There aren't many sports that I can sit and watch and suddenly find myself itching to participate in but I have to say that tennis is one of those cherished few. It's almost certainly connected to the controlled aggression and the satisfying thud as ball meets racquet - and you get to hit it so hard!
Well, in my case, when you actually CAN hit it... my efforts invariably involve me spending far more time wildly flailing a racquet skywards as the ball whizzes past my ear. And when you watch the professionals bobbing from one side of the court to the other it doesn't look like the marathon effort it actually turns out to be in reality, particularly for someone with the fitness levels of an elderly sloth.
Every year I vow to get myself some lessons so I can actually spend time on a tennis court doing something other than bending down to pick up the ball, and as my children are definitely showing more of an interest this year I might just get them involved too. Apparently tennis can significantly help children’s brain development as it requires mental alertness and logical, tactical thinking (already I see where I am going wrong).
It is true though that tennis develops strong limbs and joints, which can lead to greater body strength and endurance as children get older. It also improves flexibility, hand -eye co-ordination and speed.
Fortunately, Southend has a variety of tennis clubs who can cater for all needs, ages and skill levels.
Southend Lawn Tennis Club in Thorpe Bay is a family orientated club welcoming new members and guests of any ability. The Club plays in local, District and County leagues and has five floodlit all-weather courts meaning all year round tennis. They have a thriving junior section including coaching sessions, and has a busy social scene offering something for the whole family, whether tennis minded or not.
Kent Elms Tennis Club in Aviation Way, Southend is owned by its members and competes in the Leigh and Westcliff Tennis League. Although a small club with around 75 members it has excellent facilities, running ten summer and ten winter teams. They have a modern clubhouse and hold several social functions throughout the year and also offer coaching adapted to your own individual skill level.
At the other end of the scale Thorpe Bay Lawn Tennis Club, just off the sea front, is affiliated to the Essex Lawn Tennis Association. As one of the largest tennis clubs in the County it has been the venue for the Essex County Junior Closed championships for over thirty years. With a membership of around one thousand, catering to all ages and standards in a number of membership categories, the club can offer sixteen courts, four floodlit plus a modern pavilion. There is a thriving social element which in this Centenary year makes full use of the bar, function area and catering facilities of the club. There are numerous Centenary Events planned including a Concert and Picnic in the Club grounds (14th July), Charity Pro Am Tournament and Exhibition Match (15th July) and a Masked Centenary Ball planned for September. They also run a comprehensive Junior programme throughout the year.
David Lloyd Leisure is renowned for tennis, and the Southend club has five indoor and five outdoor courts. Top level coaching is available for both adults and children, and the club prides itself on having a world class junior tennis club. Named "Tennis All Stars" it boasts tennis lessons designed by some of the best children's tennis minds in the world. Whatever your age and skill level, David Lloyd promise top class facilities and friendly professional coaches.
Of course, Southend Leisure and Tennis Centre at Garon Park also has Indoor and Outdoor Tennis Courts and can offer both courses and individual coaching for all ages and abilities. For full details, call 01702 613000.
So whether you're looking for public facilities or a private members club; large or small; competitive or social... Southend definitely has this racket covered!