By Ros Satar, in Birmingham
- Judy Murray was joined by over 150 women and girls in the Midlands as part of the She Rallies initiative
BIRMINGHAM, UK – Judy Murray brought She Rallies to Birmingham during the Nature Valley Classic to help recruit more women into tennis coaching and inspire more girls into the sport.
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Over 150 women and girls from a range of backgrounds in the Midlands joined Judy Murray on court in Birmingham at the Nature Valley Classic on Thursday as part of a nationwide drive to recruit women into tennis coaching and inspire more girls to play the sport.
Murray was speaking at the Nature Valley Classic, held at the Edgbaston Priory Club on behalf of She Rallies, an organisation that she founded with the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) two years ago to retain and increase the number of female players and coaches across the UK.
Girls from two local primary schools and four Academy schools in the city took part in a range of tennis activities and 70 women from across the Midlands were trained to become She Rallies Activators – volunteers tasked with running community based tennis programmes for girls.
The new She Rallies Activators later got a chance to catch Wimbledon Champion Garbiñe Muguruza in action at what is now one of most prestigious tournaments on WTA (Women’s Tennis Association) tour.
The event, which followed the LTA’s Women’s Coaching Conference in the city in April was one of a number taking place across the country over the summer to help recruit 2,500 women from a range of backgrounds to train as Activators over the next 12 months. Over 400 are expected to come from the Midlands.
Murray, founder of She Rallies in partnership with the LTA, said: “It’s been great to see the drive and enthusiasm of today’s new She Rallies Activators, who will go on to inspire more women and girls in the region to play tennis. It’s crucial to have positive female role models as coaches as this can help get more girls into the game.
“She Rallies is a fun and free way to start achieving this aim and we’re calling on women everywhere to join us. You don’t have to come from a tennis background, just someone who is passionate about giving girls the opportunity to take part in the sport and all the fantastic benefits that can bring!”
Talking to her during the session, she told Britwatch tennis editor Ros Satar that it is important to have initiatives for just women, where the atmosphere is focussed on collaboration and sharing of ideas with women and girls not feeling inhibited to participate.
Claire Brown, Head of Midlands LTA said: “She Rallies is a vital part of our strategy to increase the number of female coaches and players. It was great to see girls from a range of different backgrounds enjoying being out on court and the enthusiasm of the volunteers who can now go out to their communities and start delivering tennis programmes.
“We know that having more female coaches will help encourage more girls to play the sport at all levels and the Activators have a key role in helping us achieve this aim.”
The She Rallies Activators will be trained to deliver a number of programmes aimed at girls between the ages of 5 to 16, including Lil Miss-Hits a tennis starter programme for 5 and 8 year olds and Teen Girls’ Starter Tennis days which provides team activities for groups of teenage girls and an introduction to the skills needed to play tennis.
A number of local courses are taking place for women over the age of 18 to train as She Rallies Activators.
To find out more to sign up for a course visit sherallies.com/get-involved/
The Nature Vally Classic continues with play starting at 11:30am BST.
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