Fundraising plays a key role in supporting the work that the Tennis Foundation carries out across the country to get more people involved with the sport – and in 2018 one young tennis coach will be going the extra mile to support Great Britain’s leading tennis charity.
A coach based at Polo Farm Sports Club in Canterbury, 17-year-old Harry Carter is passionate about tennis and has become a big supporter of the charity and its work to give opportunities to others to benefit from the sport as he has.
He has seen, first-hand, the work that the Tennis Foundation carries out which is benefiting his local community and as a result he was keen to get involved with supporting the charity by raising funds to help it continue its work.
Having taken up coaching last year at the age of 16, Harry now leads recreational sessions for juniors between the ages of four and 15 at his local club in Canterbury, Kent.
“I’ve been through the coaching system quite recently, and I’m still being taught myself, so the kids find it easier to talk to me because I can relate to them,” he explained.
“They’re really enjoying it. Some of them get a bit upset when they can’t get the ball over, so at the younger ages it’s my job to simplify it for them, and they love it.
“I’ve been a level two coach for 10 months now. It was tricky at first but now I’ve got to know the kids, it’s a nice atmosphere and it’s good fun for everyone involved.”
When Harry’s coach recommended he fulfilled his Duke of Edinburgh Award voluntary work requirements by training as a tennis coach, he began his learning and hasn’t looked back since.
But while earning his qualifications, the teenager was inspired by participating in one drill that simulated playing with a visual impairment to experience what tennis was like for blind players.
Visually impaired tennis is one area of the sport the Tennis Foundation is helping to develop as part of its work to make tennis a sport which is inclusive and accessible to all people and communities. Motivated to begin fundraising for the cause, Harry hopes to raise money to help the Foundation purchase tennis equipment and make sure that the sport remains inclusive for all players.
“A lot of the equipment isn’t cheap – that made me want to raise money for the Tennis Foundation for those people who otherwise aren’t as able as others to get involved so that they have everything they need to join in,” he said.
“At Polo Farm, we don’t have much equipment, so it’s difficult for us to help some players, and it’d be great if we were able to do that.”
Inspired to do something to help, Harry will be taking on a huge personal challenge in the Spring.
“Later this year I’m running the London Marathon to raise money, and I’ll be wearing a Tennis Foundation t-shirt to help increase awareness as well.
“I know that I enjoy the sport and there will be plenty of other individuals who will enjoy it too, so why shouldn’t they have the opportunity to play?”
“It’s about spreading the word as well to make sure people are aware that the help that can be provided is there.”
As he nears the end of his first year as a coach, Harry has aspirations of staying in the sport once he finishes his education, and he, therefore, knows the importance of inclusion.
“In the future, I want to be a tennis physiotherapist, so what I’m doing now is allowing me to gain the experience of teaching correct techniques so that I can go through and see how players have injured themselves, then help them change their technique.”
His experience at such a young age is paying dividends, and the more funds that are raised on behalf of the Tennis Foundation by people in tennis like Harry, the more work that can be carried out to open up the sport to new people.
To support Harry’s fundraising efforts visit his Just Giving page