(CNS Local Life): A tennis pro from Grand Cayman coached students on Cayman Brac last month, arranged as part of the Cayman Brac Schools’ Programme. Neil Fernandez from The Courts Tennis Centre visited the Brac to coach local high school and primary students to improve their tennis skills. During his time there, Fernandez put the students, aged 6 to 14 years old, through their paces at West End Primary School, Layman E. Scott Sr High School, Creek Primary School and Spot Bay Primary School.
Walkers law firm sponsored the visit for the fifth consecutive year.
The primary school children took to their school field and used red dot balls and 21- inch rackets for 45-minute sessions of hand-eye coordination drills, movement drills, relay races, and throw and catch, stated a press release.
The older students were able to use the green-and-orange dot balls and larger 26” junior rackets. They practised speed, fitness and groundstroke drills throughout a 90-minute session.
Fernandez noted that all the children showed enthusiasm and interest in the game of tennis, with many demonstrating natural athletic skills and some real talent for the game. A large number of the students had not played the sport before and found the opportunity to work with a visiting coach “exciting and inspiring”, stated the release.
“A number of the high school students are athletic, physically able to play tennis, and they have the fundamentals already,” Fernandez said, adding he believed with further training and support they would be able to progress nicely.
Track and field, swimming and soccer are already popular amongst children in the Brac. For them to be able to hold a racket and hit a ball is something different and interesting, he said, noting, “When there is so much interest, there is potential.”
Susan Lindsay, president of the Tennis Federation of the Cayman Islands (TFCI), said, “The Walkers tennis programme has seen the development of tennis coaching and playing in the Sister Islands’ schools, which has been supported by coaching visits from Grand Cayman pros.
“The long-term aim is to train up school PE teachers in the Brac to teach tennis, so that tennis can become part of regular PE classes. Organising and providing free tennis coaching to government schoolchildren is an important part of what the TFCI does.”
Walkers partner, Antonia Hardy, added, “We are pleased to be able to provide children in the Brac with the opportunity to play tennis and learn more about the sport from a seasoned coach. It is great to see the level of enthusiasm as the kids interact with each other while keeping fit and being active. Walkers is always happy to support youth and health in the Cayman Islands.”