A Great British Tennis Weekend

by Coach Aidan Elmore

On the Middle Sunday of the Wimbledon Championships, Hylands ran an Open Day in support of the Great British Tennis Weekend which is a nationwide campaign designed by the LTA to support tennis venues and attract more players by offering FREE trial opportunities to play. Since beginning in 2013, thousands of tennis clubs up and down the country have run GBTW events, enticing hundreds of thousands of people to play tennis. We provided the equipment (racquets and tennis balls). The only thing players needed to provide was comfortable sports clothing and a positive attitude.

The day started at about 9.30 am as we set up the mini nets and equipment ready to delivery many free trial sessions.

First on court were the Mini Tennis Tots, ages 4 to 6, started at promptly at 10 am and we kept the emphasis of fun. Following from the warm up. We progressed onto the main activities. I worked with Coach Dan on one court while coaches Alfie, Evie and Tennis leader Sophie worked on a different court. Dan led on the “Line Game” which is a high energy competitive game in which the aim is to learn what the names of the lines are called by being the fastest to react and reach the line that is called; this is a very popular game with children and young people of any age as it is an energetic game, improves reactions which is an important skill needed for tennis such as the ability to react to serves and it teaches the correct terminology of different areas of the tennis court. The session also included some very basic racquet and ball skills and some Fundamentals of Movement.

Next on was the Red ball group consisting of 7 and 8-year olds and we focused on introducing the basic for their forehands and backhands. Learning a good technique at an early age is very important. We also included a warm down of dodgeball as this game is not only great fun but it helps improve awareness and agility.
From 11.30 am to 12.30 pm we welcomed the Mini Tennis Orange & Green groups their ages ranging from 9 to 12. As players in these groups are a bit older we focused on feeding the ball over the net with a response of a forehand or a backhand instead of a drop feed. The line game was also used as a warm up for these two groups also.

We also included lots free play in the time between 10 am and 1pm, This provided participants with the opportunity to practise what they had learnt or simply to have some friendly rallies with their families and friends.

Overall, my impression was that welcoming children and young players while keeping the emphasis of ‘fun’ helped to make the whole day a rewarding experience for the 55 children and young people who attended. As a club known for its open access we welcomed all individuals equally regardless of disability, race, gender, age or ability in tennis as this enables us to widen access to tennis in the community. Tennis is seen by some people as an expensive sport to pursue and by providing Tennis for free days, free trials to our Learn and Play Programme, Satellite Clubs and tennis festivals we show that we are are making tennis accessible to everyone regardless of their personal means.

The coaching team is always keen to support this kind of initiatives and we are pleased to be part of a club which is so welcoming and we look forward to running this event again next year.

LTA Coach Aidan Elmore



My 10kms run

Running and raising funds by Aidan Elmore

In late April, via a Facebook link, I found out that on 2 July 2017 there would be a charity 10 kms run in Newham London on 2 July, and it was to raise money for Worldwide Cancer Research. Immediately, I signed up.

As an enthusiastic runner and currently competing at Havering Athletics Club I was eager to take part. Also, my Grandad had sadly passed away in late March due to cancer and I thought I would use my love for running to raise funds for Worldwide Cancer a worthwhile and important cause close to my heart.
A week later, I received an email from the event coordinator that I had to raise at least £200. Considering I have never done any fundraising by myself before this seemed like a challenging task. However, through helping with various fund raising activities as a member of Hylands and the motto "If you think you can, you can" I learnt through gaining my Jack Petchey Achievement award, I accepted the challenge. Initially, I set up a page on Just-Giving and I received my first donations from my auntie, my parents and also via my tutors at my college. Seeing my progress, I received my vest, fundraising resources and identification pack which contained my tracker.

I shared my page on social network platforms such as Twitter and Facebook but apart from positive messages from friends, I only received one more donation and with only a month left until my run this started to worry me a bit. Therefore, I prioritised offline donations and I ran a Bake Sale at my college to raise some funds on 26th June. I baked homemade vanilla and chocolate cupcakes and the Bake Sale was a huge success raising £48.

