UCT helping to grow tennis

30 April 2012 | Story by Newsroom

learners on tennis court learners on tennis court
Making a racquet: Stella Theron and Bronwyn Jack (standing behind) were among the students who volunteered to coach the youngsters. Watch out, Rafa: A Growing Tennis coach guides a young player through his serve.

The UCT tennis courts were packed with slightly tinier players than usual on 20 April as the Growing Tennis Programme brought over 100 primary schoolchildren to the campus, here to participate in a mini-tournament.

Eager faces shone with excitement (and perspiration) in the bright sun under the watchful eyes of volunteering UCT tennis players and Growing Tennis coaches. The learners came from local primary schools Rahmeniyah, St Mary's, Walmer Estate and Windermere.

For the past few years the UCT Tennis Club has been teaming up with Growing Tennis, a development initiative run by Michelle Whitehead, founder and CEO of the Growing Sports Foundation Trust, providing club members the chance to coach the youngsters. Previously the students had trekked with Growing Tennis to the schools; this year, in a change of pace, the students asked to have the learners spend a day at UCT.

Student helper Bronwyn Jack says that coaching the learners is a fun way to "give back". "It's also very rewarding, because we put a lot of effort into [organising the day]," says the first-year science student.

Whitehead says the day offers the "cream" of the crop (the 120 were selected as the most promising of about 2,000 participants in Growing Tennis) the chance to play hard and have oodles of fun.

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