Greig Ewing from The Alberta Tennis Centre teaches tennis to grade 3 students at Hugh A. Bennett school in Calgary. June 22nd, 2018.

Kids love trying something new, and if it’s a good first experience they’re more likely to try it again.

Until this year, none of the Grade 3 students at Hugh A. Bennett School in Calgary had tried tennis. But a visit from an instructor from the Alberta Tennis Centre was a big hit.

“What I liked about it is it makes you healthier and active,” said Grade 3 student Shiven Pathak. “I learned how to hit forehands and backhands, how to rally it and how to hit over the net.”

In the past year alone, teachers at the Osten and Victor Alberta Tennis Centre have introduced the game to over 11,000 kids through the Schools Tennis Program.

The tennis centre’s director of business development Greig Ewing said the variety in different sized kids rackets and low compression balls makes a great first impression when trying out the tricky sport.

“The advancements have been huge in the last five to 10 years.” Ewing said. “The way the equipment has progressed has really allowed kids to get the experience of the sport they may not have previously had. For example, when I learned to play tennis we played with an adult racket.”

Aseem Dhalwal, 9, found it much easier to play with the larger, low compression kids tennis balls.

“They’re comfortable on your hand and they’re not too heavy,” Dhalwal said.

Jennifer Wilson teaches Grade 3 at Hugh A. Bennett School and said introducing her students to the sport in a fun and easy way has made them want to play again.

“They get to try and see how their body can move and they develop balance and coordination,” Wilson said. “The skills of tennis, which they can use anywhere else, and the hope is that we get them to love the sport enough that they carry on to the rest of their life to be a healthy adult.”

Teachers get to keep some of the equipment so the kids can play on a regular basis.

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