A must experience for Coffs Harbor Indigenous youth at Harbor Tennis Academy – News Of The Area
LA Harbor Tennis Academy has provided skills and drills to a new generation of tennis players in the Aboriginal community of Coffs Harbor.
A six-week program allowed Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth to learn the basics of the game in a friendly and familiar environment.
The experience was varied among the group of 13 orange balloon participants and four teenagers, but it didn’t take long for newbies to find their feet.
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“My kids enjoyed learning new skills, making new friends and trying something new that they had never tried before,” said parent Casey Reid.
The program allowed the more experienced students in the group to take their game to the next level.
“It was a great way for her to hone her skills in the game, gain confidence and learn from other coaches,” said mom Fiona Webb.
“It has been a lot of fun getting away from the traditional sports that our kids usually play (and) a really good way for her to explore her natural athletic abilities and talents,” said Fiona.
Operating out of the Westside Tennis Club, which is on Gumbaynggirr land, the free program offered students six weeks of group coaching and tennis equipment, including a racquet.
“It was wonderful to see so many new families joining our tennis club and it was a great opportunity for the kids to have a lot of fun,” said coach Nardia Pade.
The students were supported by the support of their local indigenous community.
“Uncle Richard Widders was instrumental in disseminating the information and as Indigenous Garlambirla Elder Guuyu Girrwaa, he led the Welcome to Country for this program,” said head coach Allan Pade.
Uncle Richard said the program has been a wonderful and fantastic experience for the young people.
“I asked the kids who wanted to continue for the next term, and they all clapped yes, with a few saying they wanted to continue and become the next Ash Barty,” Uncle Richard said.
A number of students have already registered for the second term.
“I feel passionate about tennis now.
“It’s fun, you can meet new friends,” said Nat, 10.
The Coffs Harbor Indigenous Tennis Program was funded by the ATP Cup Legacy Fund and is one of five participation programs being piloted across New South Wales in 2021.
Tier 3 funding aims to grow tennis by providing funds for targeted programs aligned with participation growth.