Batchwood extends taster sessions

Batchwood tennis academy coach Alex Gooding coaches children during a tennis taster session at Busy

Batchwood tennis academy coach Alex Gooding coaches children during a tennis taster session at Busy Bees nursery sponsored by local estate agents Cassidy and Tate - Credit: Archant

Nursery children are being given the chance to pick up a racket and try tennis.

Batchwood Tennis Centre has, thanks to the generosity of estate agents Cassidy and Tate, extended its taster sessions in schools to include nurseries.

Jon Meredith, Batchwood’s head performance coach, explained that it is not about finding a diamond in the rough; instead, he’s introducing the sport to children at a young age.

“We’ve been going into schools for a long time but we’ve extended it to nurseries to get as many children as possible into tennis,” he said.

“All sports are being introduced as early as possible so we have to as well. It isn’t about how good they are, it’s about them having a go and hopefully enjoying it and wanting to do it again. Then we can teach them.”

Cassidy and Tate have been sponsoring Batchwood’s high performance tennis pathway since the club re-opened last year, following a three-year closure after an arson attack.

The money, Meredith said, has been spent on developing a new high performance team - the Cassidy and Tate training squad - and into sending coaches into nurseries.

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The programme, which is supported by St Albans district council and 1life, has been a huge success judging by the boost in number of young children at Batchwood.

The smiles on the children’s faces at Busy Bees nursery, where coach Alex Gooding ran a session on Monday, is also an indication that the tasters are a success.

Michelle French, performance manager at Busy Bees, said: “The children love it. It teaches them hand-eye coordination and it’s a fantastic experience for them, and one that they usually don’t get the opportunity to do.”

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