What's all this racket about pop-up mini tennis kits?

14th September 2012 at 01:00

Tennis bosses in Scotland hope to unearth the next Andy Murray by making their sport the preferred activity in school playgrounds.

Tennis Scotland is exploring the use of mini tennis kits that pop up in less than a minute, which they hope to introduce to schools throughout Scotland.

Chief executive David Marshall told TESS about the idea shortly after Murray won the US Open, becoming the first British winner of a Grand Slam tournament since 1936.

But he admitted that a lot more must happen if the excitement about Murray's success is to help tennis take off - and schools will have a big role to play.

Tennis clubs, Mr Marshall said, are often expensive and seem "intimidating" to newcomers.

He also wants clubs to have stronger links with schools, to create clear pathways for pupils who, at present, may excel at taster sessions then see nowhere to go.

The growth of variants such as mini tennis and cardio-tennis will, Mr Marshall hopes, dissuade schools from the belief that only a handful of pupils can take part in tennis at one time.

Bruce McIver, a professional coach at Stonehaven Tennis Club in Aberdeenshire, said it was already difficult to accommodate the interest generated by the Murray effect before the US Open - children's classes were full to capacity "To introduce tennis to as many people as possible, you need to get into schools," he said.

Meanwhile, an inquiry by the Scottish Parliament's health and sport committee drew a pointed response from the Scottish Youth Parliament, based on results of a survey it had carried out: "It is clear that the cost of using community sports facilities is the biggest barrier to young people's increased participation in sports."

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