The Davis Cup begins next week and serves as a great inspiration to young tennis players. In 2015, Great Britain won the Davis Cup for the first time since 1936 after Andy Murray beat Belgium's David Gloffin to clinch the title.
This week, it has been revealed that Andy Murray may not take part in Davis Cup tournament in Ottawa. Following his shock exit from the Melbourne Cup and a gruelling schedule in the second half of 2016, it is thought the World Number One may take some well needed time out from the game to recuperate.
Andy Murray has served as an inspiration to children across the UK for more than a decade which has subsequently boosted children's interest in tennis. If you fancy your child being the next Andy Murray, why not take a look below at Newitts' blog on 5 ways to introduce your child to tennis.
1. Encourage regular play
If your child has developed an interest in tennis, simply let them play it. Don't be too hung up on all the rules initially, just let them have a go. Cover the very basics to start off with such as how to hold a racket, whilst encouraging unstructured free play using mini-courts and foam or low compression balls that slow down the game and make it easier for children. Remember, it took the tennis greats many years to develop the techniques and skills required to be a success, your little one will not become a champion overnight, it takes time and patience for a child to develop their game.
2. Keep practice time short
Keeping practice time short is the key to maintaining a child's concentration levels and interest. Don't make it into an extension of the classroom where a child has to sit and listen to instruction for too long, instead allow your child to play spontaneously, to experiment and to take risks. Introduce short, fun games that will help improve their co-ordination and turn tennis into a haven where they can get away from the structure of the classroom and learn to move, play and create on the tennis court.
3. Introduce Mini Tennis
Children between the ages of 3 and 10 are now partaking in a new sport known as Mini Tennis. Mini Tennis offers a great introduction to tennis for small children using smaller courts, nets, rackets and lower bouncing balls. This tailored approach enables budding tennis players to develop vital skills and techniques at an early age at a pace that suits. The LTA offer a Mini Tennis Rally Awards scheme which is designed to help mini tennis players learn in stages and take part in exciting exercises with regular awards. For more information on LTA Mini Tennis, click here.
4. Keep children actively involved
Whether your child is training in a group or just by themselves, make sure they are always moving. Why not set up a mini-court if you have four or more children present and keep them constantly rotating so they're not sat about for long. Children who are not directly involved can be encouraged to take part in activities such as counting how many ball bounces or dribbles are achieved in a row.
5. Make tennis fun
Above all, tennis should not be taken too seriously at this stage. Children should be focusing on learning new techniques, but they should be introduced in a fun manner. If you're teaching a child a new drill, always ask yourself, 'Is this fun?' It's also a good idea to add friends into the mix, so why not invite a friend over so your child has someone to practice with? I addition, your child may benefit from joining a tennis programme at a local tennis club, where they can meet and enjoy learning tennis with other young players of a similar age and ability.
Share your tips on getting children involved in new sport below.......