Netball has NetSetGo, rugby league has Safeplay and in AFL it’s Kids First. Now, in an effort to introduce more young children to the sport, tennis in Nelson Bay has Hot Shots.
Hot Shots, which aims to turn drills into fun tennis games played on half a court, has proved to be a popular hit with youngsters since commencing at the Nelson Bay Tennis Club.
According to club president Rod Stubbs, brother of Australia’s longest serving Federation Cup player Rennae Stubbs, the Nelson Bay Hot Shots and the junior tennis academy are part of a concerted effort by the club to recruit younger members.
“In 2017 the average age of our competition players was 50, this year it is 28 so we have come a long way in a short space of time to achieving our goals,” Stubbs said.
“The club currently has around 65 junior members compared to 235 in the seniors and we hope to boost those junior numbers at all ages and levels.”
Nelson Bay has always been a good breeding ground for upcoming young tennis players but the challenge is to keep them once they reach the ages of 15 and 16.
Head coach Blake Denison has taken on the responsibility of growing the tennis academy while improving the skill level of payers.
“I am very proud of the work ethic from the junior academy which has been reflected in the outstanding improvements and results at recent competitions and tournaments,” he said.
“All these players started from the basic lessons similar to what is involved in the Hot Shot program and their hard work and dedication is paying off. We now have a number of highly valued and skilled team players who are performing well around the state.”
Nelson Bay’s Saskia Maurashat, just 13 years of age, is currently ranked 780 in Australia and continues to build on confidence while playing the women’s circuit.
Other members to be making a mark in the junior category include Lachlan Stubbs, the nephew of Rennae, Jessica West, Jack Blanch, Oliver Custer, Allanah Galloway and brothers Zac, Harley and Harrison Watson.
“Children can start as young as age four and with the warmer weather fast approaching we are seeking to boost our numbers in all levels,” Denison added.
“New members are welcome to play with one of the existing social groups, or join one of the regular comps which are played usually on a Monday or Tuesday night.”
Nelson Bay Tennis is holding a family fun night on Friday, September 21, at the courts located behind the Nelson Bay Bowling Club carpark, from 4.30-6.30pm. All are welcome.
The club has eight courts which are floodlit for night time play, a barbecue area and a Pro Shop which is fully stocked with racquets, tennis gear, drinks and snacks. A restringing service is also available.