Judy Murray has called on Welsh women to become role models in their communities and be part of a UK 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 100 expected to come from Wales.
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 Wales and the South West 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.
Over 200 girls have taken part in the first year of the She Rallies programme in Wales and a number of She Rallies Ambassadors from the Principality were at today’s event running tennis sessions for local school children and sharing their experiences of being part of the nationwide initiative to get more girls playing.
Pam Griffiths National Participation Manager, Tennis Wales added:
“She Rallies is a vital part of our strategy to increase the number of female coaches and players.
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.”
“We’ve made great strides in the first year with girls from as far as Abergavenny to Tenby taking part in the programme. We’ve also trained 100 Activators in Wales and are linking up with Girl Guiding Cymru so that we can deliver the programme on a wider scale.”
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/