OnCourt ball kids is a scheme being piloted at the Portsmouth Tennis Centre. The aim of the scheme is to locally increase ball kid opportunities for children aged 11-16 that don’t usually get a chance to see this side of tennis. The scheme is run by our very own ball kid coach Benjamin Mason who is also a ball kid coach for the children that perform at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals.
The journey of being a ball kid helps promote and learn leadership qualities, how to work as team and also improves sporting attributes such as speed, balance, agility and most importantly hand eye-coordination. The ball kid pathway is not one that can be explored by most young aspiring tennis players so this scheme really helps bring another side to the sport that isn’t just playing and competing. With links to officiating and tournament organising, players can find ways in which this scheme can link into other sides of tennis. The Barclays ATP World Tour Finals is likely to move to a different country once its contract expires in December 2015 so the Oncourt ball kid scheme will be the only scheme in the country that allows local children and aspiring tennis players to be on court with the stars.
Our team has just started their training and are all fully enticed. One ball kid when asked said “I’m surprised how involved we are in the game and that it’s truly not what I expected. It’s not what everyone thinks it is when they say it’s just ‘picking up tennis balls’, its fun, enjoyable and I would recommend it to anyone.”
The head ball kid coach Benjamin Mason has desires for the scheme to hit a national scale. He believes that it is a good way for Parkwood to increase it’s links and fantastic work with the LTA as tournaments such as the local county championships would reach another level of atmosphere if the finals were ball kidded by the Oncourt ball kids.