Judy Murray on a mission to make tennis accessible for all
After raising two tennis champions, Andy, 31, and Jamie, 32, Judy Murray is on a mission to make tennis accessible and enjoyable.
Murray starts her beginners coaching sessions with an explanation of how to hold a racket, having previously taught a young boy who held the strings and hit the ball with the grip.
She may have raised two tennis champions but she is conscious to engage people of all abilities in her role as coach consultant for David Lloyd Clubs, where both Andy and Jamie were junior members.
Murray said: “I like to build confidence through success.
“The parent will always be the first port of call when a child needs someone to play with, so if we can show the parents how to encourage their kids to develop the skills you need for tennis, then it’s a win-win.”
She added: “It’s great to be able to share lots of ideas on how to make tennis fun and stimulating.”
She wants to serve a sport that has provided so much to her and her family.
Determined, Murray has set out three key aims: to encourage more women and young girls’ into the game, to engage parents in order to get the ball rolling and to establish more fun competitions.
Since there are approximately four times as many boys coming into the sport than girls, and perhaps due to the arrival of her grandaughters, Murray is championing young women.
She wants to bolster confidence in and for women players and in order to rally a generation of competitive women players, Murray believes the key is having more female coaches.
Murray said: “Boys can be intimidating, they are often louder and more competitive.
“The girls need to be praised more and women coaches will think and act on behalf of girls.
“If you can understand how girls work, you can create an environment in which they will thrive.”
However, without parental support, neither boys nor girls will have the opportunity to enjoy tennis.
This encouragement seems more important than ever to Murray as she believes the rise of technology is causing children to be more sedentary.
In fact, throughout her coaching career, she has seen a marked decline in the ability of young children coming into the sport.
Therefore, Murray, who has been vilified by the press as the ultimate pushy parent, is encouraging parents to nudge their children into the sport.
She recognises that children (and indeed parents) respond well to positive
reinforcement so she often uses a balloon rather than a ball when working with beginners since these are slower, bigger and easier to hit.
Murray stresses that in order to gain basic skills necessary for tennis you don’t need expensive coaches and equipment, you just need creativity and in her memoir, she recalled how her son’s first court was two chairs an a piece of rope in the driveway.
In her role as consultant coach, Murray believes can encourage innovative engagement with the game and inspire more successful tennis players.