Improving lives through tennis

Hi there!

My name is Wencke Schmitz and I'm a 19-year-old student from Germany. This summer I wanted to go to England to meet new people, learn a new culture and improve my language skills. I was glad when I found a summer job as an assistant coach at Premier Tennis because I love to do sports and especially playing tennis.

Now I have nearly finished my internship and I'm very pleased that I went abroad.

First of all, I met new people like the coaches, kids and parents from Oxford, as it turns out they were from all around the world and it was very inspiring and interesting to talk to them. The coaches were very friendly and passionate about playing tennis and coaching the kids. I learned a lot from them and developed my language and coaching skills and myself. I enjoyed working with the children and they respected me even though I'm not a native speaker and it was fun to play and to teach tennis. It was wonderful to work outside and to share my passion with the kids. I felt comfortable working with Premier Tennis and appreciate that they cared about me feeling good whilst being in Oxford and working at the tennis camps.

I joined three weeks of tennis camps at the Dragon school, some camp days with 30 kids and some with 80 kids. There were five days of tennis during the week and at the end of Friday the kids were playing a lot of matches. Every day they were improving their tennis skills and playing a lot of sports. Whilst playing tennis the kids developed some core values like working together in a team at the country games, fair play, motivation, tactical thinking and coordination. There is more than one tennis coach for each group of kids. Due to the tennis coaches swapping groups every hour the kids were able to benefit from different views and coaching skills. Above all there is great fun while playing tennis and games. We spent the time together on the court and in the breaks so the kids are meeting new friends. By the end of the first day, you can see that they were looking forward to seeing the other kids on the next days.

One main aspect I enjoyed whilst working at the tennis camp were the other tennis coaches. They are very friendly and professional tennis coaches and I learned a lot from them. We were quite an international team. Not only British but also Spanish, French , Portuguese , Romanian and Polish coaches worked at the camps. It was very interesting to talk to them and it inspired me to want to travel and to learn different countries and cultures. It was great fun to work together in a team and share our passion to do sports and play tennis.

Women's Sport Week 2017

Yesterday marked the start of Women’s Sport Week 2017 and with Wimbledon just around the corner, there is plenty to look forward to this summer. Here at Tennis Oxford, we take a look at 5 influential women in the world of tennis.

 

Jelena Ostapenko - French Open Champion, 2017

5. Jeļena Ostapenko was crowned French Open Champion, 2017 after defeating Simona Halep in the final, 4–6, 6–4, 6–3. This was Ostapenko's first WTA Tour-level singles title. She became the first Latvian player of either sex to win a Grand Slam singles tournament, the youngest woman to win the French Open since 1997, and the first woman since the 1979 Australian Open to win a Grand Slam event as her first tour-level singles title. Ostapenko was the first unseeded woman to win the French Open since 1933, as well as the lowest-ranked (47) since computer rankings began in 1975. It just goes to prove that anyone can reach the top if they are persistent!
 

Johanna Konta - British No. 1

4. Johanna Konta, British No.1 has been flying of late and has burst into the top 10 world rankings. Currently placed at World No.7, Johanna became the first British woman to win the Miami Open and has also taken the title at the Sydney International, not to mention a semi-final finish at the Australian Open last year. She will be looking to improve on her current best Wimbledon singles result of 2nd Round and we will be supporting her every step of the way!


Judy Murray - OBE


3. Judy Murray, mother of the current World No. 1, Andy Murray, won 64 titles in Scotland during her junior and senior career, and decided to have a go at the professional tour in 1976. She has coached multiple players at regional and national level under the auspices of the British tennis governing body, the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA). In December 2011 she was elected to lead the British Fed cup team as their captain. She is widely admired within the sport and was recently awarded an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honors List for her services to tennis, women in sport and charity.

 

Steffi Graf - 22 Grand Slam Singles Titles

2.  Steffi Graf claimed 22 Grand Slam Singles Titles in her career, 4 Australian, 6 French, 7 Wimbledon, 5 US Open before being entered into the Tennis Hall of Fame in 2004. Her record 377 weeks ranked as World No. 1 is a record for any player, male or female. In 1988, Graff became the first player to achieve what is regarded as the calendar year Golden Slam by winning all four majors plus the Olympic Gold Medal in the same year, a remarkable feat. From the late 1980s to the mid-1990s, there was no one better than Graf, and when she retired in 1999, she was still ranked number three in the world. Were it not for the long and storied career of Serena Williams the case would be made for Graf as the greatest of all-time. While many will continue to debate Steffi versus Serena as the greatest female player of all-time they were both incredible players who dominated their era and advanced women's tennis.

