county tennis venue wall mural of players and the centre

The return of county tennis training

It’s been great for the children being back at tennis. And for the adults – a chance to catch up on all the news since lockdowns, and get some fresh air.  N’s team is back playing, with 3 matches under their belts, they’re enjoying themselves and while there are covid rules, it’s really back to normal for them.

For N, last year had meant county tennis training was first postponed, then cancelled. He had been put forward for the Tennis Oxfordshire county training squad. Four three hour sessions were due, but they only made one in early March before the lockdown started. We weren’t sure what would happen this year with county training. Whether N would get the chance again to attend.

Moving up a stage to under 10s/green is a move to full size courts, and moving to a faster ball is a big step.  Last year, only managed to play in 1 matchplay tournament, and was ill for the only team match that happened. So he didn’t have many results for them to look at his recent form. But in April we got another email inviting him to attend this year’s new county training sessions.

He was also asked to standby for the county cup match in case of injuries. Typically he was then invited to an overnight party that same weekend, so we’ve assumed that it’s unlikely he’ll be needed (fingers crossed).

The first of the three sessions has passed. N didn’t seem nervous, I think I was more nervous for him.

It’s the anticipation. A bit of worry that he might not be up to the standard they expect. His recent form isn’t looking great, as his tennis club is just over the border. In a county where the standard of tennis is generally higher than the standard in our county. In the last match he played, he only got 2 games against the opposing number 1, who turned out to be one of their county players (we also only play second division in the league compared with players he’s beaten in our county 1st division). 

county tennis venue wall mural of players and the centre

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Because of covid restrictions and them playing indoors at the tennis centre, parents weren’t allowed to watch.  The sessions have also been cut down to 1 ½ hours so all the age groups boys and girls are split out into different timings. So I headed off for a walk into the town, then sat and had some lunch in the car until I could pick up.

N was buzzing when he came out of his session. He loved playing indoors without the wind to adapt to.  There were a couple of the boys who were quite friendly, and another one like him who’d only just started in the county training squad.

He seemed really positive about how he played. The coaches gave people tips. He enjoyed that the session ended up focusing on doubles play which he really likes due to all the volleying. Evidently his serve went really well, and he thought he played much better on the indoor surface. Probably because the group was focused on working hard on their tennis. Rather than the chit chat they all have a tendency to do at his group lesson where there’s more of a mix of abilities and interest in tennis.

I’m glad he didn’t feel out of his depth. I know he’s a hard worker, and the focused training will really help his game.

They focus on different aspects of the game and shots in each session. So this one was about consistency, depth and doubles.

With N having county training, he had to miss the team match. Of course it turned out to be the one match that his team won convincingly 5-1. Including getting some very good results. It’s a shame that there was a clash because N could do with having a couple of wins under his belt. But he said it was definitely worth missing because he would gain more from doing the training session.  He also said it was good because it meant all of the team have now won at least one match since they started playing. It’s always a good boost to their confidence.

N’s already looking forward to the next training session in June. He’s also looking forward even further to the county tennis festival in August. Two years ago we didn’t know about it. But children who have done the county training are expected to take part. I have that week off work, so hopefully he’ll be able to get an entry.

Roll on more tennis over the summer.

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