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Tennis turmoil as kids abandon game

Thursday, 24th February, 2011

GAME, SET AND MATCH: Emma (8) and Luke (10) Hocking are upset at the prospect of not being able to play tennis due to a shortage of participants. GAME, SET AND MATCH: Emma (8) and Luke (10) Hocking are upset at the prospect of not being able to play tennis due to a shortage of participants.

By Kurtis Eichler

First it was cricket now junior tennis in Broken Hill is in "dire straits", according to the Broken Hill Tennis Association.

The Association's president, Peter Keenan, said that last Saturday night was meant to be the first night of the Summer Competition but only six juniors showed up.

He said the co-ordinators will give it go this week in the hope that numbers improve. If they don't, junior tennis will finish.

At the weekend, 10 learners attended the coaching class but that class is in trouble owing to the availability of the two coaches.

"Last year there were 30 to 40 juniors playing on a Saturday night in the summer comp," Mr Keenan told the BDT yesterday.

"That concluded in late April but when the spring comp started in October, the 10-week comp was disrupted with bad weather as five weeks were washed out, thus causing the numbers to drop off as the juniors lost interest.

"Now we find with the start of the new year and the interest, or shot in the arm normally generated by the Australian Tennis Open, played in late January has not happened and junior tennis like a few other sports in Broken Hill is in trouble with the lack of numbers.

"Kids nowadays have lots of options and things to do and more often than not, sport is not on their agenda.

"During the 1980s there were five or six coaches working in Broken Hill and junior tennis had more than 20 teams and 120 kids playing but now there is no-one coaching the juniors except for the Saturday night guys and they only coach the beginners. 

"So for the juniors to progress, without coaching, through the grades they find it difficult.

"We badly need someone or a few people to coach. Tennis NSW is always conducting clinics throughout the state for coaches and hopefully in the very near future, we can send someone."

Eager young tennis player Luke Hocking said he loved the game and would be upset if it came to an end.

"I got bored last week when there were only six here," the 10-year-old told the BDT.

"It's pretty good."

His mother, Sue Trenaman, said Luke had been playing for close to four years and her daughter Emma, 8, had been involved in the coaching sessions.

"They do need new kids in the competition," she said

Junior tennis will start at 5.45pm on Saturday at O'Neill Park.

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