 

Serena Williams - 39 Grand Slam Titles

1.  Serena Williams became World No. 1 for the first time on July 8, 2002. On the sixth occasion, she held the ranking for 186 consecutive weeks, tying the record set by Steffi Graf for the most consecutive weeks as World No. 1 by a female tennis player. Williams holds the most Grand Slam titles in singles, doubles, and mixed doubles combined amongst active players. Her record of 39 Grand Slam titles puts her third on the all-time list and second in the open era: 23 in singles, 14 in women's doubles, and 2 in mixed doubles. She is the most recent female player to have held all four Grand Slam singles titles simultaneously (2002–03 and 2014–15) and the third player to achieve this record twice after Rod Laver and Steffi Graf. She is also the most recent player, together with her sister, Venus, to have held all four Grand Slam women's doubles titles simultaneously (2009–10). She is widely regarded as the greatest female tennis player of all time!

Mental Health Awareness Week

According to the Mental Health Foundation, it is estimated that 1 in 6 people will have experienced a common mental health problem within the last week.

In a recent study based on the UK population, it was found that almost two thirds of people reported experiencing a mental health problem at once stage in their lifetime.

With only a small minority of people (13%) reporting to be living with high levels of good mental health, we take a look at how tennis can help to improve your mental welfare.


Physical activity has been linked strongly with an improved state of mental health. When we exercise, chemicals known as ‘endorphins’ are released in our brain, it is these endorphins that help us to achieve a good night’s sleep, improve our focus and concentration, boost our levels of self-esteem and above all they raise our mood and make us feel better.

So whether you have had a good day or a bad day, if you need to let off some steam or if you simply want a reason to get outside and enjoy the sunshine then why not pick up a racket and join us on court for some tennis!

Here at Tennis Oxford, we are running coaching sessions for all ages and ability levels, so if you want to sharpen up your groundstrokes, put some punch into your volleys and fine-tune your serves then why not book onto a session today?


 

A day at Wimbledon

We are lucky enough here, at Oxford Parks Tennis, to have a long standing partnership with Give It Your Max - a charity dedicated to introducing and teaching tennis to children. It is through their support that we are able to go into primary schools in Oxfordshire and provide tennis coaching to children between 5 and 10 years old.

On Tuesday, we were invited to take one very fortunate youngster for a special day of tennis at Wimbledon.

Kieran and his mum joined coach Ralph at a day hosted by the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club. There was a session playing on the courts where all the pros warm up during the Wimbledon Championships, led by Dan Bloxham, the Head Coach at the club. Dan is a Level 5 coach who while putting the children through their paces, also gave the coaches who attended an insight into the methods he uses while running sessions as part of the Wimbledon Junior Tennis Initiative.

 

All our coaches are committed to enhancing their skills, so they can help you improve your game and Ralph made the most of the opportunity to network with his peers as well as pick up some new ideas from Dan, which he can use during his sessions, both in schools and Parks.

Everybody was then treated to a 'behind the scenes' tour of Wimbledon. Even for those, like Ralph, who have been lucky enough to visit during the tournament, seeing the grounds when they are empty and quiet was very special.

The cathedral like hush on Centre Court was a bit different to the atmosphere during a typical Mini-Red session!

We wanted to say a huge thank you to Give It Your Max for an inspirational day and for the chance to continue to spread the love of tennis in our own community.

Mini, Junior and adult competitions coming to Witney!

Playing tennis competitively can be a fun way to test your skills on the court and we have teamed up with local referee Oluseun Durowoju to offer a full competition schedule for players of all ages.

The competitions will be held on the Leys Recreation Ground, Witney, an excellent facility next to our community café, The Coffee Shed. There will be medals for winner, runner up and bronze positions for all mini and junior tournaments. There will also be a best behaved award for mini boys and girls tournaments and a certificate of attendance for mini players that play all their matches in the tournaments.

April 2017 Schedule (please click on the text to book for the competition via the LTA website).

2nd April - Mini Red/Orange /Green

9th April - Juniors U12/14/16

16th April - Mini Doubles U9 and U10 

23rd April - Men and Women Open Singles

30th April - Mini Red/Orange/Green Beginners.

