Judy Murray has called on women in Scotland to become role models in their communities and be part of a UK wide drive to inspire more girls to play tennis.
Murray was speaking at an event in Galashiels today (Friday) on behalf of She Rallies, an initiative that she founded with the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) two years ago to retain and increase the number of female players and coaches in Britain.
The She Rallies event at the Borders Tennis Centre saw over 30 girls from local primary schools, 30 teenagers from Galashiels Academy and 40 girls from local clubs take part in a range of tennis activities. 60 women were also 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 over 350 expected to come from Scotland.
Judy Murray, founder of She Rallies in partnership with the LTA, said: “Today’s event has really demonstrated the incredible drive of those in Scotland to get more women and girls playing tennis. I believe it’s vital to have positive female role models as coaches, as this can help inspire girls in the local community to pick up a racket. We’re calling on women across the region who’d like to help us in this mission to get in touch. 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 and Tennis Scotland 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.
Over 300 have already been trained in the first year of the She Rallies programme in Scotland and a number of She Rallies Ambassadors from across the country were at the event running tennis sessions for local school children and sharing their experiences of being part of the nationwide initiative to get more girls playing.
Doc McKelvey, Head of Development from Tennis Scotland, added:
“She Rallies is a vital part of our strategy to increase the number of female coaches and players in Scotland. 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.
“Judy is such an inspirational female role model for aspiring coaches. Having more female coaches can help encourage more girls to play the sport at all levels and the Activators have a key role in helping us achieve this.”
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 16 to train as She Rallies Activators. To find out more to sign up for a course visit sherallies.com/get-involved/