CLUB OF THE WEEK: Shrivenham Tennis Club
6:00am Tuesday 24th September 2013 in Latest News
FOR over 20 years, members have enjoyed playing on the three floodlit hard courts at Shrivenham Tennis Club, writes Laura Lambert.
Through the hard work of head coach Chris Hand, the club is now thriving with over 100 members.
Having offered free sessions in local schools and lowered the costs of coaching and membership, Hand is pleased to see the junior sessions heaving with enthusiastic children.
However, according to Hand, it is not just the children that have fun at the club.
“Despite 75 per cent of our members being children, the adults have a great time too,” he says.
“On Thursday evenings I run a Ladies Cardio Tennis session with high tempo music.
“It’s a brilliant fat-burning workout and gets everyone smiling.
“I want everyone that comes here to enjoy playing tennis.”
Group and individual coaching is offered to all age groups, from pre-school through to adults.
The hour-long junior sessions cover technical aspects of the game, drills and match situations and always finish with a fun game.
As the children progress they use different coloured balls, from spongeballs and red balls for the youngest players, through to orange, green and then normal yellow tennis balls.
Whilst the sessions are mostly about getting members keen on tennis, what does Hand do about the ones he considers to be very talented?
“I encourage the best players to play in local tournaments and we organise friendly matches with other clubs.
“One of our green-ball players won a tournament in Faringdon in the summer, so there is definitely some talent coming through.”
With tennis in Great Britain experiencing a high after Andy Murray’s success, Shrivenham Tennis Club has witnessed a recent surge in interest.
“We’ve certainly had a lot more enquiries, with parents saying their children are inspired by Murray and want to start playing tennis.
“It’s great that more and more people want to play the sport and hopefully word-of-mouth about our club will get more people signing up as members”.
Each month, the club also organises a Special Needs Tennis Day, though this has recently been relocated to indoor courts in Abingdon for the winter months.
Hand started this initiative four years ago, and since then it has become increasingly popular.
It is the only one of its kind in the county, and Hand considers it crucial to make tennis more accessible.
“Twenty people turned up to our open session last weekend from all over the county, which is great”, he says.
“We welcome children with Down’s syndrome, educational needs, autism and other special needs.
“We have some very talented players who are starting to play competitive tennis, and some take part in the Special Olympics Oxford in tennis.
“There are also those who will never be able to play competitively but enjoy coming to play in a friendly environment.”
In terms of planning for the future, Hand hopes to get more adults to join the club and that all the courts will be resurfaced within the next five years, a project for which fundraising will begin soon.
With such a passionate coach leading from the front, this local tennis club is in good hands and seems set to continue encouraging people to pick up a racquet and enjoy tennis.
For more information on Shrivenham Tennis Club, email Chris Hand at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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