Today sees the end of a hugely successful summer season of juniors tennis at Queens Park Tennis Club. Coach Jimmy Smith and his team have hosted six weeks of holiday camps, welcoming as many as 200 young people to our club.
Many are repeat customers, while for dozens of children this was their first introduction to the game of tennis. Jimmy has also run a juniors competition against Preston Park and countless one-on-one lessons for young players.
“These camps are very popular with parents”, says Jimmy. “It’s a chance for kids to exercise outdoors in a fun and safe environment. They clearly enjoy themselves, and the word of mouth has been fantastic. Kids come for a day and want to stay for the week.”
This is good news for QPTC on so many levels: for the coaches, the club and the kids themselves.
QPTC director Conrad Brunner: “Factoring in siblings, we can estimate that approximately 100 different sets of parents brought their kids to QPTC this summer, which means 100 positive interaction that might not otherwise have happened.”
“Also, it’s great to have such a large volume of children playing tennis. Many will continue to play – joining Jimmy’s popular year-round weekend groups – with several going on to become really good tennis players. This is important future planning for Queens! Katie Moorman, Sam Waller-Carr and Leah Brunner are just three examples of local kids, learning the game here, who now play Queens 1st team tennis to a high standard.”
The sale of ice-creams has been significantly up, but a more important benefit of holiday camps has been the large number local youngsters who have helped out as assistant coaches.
For Alice Moulds, 17, a QPTC junior member in her last year at Brighton College, this has been her summer job. Alice – along with brother Jojo, who also helped out – was planning to do her LTA Level 1 coaching course this summer but this was unfortunately postponed due to Covid-19.
“Alice is brilliant with the kids and is now a very capable and experienced youth coach, learning valuable life skills along the way,” says Jimmy. “She’ll make an excellent tennis coach if that’s what she wants to do.”
QPTC junior members Isaac Brunner, 15, and sister Leah, 18, (LTA Level 1) both put in long hours over the summer.
With extra help still needed, our very own Bruno Girardeau – a Level 2 LTA coach – has played a key role, stepping in to help out over the last four weeks.
“When the kids come in you can see they’re really looking forward to it,” says Bruno. “It’s been a real learning curve, keeping them all busy and active. Very satisfying – but four weeks is enough for me!”
Two young helpers show how this can be a development pathway. Dylan Caddick, 12, and Lorian Chadwick, 12, were holiday camp kids themselves who were then invited by Jimmy to help out as assistant coaches in the final weeks, making valuable contributions.
Adult QPTC members Nick Clarke and Lia Posman both put in shifts over the summer.
“On behalf of the QPTC directors, I’d like to say a big ‘Thank You’ to Jimmy and all his team for their commitment and professionalism this summer,” says Conrad Brunner.
Autumn 2020 Tennis Camps at QPTC, Monday 26-30 October. Contact Jimmy Smith to book.
Click here for details of Autumn coaching programme at Queens Park Tennis Club