Budding tennis players in Cayman Brac recently benefited from the coaching expertise of Neil Fernandez of The Courts Tennis Centre in Grand Cayman.
Fernandez coached students from schools on the sister island during a visit in June arranged as part of the Cayman Brac Schools’ Programme, which has been sponsored by law firm Walkers for the fifth year running.
During his time there, Fernandez put the students, aged 6 to 14 years old, through their paces at West End Primary School, Layman E. Scott Sr. High School, Creek Primary School and Spot Bay Primary School.
The primary school children took to their school field and used red dot balls and 21-inch racket for 45-minute sessions of hand-eye coordination drills, movement drills, relay races and throw and catch.
The high school students were able to use the green and orange dot balls and larger 26” junior rackets. They practiced speed, fitness and ground stroke drills throughout a 90-minute session.
Fernandez reported that all the children showed enthusiasm and interest in the game of tennis, with many demonstrating natural athletic skills and some real talent for the game. A large number of the students had not played the sport before and having the opportunity to work with a visiting coach was exciting and inspiring.
“A number of the high school students are athletic, physically able to play tennis, and they have the fundamentals already,” he said, adding that he believes with further training and support they would be able to progress nicely.
Track and field, swimming and soccer are already popular amongst children in the Brac. The visit helped generate interest in another sport. As Fernandez put it, “When there is so much interest, there is potential.”
Susan Lindsay, the president of the Tennis Federation of the Cayman Islands noted the importance of the initiative.
“The Walkers tennis programme has seen the development of tennis coaching and playing in the Sister Islands’ schools, which has been supported by coaching visits from Grand Cayman pros. The long-term aim is to train up school P.E. teachers in the Brac to teach tennis, so that tennis can become part of regular P.E. classes,” she said.
“Organising and providing free tennis coaching to government school children is an important part of what the TFCI does.”
Walkers’ Partner, Antonia Hardy added that they are pleased to provide children in the Brac with the opportunity to play tennis and learn more about the sport from a seasoned coach.
“It is great to see the level of enthusiasm as the kids interact with each other while keeping fit and being active. Walkers is always happy to support youth and health in the Cayman Islands,” Hardy said.
News source: CBS