If you have any queries, please contact Olu on refoncourt@yahoo.com 

Social Play does the Australian Open

SUNDAY29TH JANUARY AT 1 PM

We love our weekend social play sessions - they are a great opportunity to jump on court and play a load of friendly doubles sets, make new friends and see how your tennis skills are shaping up. 

From time to time, we also get inspired by what's going on in the wider tennis world and with the Australian Open final this Sunday, we've decided to get a bit more competitive.

There will still be doubles at Social Play, but this time it's serious, with your scores counting towards your grand total for the afternoon. There will be prizes,  and even a visit from a marsupial, seldom seen in the Oxford Parks...

Intrigued? I should think so!

 

Please book your places for tennis as normal at Parks Tennis, and come along feeling fired up on Sunday 29th January at 1pm! We might not be able to promise the Melbourne sunshine, but we can muster up a warm welcome.

Coach training in Abingdon

A number of the Oxford Parks coaches took part in some CPD training with Growing the Game, supported by the Lawn Tennis Association. The session saw a number of coaches coming together to share ideas and learn from Nick Elliott, Director of Growing the Game. The session focused around delivering adult coaching sessions with mixed ability players and the coaches can't wait to bring their learning back to the parks!

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Santa Tennis at Florence Park


SUNDAY 18TH December 1 PM

Our now-traditional (on the grounds that if you do it more than twice, it's a tradition), afternoon of Santa Tennis is swiftly approaching.

It's Social Play, but wearing Christmas accessories, so dig out that Santa hat or reindeer antlers and come on down to Florence Park on Sunday 18th December at 1pm.

Please do bring an edible treat to share and we will all warm up with a hot drink at San Remo cafe afterwards! Friends and family who aren't playing tennis are still all very welcome to join us for the post-tennis jollity - we will finish playing around 3pm. So even if tennis with frozen fingers is not for you, we can still get together for a small Oxford Parks Tennis seasonal celebration.

Please book your places for tennis as normal at Parks Tennis, or come along at 3pm, if it's just the mirth, merriment and mince pies you're after!

Treats for the tennis player

One of the great things about playing tennis, is that it's always easy for friends and family to know what kind of gift is going to hit the spot with you. No stocking of mine is ever complete without a shiny new tube of tennis balls and the promise of one of my family joining me on court to test them out!

But just in case your nearest and dearest might want to branch out, or if you think they might be in need of a subtle hint, here's the Parks Tennis Guide to some great tennis presents - enjoy!

Regular balls a bit too ordinary - how about some personalised ones?

 

A new grip always feels good to play with and these overgrips from Alien Pros come in really fun, funky designs. Free shipping too.

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Small, but mighty, a QLIPP tennis sensor would be an amazing gift. It clips on to your racket and when paired with your phone, gives you masses of data about your strokes. Speed, spin, sweet spot - you can monitor it all and pair it with video analysis to see how your forehand, backhand, volleys and serves are shaping up.

New tennis clothes are always a good option - there's so much to choose from, but how about proudly showing your allegiance to Oxford Parks Tennis with some of our own branded kit - lots of styles and colours to choose from, for men, women and children. It's delivered direct to you, so no hassle either!

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If you are more of a fair-weather sportsperson, you can always hunker down inside with a good book. Some tennis related titles to get you started:

Open: An Autobiography by Andre Agassi
Winning Ugly by Brad Gilbert
Double Fault by Lionel Shriver

Or prepare for next season with some fitness equipment - how about a skipping rope, or perhaps a foam roller for stretching out those post-tennis sore muscles.

Whatever Santa brings, we hope he also leaves some dry weather and the chance to get out on court and play tennis over the festive season!

 

Tennis helps you live longer!

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Well, we all knew that, right?  We’ve long known that tennis has all sorts of physical, social and mental benefits, but now it’s official!  Reporting in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, some clever people at Oxford University have conducted a study of the exercise habits of over 80,000 adults aged 30 and above across some 25 years, and concluded that racket sports (and tennis in particular) helps you live longer… yay!

So, as well as being lots of fun, as well as helping you socialise with people, as well as delivering cardiovascular benefits, as well as releasing endorphins that trigger positive feelings, tennis reduces our mortality rate at any given age by almost 50%.  That’s just the best not-so-new news we’ve heard all year.

Why don’t you read the full article for yourself, we’re heading out on court to hit some balls and enjoy life to the full…