Tennis is turning out to be one of the most popular sports in the world today. In fact, its popularity is only preceded by soccer, cricket, and hockey. The high energy and fast pace of the sport makes it a very exciting sport and one that you cannot get bored with.
Unlike cricket, football, or hockey; tennis has a complete involvement of each player throughout the game and there is no idle time for any player while on court.
In addition to the benefits to the body, tennis has a lot of social and mental health benefits as well. However, lately it has not been receiving the participation it deserves. Though a lot of people are willing to watch the sport, there are not many that want to participate.
In 2005 Sport England invested £12m into various grassroot tennis organisations, with the aim of boosting participation, training additional coaches, upgrading public facilities and developing the next generation of players. Participation in the sport will need to improve if British tennis is to reach the level of mainland Europe and the United States.
If you go around and ask a group of 100 teenagers what they want to do in the future, a lot of them would say that I want to be a future soccer, basketball, cricket, or baseball player. However, how many of them would be interested in being a tennis star?
This is why; encouragement is needed for the sport at a grass root level. We bring to you 10 ways to encourage grass root participation in tennis.
Unlike sports such as soccer, basketball, or cricket, where fans die to collect the jerseys or merchandise of their favourite star players, clubs, countries, merchandising isn’t really popular in tennis. How many people are interested in buying a Roger Federer Jersey? Almost none. I doubt if you would even find one at a sports store. Therefore, merchandising would be in the primary interest of the sport.
The most important factor in shaping the mindset of a developing child is parenting. The attitude of parents towards a subject reflects in the attitude of their children towards the same. Hence, parents need to boost their children’s interest in tennis. This can be done by watching the sport with them, or taking them out to practice more.
- Practice Courts:
If you are wishing to go out and play tennis, how many tennis courts would you find in your locality? Hardly any. However, if you are wishing to play other sports like baseball, cricket, or soccer, you would find countless places where you could play it. Therefore, children tend to pick up these sports due to the availability of space. Hence, more and more tennis courts should be constructed in the localities.
- Social Media:
Social media plays an important role in shaping the interests of today’s youth. People find it to be a great platform to discuss their opinions, joys, and griefs over their favourite teams, players, or matches. However, most commonly, these are flooded with the updates from sports like soccer or cricket. Therefore, social media should lean on a bit towards tennis as well.
- School Curricular:
Tennis needs to be an optional sport in the school curricular so children who are interested in participating in it can participate in it. Usually, schools only lean on a couple of major sports and tennis is often neglected.
There should be more local competitions in the sport as there are present in the other major sports. This boosts the interest of the local population in the sport. Currently there are calendars for the major tennis tournaments and there needs to be a similar initiative for club tournaments and school competitions.
- Awards and Prizes:
There should be more recognition in the sport to the people that play well and win awards, and awards and prizes should be given to them.
In order to boost participation in the sport, more funding should be provided by the Government and funding bodies such as the National Lottery, to upgrade public tennis clubs and provide classes for many inner city children. It is a crying shame that Britain’s top junior LTA player couldn’t receive funding last year and a funding drive will increase the chances of more people taking an interest in the game.
- Media Coverage:
The media coverage given to tennis is not really appreciable as compared to the other competitor sports. Hence, media needs to shift their focus more on tennis too.
- Self Interest
In the end, nothing can put the interest of an individual in the sport other than the individual itself. Therefore, why not give it a try? You might like it as well.
Not only should you participate in the sport, but encourage others to do that as well. Do tell us what you think about our article. Leave your comments below.