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Byron Shire
November 30, 2021

Indigenous tennis program in Tweed nets young talent

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Pro One Tennis Academy coach Patrick Ganet with development program participants Zaden Phillips, Tkeyah Henderson and Lilandra Henderson. Photo Tweed Shire Council
Pro One Tennis Academy coach Patrick Ganet with development program participants Zaden Phillips, Tkeyah Henderson and Lilandra Henderson. Photo Tweed Shire Council

Twelve young indigenous children in the Tweed are showing their natural talent for tennis under a free, eight-week coaching program which has given them a chance of a lifetime to become champions in the game.

Tennis Australia recently gave the Pro One Tennis Academy at Arkinstall Park, Tweed Heads, a $2,000 grant, through its national inclusion program, to enable it to offer the free coaching sessions.

And it appears to be unearthing some great talent in the group of kids aged seven to 12.

‘They are very coordinated and with little instruction they are really picking up the game, it’s quite amazing,’ Pro One manager Natasha Kersten said.

‘They are super talented but without this program many would not have the opportunity to play,’ Ms Kersten said.

‘We chose to target indigenous kids because there were a number of Aboriginal children who were coming to the complex but did not have the money to play.

‘They helped us contact other kids who might be interested in getting involved.

‘They love it. They keep coming back and that’s the biggest sign they’re enjoying it.’

The program’s weekly sessions are introducing the kids to fundamental racquet and balls skills.

‘Hopefully we can get them to a point where they can play a rally and then join a Friday night competition,’ she said.

‘This group will be followed by another eight-week program in the fourth school term, then hopefully something next year.

‘We will probably open it up older kids as well, and have two groups going.’

Pro One Tennis Academy has managed the regional high performance tennis facility at Tweed Heads South since it opened in May 2015, after Tweed Shire Council completed a $7.7 million upgrade of Arkinstall Park.

 


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