Tennis might not be the first sport associated with Grand Cayman’s outer districts, but signs of change are afoot.
Thanks to sponsorship from Walkers, tennis is now taught at almost every government school in the Cayman Islands. This summer, the Tennis Federation of the Cayman Islands has taken the schools programme one step further and introduced summer camps for its best players.
Week-long camps were held during July at West Bay and East End primary courts, with seven specially selected youngsters attending each camp.
North Side children joined East Enders for the eastern districts camp. A further two promising juniors from Savannah Primary linked up with other young tennis fans at a tennis club camp.
The coach at the West Bay and East End camp and principal coach for the Walkers schools programme is Noel Watkins of Cayman Tennis Academy. Watkins said the camps had more than met expectations.
“We have been coaching the kids at both East End and North Side primary schools since the start of the school year,” Watkins said. “We selected six or seven of the most promising students from each school to participate in the camps and then put them through an intensive week of coaching.
“Students were incredibly enthusiastic and it was great to see them gain in both skills and confidence as the week progressed. We are confident that with continued coaching and encouragement, some of these kids could have a bright future on the court.
“All in all, we were delighted with all the kids’ enthusiasm and very impressed with their improvement in a relatively short space of time.”
Tennis Club manager Rob Seward reported: “The two kids from Savannah had a terrific time at camp and they attended all days and were the early birds of the group; which is a great sign! They both very much enjoyed it and were well behaved throughout the camp. It was a great experience for them.”
Eliza Harford, a tennis federation board member, noted that private individuals kindly sponsored all the camp places at $150 a week each.