Wimbledon star Tim teaches tiny tennis fans

SUPERSTAR: Tennis superstar coaches at a Didcot school <i>(Image: n/a)</i>
SUPERSTAR: Tennis superstar coaches at a Didcot school (Image: n/a)

TENNIS superstar Tim Henman has been inspiring young players during a visit to a Didcot school.

The former number one player was at Manor Primary School as part of a Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) Youth Tennis programme.

The scheme is aimed at children aged from four to 18 and designed to help more younger players enjoy the benefits of their sport and stay with tennis.

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The Lydalls Close school, a member of the multi-academy GLF Schools, was encouraged by The Tim Henman Foundation and the trust, to take up an offer from the LTA of free online teacher training as part of the programme being delivered across both primary and secondary schools.

Foundation head at GLF, Jak Martin said: “The GLF Schools Foundation tennis programme has been a great success. Students and staff thoroughly enjoy having the opportunity to take part in these expertly delivered tennis sessions.”

After the school registered with LTA Youth Schools, it completed the primary teacher training course and received a £250 voucher, an incentive, which was used for ten hours of team teaching with a local LTA accredited coach.

LTA Youth Start is delivered by coaches at tennis clubs, parks and other venues around the country, and includes six fun and progressive sessions with a trained LTA Youth Start coach, along with a free tennis racket, set of balls and a branded t-shirt for each child.

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Mr Henman said: “We first took the programme with LTA into GLF’s Chestnut Park Primary in Croydon, which is an amazing facility, and we’ve really seen the benefit.

“Manor Primary School is in my local area and I’d really like to do more. The last few years have been so challenging for everyone, and the deprivation is even greater now, with more individuals, families and schools needing support.

“Accessibility and opportunity in tennis is not always easy, but you can see from the reaction of the children how worthwhile it is.

“You don’t have to have a traditional tennis court – it can be the playground or the school hall.

“It’s very motivating for the children to be getting something they wouldn’t ordinarily have received – that’s what motivates me to do more.”

After a coaching session with the former world number one, the school’s eight house leaders had the opportunity to put their questions to him.

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Pupils asked Mr Henman a range of questions from his training schedule when he was their age to how many competitions he had won, and whether he had ever regretted leaving school at 16 to play tennis.

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Read more from this author

This story was written by Gee Harland. She joined the team in 2022 as a senior multimedia reporter.

Gee covers Wallingford, Wantage and Didcot.

Get in touch with her by emailing: Gee.harland@newsquest.co.uk

Follow her on Twitter @Geeharland

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