I sometimes look at the glitz and glammer of parts of my life and have a chuckle. You see growing up I felt like I was a real tomboy. Maybe not a tomboy in the true sense of the word but my kind of tomboy none the less. Sport dominated my every waking hour and I worked hard enough at my craft to eventually play at an elite level in most of the sports I put my mind too. One of these sports was tennis.
Mum and dad put a racket in my hand at about the age of eight and a few years later, under the guidance of my coach Brad Ladyman, I was playing pennants, state league and tournaments all over the state. I even managed to make a trip to Melbourne to play in a junior satellite one year. Admittedly I didn’t get very far but I would give anything to have that special trip with just dad, my sister and myself again.
My three kids, Autumn (8), Lux (7) and Van (5) are slowly getting into tennis and I desperately want them to love the sport just as much as I did, but as we all know kids have a mind of their own. All I can do is open the door and see if they want to walk through it.
We had dabbled with tennis for a few terms, but finally, this term, things are really taking off for them. I have signed them up for the ANZ Tennis Hot Shots program(check it out here) and lucky for us, we are walking distance away from the local tennis courts. I’m lucky that they are all at a similar skill level so was able to get just the three of them into one lesson, which means they get to play together and I get to take just one trip (winning!). They get to run around and hit so many balls and in just a few lessons, their improvement is measurable.
There are so many things I love about tennis. You get to train and play in a team environment but ultimately, the only person you are responsible for is yourself. When you’re out on that court playing a match it’s just you and your opponent. You can’t blame anyone, you can’t get advice from your coach, the buck stops with you and in today’s society there’s something magic about giving your kids the opportunity to be solely responsible for their themselves. I can’t wait to watch them grow in confidence and skill and get to see them be independent little people.
I made so many great friends at my tennis club, friends that I still hold dear to this day. We travelled to country tournaments together and played pennants but my favourite memories were the school holiday tournaments. Mum or Dad would drop us off in the morning and we would spend all day either playing matches on the court or having fun with all the kids playing epic table tennis battles off the court. I was lucky enough to make friends as a junior with people like Alicia Molik, Casey Dellacqua and Bojana Bobusic who all went on to have fantastic careers in tennis, and with kids around the same age, I’m lucky enough to still see Alicia around the place to this day. And these kind of friendships is another reason why I’m so excited to get the kids involved, so they can make lifelong friends too.
My love of tennis runs deep but with a career and being a single mum of three I don’t get the opportunity to pick up a racquet anywhere near as much as what I would like to. What I will say though is that when I do get the chance to have a hit I can still play. A frustrated and angry double faulting kind of play (I used to dominate my serve haha) but I can still play and it’s a skill I wouldn’t trade for the world. Tennis has given me so many gifts. Friends, pride when playing for your state and club, mental toughness, mastered hand eye coordination but most of all, tennis is an incredible life long skill that I will have with me for the rest of my life. And to think that my kids will soon be able to have all these things too, makes me smile.
For more information on how you can get yourself or your kids involved in an ANZ TennisHot Shots program near you, head to www.hotshots.tennis.com.au.
Post brought to you by Tennis Australia