Among the various conditions necessary to do a good job, what Tennis World Foundation (TWF) needs the most are foresight and passion of school leaders. Without their collaboration, it would not be easy to involve children who have yet to understand the value of having discipline. Fortunately, TWF has found fertile ground at the Ikahya primary school in Kayamandi, South Africa.
Thanks to the collaborative efforts with Mr. Mr. Thulani Nofemelo, the principal of the institute, the development program has been able to take place. From the first time TWF reached out to him, he has shown that he knew and understood the educational value of sport and the joy it can bring to those who practice it. Notoriously considered a sport “for the rich”, tennis has entered perfectly into the Kayamandi school.
The children did not know it, for them it was the first time with rackets and balls in their hands, but their joy has been contagious. Since our first visit, they have welcomed us with smiles, cheerful songs and joyful faces. On the other hand, it has also been proven that every type of physical activity guarantees a positive effect on children’s health.
Tennis, in particular, is very suitable for their growth: in addition to the play-making itself, it is a sport focused on technique and it significantly develops neuromotor skills, much more compared to simpler sports. Seeing their involvement first-hand, believe us, is very rewarding. Our teachers conducted a series of interviews with the children: we realized that many of them cannot explain in words, with rationality, because they love playing so much. Therefore, they limited themselves to expressing their joy through singing and with participation full of enthusiasm.
It means that they need to improve their expressive ability, and tennis is certainly the appropriate discipline to help them do this. The project is currently in its “Phase 1” stage, focused on a generic introduction to tennis. This involves children becoming familiar with the ball, developing eye-hand coordination and getting used to holding a complex tool like the racket.
This is on a practical level, while at a theoretical level they learn the general rules of the game. The latter aspect, of course, is treated in a fun and participatory way.
At the end of the first phase, a group with the 24 best students will be identified: they will be the components of the school’s first tennis team.
Tennis World Foundation is proud of the collaboration with Mr. Thulani Nofemelo, as well as proud of the evolution of the project. We can’t wait to contribute to the growth of children, without fear of everyday life but with the joy of learning a wonderful sport like tennis.