over the net. Just the kind of mayhem my boy loves and slowly with lots of friendly encouragement and tactical ignoring, he is picking up the mechanisms of tennis through games and lots of short fun exercises.
All the photos you see here were taken during week 6. It was lovely to see lots of hitting of the ball this week!
G is also so excited to have his free racquet and certificate, there is no photo evidence because he was accidentally hit in the eye by a ball at the end of the lesson. After he’d had a big hug, cheered up and admired his new racquet, I joked that it was karma and it was the one he cheekily threw over the fence in week one coming back to haunt him…
To sum up…
I was really impressed with the structure and quality of the lessons, both as an ex teacher and a parent to a child who for various reasons finds sport coaching tricky. He’s pretty keen to continue tennis lessons now his free 6 weeks are up, which is brilliant.
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.