Tennis Tens serves kids well

A new junior tennis centre on West Bay Road is proving a hit with local youngsters.

The Paul Howard Junior Community Courts has four mini courts specially designed for children aged 10 and under.

When not booked for lessons, these courts are free for use by all children and are seeing plenty of action.

The courts are currently busy on Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday afternoons between 2.30- 5 P.m., when many kids learn the finer points of forehands, backhands, volleys and serves as part of group lessons with local pro Noel Watkins.

On Thursdays, Watkins, an energetic and enthusiastic teacher, also uses the courts between 4.40-5.40 P.m. This means the courts are free at other times on Thursday afternoons, as well as on Mondays and weekends.

Watkins is delighted to be using the Paul Howard courts. “For juniors, there is no other tennis facility on the island that comes close,” he said. “This is the perfect teaching environment, and the kids so enjoy the place. There is plenty of room for spectators too, so parents can enjoy watching their kids play while sitting in the shade of the pavilion.”

Thanks to sponsorship by Cayman National for a programme called Tennis Tens, there is also free tennis coaching in Grand Cayman for players of all abilities in the 10-and-under group.

Watkins said of Tennis Tens: “It’s a great introduction to more structured tennis, with lots of games, fun and stars to be collected.

“It’s for players aged 10-and-under, played on mini courts with slower, softer balls. It is a fun way to start tennis and makes it easy for children to play the game, develop good technique and tactics and a love for the sport.

“In using slower balls and shorter racquets, on the appropriate sized court, all young players are be better placed to serve, rally and score from their first experience of tennis.”

So far in 2013, there have been six Cayman National Tennis Tens events. The seventh and final event will be held at the Paul Howard Courts this Saturday, Nov. 16. The fun kicks off at 3 p.m. for 7-year-olds and under, and at 4 p.m. for ages 7-10.

Watkins said: “This final Tennis Tens event could be the perfect opportunity for a kid who’s never played before to come along and give tennis a try.

“The equipment’s all provided, the session is free, kids are made to feel really welcome, there’s tons of encouragement and positive reinforcement … so what’s not to like?”

The Paul Howard Courts were created through a collaboration between the Howard family, the Tennis Club and the Tennis Federation of the Cayman Islands. The facility, situated just north of the Yacht Club on the east side of the West Bay Road, includes a bathroom and a pavilion.

For more information, call Thomas Neuert at The Ritz-Carlton on 323-0086 or Cayman Tennis Academy on 547-6257.

Thanks to sponsorship by Cayman National for a programme called Tennis Tens, there is also free tennis coaching in Grand Cayman for players of all abilities in the 10-and-under group.

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