It is that time of year when walls over the world resound to the battering of tennis balls, yes folks Wimbledon is nearly here again!
I remember the old wooden tennis racquet I had as a kid, that along with a rather worn tennis ball, got regularly battered against the wall outside our house. I always wanted to be Chris Evert, the baseline star who made it all look so effortless. That coupled with the regular trips to the council run courts with the droopy nets made us all think that we would one day grace the Centre Court.
So it was with many childhood memories that I decided it was about time that I had a real tennis lesson. The gym I go to is based at the Western Health and Racquets Club, surrounded by six well maintained courts it is a far cry from the hard tarmac I remember. As an ex badminton player I am wondering if the old skills will still be there but from what I understand, it is a very different ball game and one without feathers for a start!
My ‘coach’ for my lesson is Julie Gordon, one the club’s coaches and a lady very passionate about what she does. Julie coaches everyone from adults to young children and her natural enthusiasm is infectious. We started off having a chat about my previous experience, then she took a large basket of balls and headed over to the other side of the court. But like when I first starting going to the Gym, let me just state what was worrying me.
1. That I would make a complete fool of myself
2. That I would break every window in Hyndland
3. That I would severely injure someone by losing my grip of the racquet and letting it fly across the courts.
But, like my experiences in the Gym with GymGuyMark, when you are working with someone who knows what they are doing it makes a huge difference. An experienced coach works with your abilities and should not put you off but should give you proper advice. The worries soon disappeared.
We started of with just hitting the ball back and forth and I very quickly began to realise that the old badminton skills were still there. Mainly because I kept trying to use my wrist, ouch! It was a lovely day and the Western Health and Racquets Club is such a nice venue to play at. Julie kept the session varied, we tried everything from forehands, backhands, smashes and net shots. I have to say I was really enjoying myself , scampering about the tennis court trying my best to control each shot, and keep it in the lines. Julie even had me trying to serve by the end of the session. It was a great workout in the fresh air, running around the court and giving my arms a real workout. Daft to say but I forgot how much you use your arms when playing a racquet sport. It is a total workout as you use so many different muscles for each different stroke.
After we had finished I spent sometime talking with Julie about tennis at the Western. I am ashamed to say I did not realise how much goes on. They have several well qualified coaches as well as tennis sessions to suit all ages and stages.
Did I enjoy it? Yep, you bet I did, although I definitely need to build up my confidence and shot control before I even think of joining in on the Western’s social tennis nights.
Would I encourage you to have a go? Of course, there are many courts, clubs and venues all over the country and it is definitely worth going along and even having a coaching session. ( The Westerns details below)
I promised myself that once I felt fitter from my Gym sessions I would start to look at adding in something else and I may just be looking at tennis. Watch out Serena Williams, that French Open trophy might not be yours for much longer.
So next week in the run up to Wimbledon, the next blog will be about my next tennis lesson and why people enjoy the game so much.
Junior Tennis Summer Camps http://westerntenniscoachingclub.blogspot.co.uk/p/february-camp.html?m=1
Junior Tennis Blog http://westerntenniscoachingclub.blogspot.co.uk/
Western contact info 0141 339 0065 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Lawn Tennis Association http://www.lta.org.uk/in-your-area/Scotland/ has some good information about courts etc