An ace experience for Coffs Harbour Indigenous youth at the Harbour Tennis Academy

The free program provided students with six weeks of group coaching and tennis equipment.

 

THE Harbour Tennis Academy has been serving up skills and drills to a new generation of tennis players from the Coffs Harbour Indigenous community.

A six-week program provided Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth with an opportunity to learn the basics of the game in a friendly and familiar environment.

Experience was varied amongst the group of 13 orange ball participants and four teens, but it didn’t take long for the beginners to find their feet.

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“My kids liked learning new skills, making new friends and trying something new that they haven’t tried before,” said parent Casey Reid.

The program allowed the group’s more experienced students to take their game to the next level.

“It was a good way for her to advance her skills in the game, build confidence and learn from other coaches,” said parent, Fiona Webb.

“It’s been a lot of fun getting away from the traditional sports that our kids usually play (and) a really good way for her to explore her natural sporting ability and talents,” Fiona said.

Operating out of the Westside Tennis Club, which is on Gumbaynggirr land, the free program provided students with six weeks of group coaching and tennis equipment, including a racquet.

“It’s been wonderful to see so many new families come along to our tennis club and it’s been a great opportunity for the kids to have a good go,” said coach, Nardia Pade.

The students were buoyed by the support of their local Indigenous community.

“Uncle Richard Widders has been instrumental in getting information out and as a Garlambirla Guuyu Girrwaa Aboriginal Elder he conducted the Welcome to Country for this program,” said head coach Allan Pade.

Uncle Richard said the program had been a wonderful and fantastic experience for the young people.

“I asked the kids who wanted to continue into next term, and they all cheered yes, with a few saying they want to go on and become the next Ash Barty,” Uncle Richard said.

A number of students have already signed on for term two.

“I feel passionate about tennis now.

“It’s fun, you can meet new friends,” said 10-year-old Nat.

The Coffs Harbour Indigenous Tennis program was funded by the ATP Cup Legacy Fund and is one of five participation programs being piloted across NSW in 2021.

Category three funding seeks to grow the game of tennis by providing funding for targeted programs aligned to participation growth.

 

The Coffs Harbour Indigenous Tennis program was funded by the ATP Cup Legacy Fund.

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