Everyone for tennis! Coach’s free sessions for youngsters prove a hit
• 3 MINUTE READ
Monday 29 June might have been a glum day for many tennis fans with no Wimbledon to watch, but one coach in Hertfordshire made sure there was still plenty of tennis to enjoy in his local community.
On the day The Championships were due to begin in south London, Jonty Solomons hosted free back to back coaching sessions for children and young people on park courts at Scotsbridge Playing Fields in Rickmansworth.
It was the second session that Jonty – who runs the TopShotTennis club in Hendon – has run as part of an initiative that began with a post on a local parents’ Facebook group, offering free coaching for children who were lacking opportunities to stay active as a result of lockdown restrictions and school closures.
After receiving hundreds of responses, he contacted Three Rivers District Council who provided public courts free of charge and established an online booking system for the sessions.
On court for six hours between 1pm and 7pm on Monday, Jonty coached budding players from 4 to 45 years old, giving a range of introductory hints and tips all designed to instill a love of the game that has seen a huge rise in participation following the easing of lockdown measures in May.
Jonty Solomons said: “I wanted to give something back to the community because of the lockdown and knew that kids would be itching for exercise and fun. I was swamped with replies to my offer of community tennis and wanted to ensure that everyone got to try this amazing sport for free, and Three Rivers Council were great in getting courts and booking system set up. Now we’re buzzing with kids and parents getting fit, having fun and hitting winners all over the place!”
Jill Osleger, LTA Head of Region Central & East, said: “This is a fantastic initiative that Jonty is running, and is one of a number of stories of proactive people in the tennis community using our sport for good as we continue to navigate our way out of lockdown. It’s also great to see the support Three Rivers District Council have provided through making public courts available for these sessions. As part of our vision to open tennis up to more and more people, we recently announced a comprehensive, cost-free offer to local authorities to make their park courts sustainable for the future and help drive participation locally. It is great to see Three Rivers already working towards that.”
Councillor Chris Lloyd, Three Rivers District Council Lead Member for Leisure, said: “Tennis is a safe and enjoyable sport and we were happy to collaborate with Coach Jonty after he approached us with this initiative. We are keen for our residents to stay active and healthy and - particularly whilst other grassroots sports are paused - and this provides a great opportunity for them to do so. Three Rivers has some excellent park facilities, providing high quality and accessible courts for local residents to enjoy and has invested in a number of sites over the last few years.”
Find out more!
Click here to find out more about the LTA’s offer to support local authorities grow participation in park courts and make their venues sustainable for the future.