Wimbledon’s here again. We’re half way through the tournament and the standard of tennis, as always, is amazing – almost unbelievable.
During a Wimbledon fortnight, I once heard the Lawn Tennis Association’s CEO state on the Today Programme on Radio 4 that “we need to get a racket in every child’s hands”, a sentiment I and many other racket sports aficionados would endorse. However, he was, as is so often the case, talking the talk, not walking the walk.
There is very little point in putting a racket in children’s hands if they are given no guidance or help as to what to do with it. What children would like to do – and parents and teachers like to see – is successful RALLYING.
Hundreds of tennis coaches go into schools during lessons or after school clubs, but very few, if any, succeed in getting a class of 30 rallying simultaneously. “Slow” tennis balls (there is no such thing incidentally), sponge balls, airflow balls etc are used but they largely reinforce failure and demoralise their classes, since beginners rallying with such missiles is virtually impossible.
Balloons are more likely to have some success but only plusballs ensure a more genuine and realistic rallying experience because of their more even parabola and speed (balloons hold up in the air, wobble and are generally too slow). Also important is the satisfying thwack sound a racket makes hitting a plusball which is absent with rubber balloons.
No wonder two of the strap lines we use are Rallying for All and Because beginners want to rally too.
Simply try them if you want long rallies for beginners to result.