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Grassroots Tennis Gets a Boost in Doveton

10 May 2018

Doveton Tennis Club in Melbourne’s south east has started an exciting initiative with ten 10-12 year old school children receiving free tennis coaching scholarships.

Children from Doveton College and Hallam Primary School have won these prestigious coaching scholarships which provide 12 months (four terms) of free tennis coaching from the club’s two senior tennis coaches.

Doveton has traditionally been very strong in the high performance aspects of the sport, however highlighted a gap at the grassroots level:

  • Unable to attract and retain Hot Shots participants in the 5-12 years age group
  • Difficulty engaging with local schools students
  • Identified cost of coaching as a significant barrier to participation within the Doveton community

Championed by club Vice President David Hocking, and with the support of Tennis Victoria, the Doveton Tennis Club created the Tennis Coaching Scholarships and advertised the opportunity through local primary schools. Funding for this program has been generated by the Doveton Tennis Club and the administration has been assisted by the Waverley Tennis Association. Through Tennis Victoria’s ACE grants program a new racquet for each student was provided at no cost.

Head Coaches Nectar Davos and Tophan Bullant were extremely supportive of the scholarship program and offered free coaching sessions within the local schools to help create a link between the schools and the club, further enhance the interest in the scholarship program and also in tennis more broadly! All students accepted into the program are new to the club with limited prior exposure to tennis. Selection was not based so much on ability but more on the expression of a positive attitude and a willingness to learn and engage.

The ten children, who now make up the Saturday morning coaching group, come from multicultural backgrounds and have already shown tremendous enthusiasm for the disciplined coaching sessions. The club and coaches have been extremely impressed with the technical improvement shown by the group, which has an underlying theme of hard work and having fun. Ultimately the program has provided opportunities to school students of diverse backgrounds within the Doveton community to not only learn tennis related skills, but also be an active part of the vibrant Doveton Tennis Club community.

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