Ace up CTA’s sleeve

Campaspe News - - SPORT - By JESS GLEDHILL

CAM­PASPE Ten­nis As­so­ci­a­tion pres­i­dent Daryl Poole ad­mit­ted there has been a drop off in the num­ber of peo­ple play­ing ten­nis.

How­ever the play­ers at Echuca Vil­lage Ten­nis Club are de­ter­mined to wel­come new mem­bers next sea­son and may need to look to­wards the ju­nior age group to achieve this.

Lock­ing­ton Ten­nis Club’s re­cent ju­nior dou­bles tour­na­ment saw more than 70 young play­ers take to the grass and hard courts.

And Poole said Echuca South and Rochester Ten­nis Clubs are con­tin­u­ing to see strong num­bers in their coach­ing ses­sions and the CTA’s ju­nior com­pe­ti­tion has 32 teams spread across its three di­vi­sions.

‘‘Rochester has peo­ple like Lisa My­ers who are com­mit­ted to de­vel­op­ing ju­nior play­ers and we have a grow­ing ju­nior con­tin­gent at South un­der the coach­ing of Alenka Hubacek,’’ he said.

‘‘There’s a fair few kids out there play­ing ten­nis which we don’t even know about.’’

Poole hoped even greater num­bers would emerge in the Satur­day morn­ing com­pe­ti­tion as play­ers from Echuca and sur­round­ing ar­eas con­tinue to get in­volved.

And as­so­ci­a­tion sec­re­tary and Echuca Vil­lage club pres­i­dent Tim Har­ley agreed, adding the in­cred­i­ble strength of the ju­nior com­pe­ti­tion was a tes­ta­ment to the en­joy­ment peo­ple get from play­ing the game.

How­ever, there were con­cerns, as with a num­ber sports, for the need to re­tain ju­nior play­ers and pro­mote greater par­tic­i­pa­tion in the se­nior com­pe­ti­tions.

‘‘The week­end com­pe­ti­tion def­i­nitely faces its chal­lenges with so many sports com­pet­ing for the in­ter­est of play­ers,’’ Har­ley said.

‘‘But even then, the abil­ity of the sport to hold its ground and con­tinue to grow speaks vol­umes — Cam­paspe Ten­nis As­so­ci­a­tion pres­i­dent Daryl Poole, pic­tured, be­lieves de­vel­op­ing young play­ers is crit­i­cal to en­sur­ing com­pe­ti­tion’s fu­ture. about how much peo­ple love the game.’’

Har­ley be­lieved ten­nis was one of the most at­trac­tive sports around as the game suited all abil­i­ties and eas­ily fit­ted into a per­son’s busy sched­ule.

‘‘You don’t have to com­mit the whole day to ten­nis,’’ he said.

‘‘The af­ter­noon com­pe­ti­tion runs from 1pm and is usu­ally fin­ished around 5pm.

‘‘Ev­ery player is friendly and happy to en­joy the so­cial as­pect as well as the ten­nis and it’s just as much a men­tal sport as it is phys­i­cal.’’

Ten­nis not only pro­motes added health ben­e­fits, such as in­creased bone mass, car­dio­vas­cu­lar health, co-or­di­na­tion and strength, it also al­lows peo­ple to con­tinue play­ing well into their later years.

Har­ley played rugby in his youth for al­most 15 years, how­ever turned to ten­nis as it was more suited to his busy life­style and caused less strain on his body.

Dis­abil­ity is no bar­rier to the game as Dy­lan Al­cott show­cased when he won the 2016 New­combe Medal – awarded for out­stand­ing achieve­ments in Aus­tralian ten­nis – and in­spired many in the process as the first wheel­chair ten­nis player to re­ceive the hon­our.

‘‘Coun­try ten­nis has al­ways been a strong in­sti­tu­tion and our league is proof of that,’’ Har­ley said.

‘‘Ten­nis is a com­mu­nity game and the fact that we have so many clubs is a tes­ta­ment to that.

‘‘Ten­nis de­vel­ops con­fi­dence and teaches in­valu­able les­sons of sports­man­ship, team­work, friend­ship and healthy com­pe­ti­tion and also teaches you to han­dle stress ef­fec­tively.’’

Op­por­tu­ni­ties to play are avail­able through­out the re­gion, with lo­cal leagues such as the CTA and Goul­burn Mur­ray Lawn Ten­nis As­so­ci­a­tion run­ning week­end com­pe­ti­tions and in­di­vid­ual clubs such as Echuca Lawn Ten­nis Club and Rochester hold­ing mid­week games for so­cial play­ers.

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