The summer tennis is approaching and our ever-strengthening tennis teams of all ages will be taking inspiration from Year 13s Emma Cobby, who has been representing Devon in a recent inter-County tournament at the famous Nottingham Tennis Centre, and has been helping to bring on some of the younger players in the schools’ Tennis Programme. Here she explains where her passion for tennis started and offers some advice for up and coming tennis players.
I was originally introduced to tennis at my primary school through an outreach programme, run by the Tarka Tennis in Barnstaple. Having been identified as being someone with potential, I was asked to come along for lessons, and that is where it all began.
Tennis development has been a long progress. I attended a great deal of tennis sessions and was entered into competitions with some of the boys to represent Tarka. Since then I have been competing regularly, which is a really important part of my development.
The Tennis Programme at school has been a great success and is really important in introducing the game to young players and bringing on those who are keen to improve. It has also recently given me the opportunity to practice my coaching skills and allows the teams to practice together for the benefit of the school.
For young players who wish to develop further, practice is vital but what will make them better is to play competitions against other players and Mrs Thompson organises a number of fun and competitive competitions both within school and against other schools and clubs.
My advice to young players is that tennis is as much a mental game as it is physical. It is you against one other person. When it is not going well you have to be able to change things and not give up. In one of my recent matches at the Nottingham Tennis Centre, against Leicestershire, I was down 6-1 down in the tiebreak and won it 8-6. It is not over until the final point.
I hope that all my experience can help the school team to success. I hope I add some calmness and confidence that allows all of the other teams to play their best.
Head of tennis, Mrs Thompson, adds a footnote update on the Tennis Programme: