Message from the Programme Director on the Free ‘Parks Tennis Play at Home’ Programme

 

 

 

The teaching of fundamental movement skills has become an integral part of Dublin Parks Tennis programmes. It has long been recognised that when these skills are highly developed in childhood there is a much greater likelihood that children will continue to engage in sport or, indeed, other physical activities.

In other words, the more highly developed the child’s movement skills the more they will enjoy participating in sport, the better they will perform, the less likely they are to be injured, thereby increasing the likelihood of their continued participation.

The result will often be a healthy and active lifestyle, often lasting a lifetime.

Two significant examples will give you an insight into my train of thought:
1. A recent nationwide study of two thousand primary school children by a DCU research team came up with these findings:

  •  Only half of these children could kick a ball properly
  •  Less than one in every five could throw a ball properly
  •  One in four could not run properly
  •  Their skills in running and jumping plateau and stop progressing at the age of ten

2. The world-renowned Belgian coach Ivo Van Aken, whose protégés include Kim Clijsters and Justine Henin, emphasised to our National Academy coaches and children that mastery of the biomechanics of movement skills is a prerequisite for all with aspirations towards becoming high-performance players.

While most of us can only dream of the dizzy heights reached by those players, improved movement skills will greatly impact on our enjoyment of playing sport or engaging in other physical pursuits.

At a time when the prospect of on-court activity during the summer months seemed remote, Dublin Parks Tennis engaged Liam Cassidy to compile an online programme as an alternative. This online programme will begin its presentations shortly and will be known as ‘Parks Tennis Play at Home’.

In my opinion, it is a work of outstanding quality and creativity. It will bring Parks Tennis to the attention of a range of parents and children hitherto unaware of its existence.

Liam is steeped in the ethos of Parks Tennis, having come through its ranks as participant, coach, and supervisor. He is a Level 3 coach who has worked with players of all levels for the past twenty-five years and is currently coach developer to the Tennis Ireland Coach Education Programme.