Tennis: Davis Cup team heads back to school

Marcus Daniell and Michael Venus of New Zealand at the Rio Olympics. Photo / Getty Images
Marcus Daniell and Michael Venus of New Zealand at the Rio Olympics. Photo / Getty Images

The Asia/Oceania Group 1 Davis Cup tie between New Zealand and Pakistan at Wilding Park this weekend (16-18 September) will have many youngsters keeping a keen eye on progress and cheering on the home team.

In the build up to the event, the team of Mike Venus, Marcus Daniell, Rubin Statham and Finn Tearney are going back to school and paying a visit to Waitakiri Primary School, Burwood tomorrow (Wednesday 14 September), to spread some inspiration and tennis knowledge to the lucky students.

Tennis New Zealand's national programme NZ Post Tennis Hot Shots will be the star of the show, with the professional players and the students grabbing smaller racquets and using softer, super-hittable balls on shorter courts designed especially for kids aged 3-12.

Since launching nationwide in 2013, NZ Post Tennis Hot Shots has given over 190,000 children a positive experience on the tennis court. The philosophy of the programme means that kids learn tennis through play, exploration and teamwork (rather than just standing in line and waiting to hit a ball).

The kid-friendly equipment means that young players are able to develop all the skills of the game that an adult player would whilst using a court, racquet and ball that suits their age, height, strength and stage of development - arming them with skills for life, not just tennis.

NZ Post Tennis Hot Shots is delivered in schools, at clubs, by professionals in coaching programmes, and in tournaments/competitions too. In fact there are 22 Hot Shots programmes running in Christchurch alone, and around 1000 children are already regularly involved at their local clubs.

The New Zealand Davis Cup team will be on the playground on Wednesday 14th September giving some lucky students tips on their tactics, technique, movement and mental focus. This will be followed by a Q&A session where students will get to ask the players some all important questions and find out what it was like to play at the Olympics this year (Venus and Daniell). The visit will be 9.30am - 10.30am.

NZ Post Tennis Hot Shots is just one of three national tennis programmes designed to get more kiwis active and into tennis. Joining the flagship kids' programme is Cardio Tennis - an energetic calorie burning workout for anyone interested in getting a sweat-on (whether they play tennis or not!), and Tennis Xpress, an adult beginner programme with a focus on getting adults to serve, rally and score so they can enjoy the game with friends, family and other people they meet through the 6-week course.

The Asia/Oceania Group 1 Davis Cup tie between New Zealand and Pakistan will be held 16 - 18 September at Wilding Park with the winner of the contest remaining in the strong Group 1.

- NZ Herald

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