Carman Elementary students enjoyed their introductory tennis lessons from Tennis Manitoba instructor Marlon Goldburn. Here, he talks to them about safety and the importance of not waving your racket around when you don’t need to.

Courtesty of Emily Distefano, The Carman Valley Leader

Carman Elementary School students were treated to a 2-day tennis clinic last week.

CES’s physical education specialist Gordon Stobbe found out through Tennis Manitoba that they were offering school clinics as a way to introduce grassroots tennis to communities, and he thought it would be a great opportunity for Carman kids.

“I think that tennis can be a lifetime sport and it’s a great way for kids just to try a new skill,” he said. “We’ve got wonderful tennis courts that we don’t see an awful lot of kids on, so maybe this will be a seed-planting opportunity.”

Marlon Goldburn, a community development manager at Tennis Manitoba, came out on April 15 and 16 to teach students in grade one through six the fundamentals of the game.

“My goal in going around to communities like this is to plant that seed, to do my part for the Sport for Life model and add another notch of physical literacy to the kids’ knowledge base. And to help grow the general tennis population,” he said.

Progressive tennis model

He explained that Tennis Manitoba uses a progressive tennis model that includes modified equipment like smaller rackets, low-bounce balls, and mini nets.

“Fortunately for kids in this era, there is what we call progressive tennis equipment, like balls that bounce slower,” he said. “So they allow the kids to get to them and they’re not just hitting a green ball that a pro would use and spending half a day chasing it. It’s more constructive play.”

As players learn more skills, they can move up to more advanced equipment.

Stobbe would like to make the tennis clinic an annual event, and he is planning to add tennis to the physical education curriculum at CES next year.

“I want to add a tennis unit based on age and appropriateness and we want to have more tennis lessons introduced into our physical education curriculum,” he said.

He noted that Sport Manitoba provided some of the funding for the clinic, and the Manitoba Phys. Ed. Teachers Association gave the school a grant for some extra equipment.