Judy Murray has called on women in the region to become role models in their communities and be part of a nationwide drive to inspire more girls to play tennis.
Murray was speaking at an event in Coombe Dingle in Bristol today (Wednesday) on behalf of She Rallies, an organisation that she founded with the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) two years ago to retain and increase the number of female players and coaches across the UK.
The She Rallies event which saw over 100 teenage girls take part in a range of tennis activities and 60 women trained to become She Rallies Activators - volunteers tasked with running community based tennis programmes for girls - was one of a number taking place across the country over the summer. The events are part of a drive to recruit 2,500 women from a range of backgrounds to train as Activators over the next 12 months, with around 400 expected to come from the South West.
Judy Murray, founder of She Rallies in partnership with the LTA, said:
“It’s been a fantastic day and really showed the passion in this part of the world to get more women and girls involved in tennis. Having positive female role models as coaches, particularly at community level is absolutely vital to achieving this.”
“We’re calling on women across the region who want inspire girls in their local communities to pick up a racket and play the game to get in touch with us. You don’t have to have a background in tennis to be involved, just someone who is passionate about giving girls the opportunity to take part in the game and all the fantastic benefits that can bring – and it’s all free!”
The scheme has the backing of the LTA who are looking to double the number of female players over the next five years. The aim is to close the gap between the amount of male and female coaches in the UK by providing a range of mentoring and support programmes for female coaches and those who want to get into coaching.
Julie Jones, South West Regional Participation Manager, LTA said:
“She Rallies is a vital part of our strategy to increase the number of female coaches and players. It was great to see girls from a range of backgrounds enjoying being out on court and the enthusiasm of the volunteers who can now go out to their communities and start delivering tennis programmes.
We know that having more female coaches will help encourage more girls to play the sport at all levels and the Activators have a key role in helping us achieve this aim.”
The She Rallies Activators will be trained to deliver a number of programmes aimed at girls between the ages of 5 to 16, including Lil Miss-Hits a tennis starter programme for 5 and 8 year olds and Teen Girls’ Starter Tennis days which provides team activities for groups of teenage girls and an introduction to the skills needed to play tennis.
A number of local courses are taking place for women over the age of 18 to train as She Rallies Activators. To find out more to sign up for a course visit sherallies.com/get-involved/