Meanwhile, my training went smoothly as I consistently ran at least one weekday evening doing hill runs near my home and I regularly completed 5 kilometre park runs every Saturday morning at Harrow lodge Park. As many say, without persistence you will not achieve. In hindsight, I should have done more long distance runs like 8 kms to fully prepare my endurance as I didn't do these until the final week before the big event. Luckily, when I was on the start line I had my older brother with me who promised he would run at the same pace as me for most of the run.

I would highly recommend anyone to take part in this event as it is an incredible experience as the route takes one past all the iconic -2012 London Olympic Games- facilities such as the velodrome, the orbit, the aquatics centre and of course the athletics stadium which was the best part as that is where Mo Farah and Jessica Ennis won gold for Great Britain on that unforgettable Super Saturday on 5 August 2012.
When I reached the end of the race, I put all my energy into sprinting across the line raising my arms in the air and crossing the finishing line with a sense of relief. I felt thrilled for accomplishing what I had set out to do. Another thing I enjoyed about the run was the music being played, drums beating and the cheers from charity supporters which really kept me motivated and made the experience even more fulfilling.

The only thing I didn't enjoy was the fact my brother, as a more experienced runner, beat me by about 30 seconds getting away from me with about 1000 metres left but I am sure I will do better when I run against him in another 10 kms run next year.

Finally, I would like to mention special thanks to Hylands Community Amateur Sports Club and specifically Giorgio, Alfie and Steve Thomas respectively who helped raise vital extra funds for the charity as I reached in total £316.45 beating my target of £235 by nearly 35%.


LTA Quorn Family Tennis Cup at Hylands

Hylands tennis club hosted the Quorn Family Tennis Cup Red Ball competition on Sunday 30 April. The competition format is based on tennis doubles pairing children 10 and Under with a family member. The event at Hylands was won by Nathan-Luke Duka with his dad Altin who narrowly beat Dylan Davies playing with his dad Paul . The winning pair earned the opportunity of a day out at a Quorn Family Tennis Cup event held on the qualifying weekend of a LTA grass court major event in May or June. Each pair will have the chance to play against other winners on the day as well as watch the professional players in action.

Our club administrator, Giorgio said:

“We welcome the opportunity of hosting this type of events as they align perfectly well with our ongoing objectives to facilitate tennis for children and their families. We are grateful to Quorn for their generosity and to the LTA for endorsing this informal and fun event, which was well received by local families. As a way of reaching out to the community, this season we will also be running two satellite clubs on Fridays and Saturdays which allow young people to access tennis without the requirement for a membership."



Sport and youth leadership- can sport and young people create a perfect synergy for mutual benefits?

Leadership is an important characteristic every individual should learn about. Leaders are expected to perform at their best in every field of life as a whole group is attached to them and they will be affected by their performance. There are many examples of successful leaders who have acknowledged how sport has played an important part in their upbringing. Over the years, research has shown that sports and leadership skills in youth have a significant connection. Here are some key leadership skills that can be developed in young people as a result of being involved in sports.











1. Communication skills

Being able to communicate well is probably the most important of all life skills. At a tennis club, there will be different people to communicate with and different styles of communication. Good communication can help to develop and maintain solid relationships with peers at all levels. You may also have come across many sports leaders who have used communication skills as a way of persuading others. Communication is one necessary skill if you want to become a successful leader and you want others to follow you. By the same token, in a sports environment like Hylands you need to put the benefits of others before you. If you can clearly deliver your message positively, you will be able to build trust and inspire others to support your proposals. In a tennis club you will need to choose your media formats carefully to keep everyone involved and always remember that communication is a two way process which also implies listening actively and showing empathy.

