Lightning Reef Primary School students are embracing the opportunity to get active and learn fundamental tennis skills.
Each week Bendigo Tennis Club coach Bree Smith teaches the students the basics of the sport, with a focus on hand-eye coordination, racquet skills and the chance to be active.
"This is an amazing opportunity for the kids to experience a sport they haven't played before," Smith said.
"For many they are all learning new skills which makes it exciting for them to have a racquet in their hands and the chance to play."
Now at the halfway point of the six-week program students are progressing through the basics.
"So far we've focused on hitting the ball and teaching them the differences between forehand and backhand shots," Smith said.
"Soon we will start looking at getting into some rallies."
Smith has been involved with tennis for most of her life and has many fond memories of being a junior back in her native Queensland.
She now relishes the chance to give back to the sport by sharing her love for the game with the students.
Holding the sessions each week brings a smile to her face as the kids come to the clinics ready to learn and filled with excitement.
"At the end of the program my main hope is that they develop a love for tennis," she said.
"From there they can start playing with their friends down at the local tennis court and even get lessons to truly get involved with the sport."
The collaboration between the school and BTC has also been supported by Bendigo Telco and Tennis Victoria.
Anthony Millington is a member of the BTC, works as an account manager at Bendigo Telco and is a lifelong lover of tennis.
Millington saw an opportunity to support the local community by helping deliver a program that he is passionate about to the next generation of players.
"Tennis is sometimes a sport that can be hard to reach new players so this is a way to help open that opportunity for young kids," he said.
"They're learning great new skills and getting involved in something that's totally new to them.
"We really are a big supporter of the local community and this initiative is helping put smiles on kids' faces."
The recently formed Bendigo Tennis Club was established in 2020 and is one of the newest clubs in central Victoria.
BTC has a diverse range of members from juniors through to senior players.
New members are always welcome to join the ranks and get involved with the sport as either competitive or social players.
The program at Lightning Reef Primary School comes on the back of a big summer of tennis in both Australia and closer to home in Bendigo.
With Ash Barty's historic Australian Open singles crown triumph sealed by a strong 6-3, 7-6 (7-2) victory over American Danielle Collins in addition to Bendigo hosting a series of professional tennis tournaments earlier in the year, the sport has been in the spotlight.
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