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UK Coaching Team
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Judy Murray - Role Model Coaches in the Home

Judy Murray OBE takes us through her thoughts on how the current coronavirus situation is driving coaching at home; seeing it as a source of opportunity and inspiration

I’ve always been a huge advocate of parents as the secret and hidden workforce in coaching.

Across the country so many people, who may have never considered themselves ‘coaches’, are leading physical activity sessions for their households every day of the week.

Whether it’s Mums leading “Joe Wicks” sessions with their kids, or older brothers and sisters organising obstacles courses or football training in the garden, all over the nation we are seeing coaching take off.

It may be a tough time that we are going through as a result of coronavirus but, in adversity, there is at least an opportunity - and these challenging circumstances are actually proving to be a catalyst for a whole new generation of home coaches.

In my sport, I often hear parents say, 'I don’t play tennis' and so they don’t think that they are able to help their kids to learn.

Well, of course they can! We just have to show them how by sharing online activities that are easy to follow, easy to do, and develop the skills you need to play tennis.

Show them games and exercises that can be played in small spaces using household objects and toys is the way forward – right now! No racquet? No court? No net? No problem!

It is said that necessity is the mother of invention – and that is what we are seeing now and I’m loving it.

Sometimes circumstances can trigger inventive approaches - that’s a lot of what we are seeing now and I think it is great.

I often tell stories of the games that I dreamed up when Jamie and Andy were small. It was just me trying to keep two energetic boys active and engaged when it was raining or when we didn’t have money to go to the swimming pool. I had no ideas that they were actually genius ‘skill builders’.

There was ‘kitchen table tennis’ - where cereal boxes were the net and the biscuit tin lids were the racquets. I used to watch them do that and saw how they worked out how to control the ball through trail and error.

When I need the table for dinner, they sat or kneeled on the floor to play. It showed me that when you took the legs out of the game, all the focus is then on the upper body. Now when I teach kids to serve, I always start them from a sitting or kneeling position for exactly that reason.

All of the tennis programmes that I’ve created over the years always include ‘family sessions’.

During this lockdown, I do think parents assuming the role of the teacher in home schooling will help them understand better how their kids learn - and how challenging it can be educating your own children – but, you know them better than anyone, so who could be better to coach them?

I think we are going to come out of this crisis in a much stronger place and it is going to be a really great opportunity for sports clubs and coaches to bring communities together.

This is another big week on social media for the Judy Murray Foundation (JMF).

We try to have a different theme each week to appeal to different user groups and this week we are focussing on ‘families’.

The JMF takes tennis into rural and deprived areas of Scotland where people don’t have money to pay for coaching.

We build workforces in local communities so that many more kids, teens and adults can get started. It is all about making our sport more accessible to more people and we are aware that there is less opportunity in these areas and, often, less physical activity and more obesity.

Therefore, we invest in people. We even try to network people, organisations, and facilities – sports centres, schools, village halls or youth clubs – to develop an ongoing programme of family tennis sessions.

Tennis is the number one family sport so let’s take advantage of that and provide sessions and workshops for parents and grandparents.

For me it’s about finding local ‘pied pipers’ in the community, who can lead sessions and inspire people to take up a sport or physical activity and who can create an environment where families can thrive.

We are seeing so many more people providing a form of coaching to their families now as a result of the lockdown and we must see this as an inspiration and an opportunity.

For more information on the Judy Murray Foundation visit www.judymurrayfoundation.com or follow @JudyMurrayFdn on Twitter or on facebook @judymurrayfoundation, where you will find fun tennis games for all the family to get involved in.

You will also find some useful information at the following sites:

https://miss-hits.co.uk/ - fun starter tennis for girls age 5-8

https://miss-hits.club/ - online course for starter coaches. Perfect for parents and club members, teachers and students as well as coaches of other sports

@miss_hits on twitter and on instagram @miss-hits tennis for girls 

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Related Resources

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  • Communicating with Parents

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