 2. Organisational skills

If you have great communication skills, they will not work until and unless you can use strategic ways to solve the problem. If we talk about tennis, it also involves several strategies that need to be used one time or another. For example, you may have to balance many tasks efficiently as well as effectively. Being organised can help you save time and reduce stress induced by last minute actions. For example, you may have to organise a competition or social event and assess what resources and logistics are available to you so that you can plan ahead to make sure your event runs smoothly. Some people are born with an innate ability to think and act in an organised fashion. For others, these skills can be acquired through training and experience. At Hylands tennis leaders are offered regular opportunities to develop their organisational skills by running recreational events.

 3. Teamwork

This may be the most obvious skill set that a leader should have but it is often overlooked. A team that works well together will know and understand the strengths and weaknesses of each team member. It is one thing to join a team but quite another to work effectively as a team. Team members need to consider the needs of each other and they have to work in a productive way to achieve their goals. Put simply teams do not work well without teamwork. Where a team can work with enthusiasm and share common interests and responsibilities they can develop the glue that will hold the team together. In a club teamwork is essential when supporting initiatives and activities. When tasks are successfully completed, teamwork can promote a sense of achievement. Not all teams are made up of friends. Nonetheless, teamwork has the potential to foster a fulfilling and meaningful way of working with one another.

 4. Discipline 

We all know that we cannot achieve anything without discipline. We need to have it in our life and sport provides the perfect opportunity that teaches us how to learn and maintain discipline. It can be argued that discipline is a way of life. It is not limited to those who have much or those who have little. It is more of a personal orientation towards life. It is a habit and not an adaptation in life and as such it can be practised to achieve a better life. Regular attendance in sport naturally develops a sense of discipline. It can also assist to remain focused and develop more self control. Being disciplined can also help to develop regular habits over exercising, eating patterns, waking and sleeping. Studies have revealed that parents who are plugged in the lives of their children are often instrumental with proper guidance and self discipline techniques.

All of the above are crucial elements to develop leadership skills in a young person. A regular involvement in sport provides an ideal exposure that helps in this creation process. At Hylands, completing a Tennis Leader Awards course provides an ideal entry at foundation level to develop one or more of the above skill set. 

Are you 13 to 18 and keen to know how to become a Tennis Leader at Hylands and support the coaching team, club officials and volunteers in widening access to tennis? Then contact the club’s administrator for more details.

Adriano Giordano

Hylands Volunteers Involvement Programme 

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A two-edged-sword experience in sport and leadership

A friend recently described a two-edged-sword experience with his own son with regard to sport and leadership. Though revolving around swimming, the message with regard to tennis or any other sport might be similar. 

The son started off life extremely extroverted, and talented. The son also started learning to swim via a water babies’ programme, before he was one year old. At age 4, the son joined a local swim club. The club was described as one that trained to a high level, but was gentle and supportive of the kids. And it made sure to mix socialisation, and mutual support, into its programme. After a final practice session before a swim meet, after the kids had trained hard, they would segue to a poolside social session over food, drink, and supportive talks that went beyond any narrow focus on the upcoming meet. The son relished that environment. He became reasonably competitive as a swimmer, but looked to the sport club in a win-win fashion as the club did to all its members. The son looked forward to practice and meets – which his parents attended, and supported by serving as backup timekeepers. Then the family had to move, as dad’s job changed. His new school had a swim team – a requirement for the new school set by both parents and son. What they didn’t know was that, though the school had a warm and nurturing environment to go with academic excellence, the swim team practiced and competed more like a euphemistic stereotypical military organisation than like a more well-rounded child-centred one.


The son immediately got turned off by the “cold” win-lose unsociable environment of the swim team, and quit. The son, being resourceful, increased his emphasis toward music for a means of expression. But, of course, there was never a need for an “either-or” situation: sport and another pursuit such as music make a fine blend of interests – each with their own complementary benefits.

The message for us? Let’s help to keep Hylands as an environment where youth, and families, can enjoy sport, and the leadership experience that comes with sport in its broader context of healthfulness, intellect, camaraderie, and joy de vivre (pardon my franglais) – and overall support for the whole child. To complement the “virtual” world of “social networking” we can provide social networking, and more, via a “real” world.




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