Are you a yummy mummy looking to pawn your kids off on someone else this holiday? Ideally some hot hunk that can look after your children, teach them new tricks and be easy on the eyes. Well our Em Bell has got just the person.
Henry Lamb Tennis started back in 2010 and is now dominating the world of term-time programmes, after school clubs, tennis camps during school holidays and half terms. Oh and now there is even a brand spanking new residential camp in France.
Em managed to avoid a few flying tennis balls and catch him in between classes.
How did it all start?
During my days as a student. I was looking to earn some money during the school holidays, qualified as a tennis coach and then put it into practice. It was a great job, very well paid in comparison to other students jobs, you got to work outside and with children which was such fun.
I think tennis is a life skill that all people should learn and be able to play. It is such a social game and I want everyone to enjoy it.
Who are you aiming the courses at?
Our camps are aimed at 5-15 year olds and players of all ability. Our junior programme is for 5-8 years and is mainly soft ball tennis, the aim is for juniors is to hit as many balls as they can during the week. Our senior programme is for 8 to 15 year olds, this consists of drills, tennis related games and a big emphasis on match play.
What different angles are there – schools, private tutoring, camps?
Yes we are working with 9 schools this summer term and also providing a number of regular private sessions. We are very busy during the school holidays with our holiday tennis camps and running a language and sport residential camp in Provence in August.
What’s so special about your camps?
The structure and routine is very important. It is a combination of the skills I have learnt from over four years teaching and my 10 years experience as a tennis coach that make for an efficient and well run programme. I pass all of this knowledge onto my coaches, who are enthusiastic and full of energy which inspires children to learn and love the game of tennis. It is finding that balance between fun and instruction that is the key.
Have you ever had a student that you can see becoming the next Federer?
We have had one boy who was a phenomenal talent for a 10 year old. His technique and attitude was so impressive for his age and he lived, breathed tennis. I am looking forward to watching him at Wimbledon in 2020.
What do you do if the child has absolutely no eye-hand coordination?
We absolutely love beginners and relish the challenge of teaching someone tennis and inspiring them. I am a big believer in the myth of talent and power of practice. They now say you need 20,000 hours practice to become a professional. Hand-eye coordination is learnt, you are not born with it.
Do you have any tricks to keep the kids interested?
Difficult one. Children respond well to discipline, energy and lots of praise!
How do you handle overly keen parents on the sidelines?
I really enjoy it when parents are right behind their child, asking for feedback and happy to chat for 20 minutes at the end of the camp/session. Obviously no shouting on the sideline though, perhaps the odd ‘come on Tim’.
What’s your favourite shot?
It has to be the serve, it is the only stroke that you have full control of within a game.
What do you struggle most with in tennis?
The amount of trainers I get through from coaching. Forever having to buy a new pair.
Who would be your dream tennis teacher?
Where would be your favourite place to play a game of tennis?
Centre court Wimbledon
Do you prefer to teach grass, clay or hard court tennis?
Rarely teach on grass for obvious reasons, clay is a real treat though at the end of the day not too fussed. We will coach on anything, some of our after school clubs are in playgrounds.
Do you have a superstitious bum grab like Nadal?
Not really though I am quite funny about the position of my strings on my racket; always re adjusting them.
Where do you play tennis in your free time?
The sad thing is one rarely gets a chance to play. If I do, it’s wherever I am invited. I will play at the annual Rye tennis tournament this summer.
Who would you most like to win against?
Do you have a favourite racket? Or tennis balls?
Definitely Slazenger tennis balls. Wish I could play with new ones every seven games though. Head Radical racket.
Do you have a favourite type of tennis kit?
Nike and white only.
What’s your favourite place to buy tennis gear in London?
Queens tennis club shop is good.
What can we expect from Henry Lamb tennis for the rest of the year?
Non-stop tennis camps in London throughout the summer. A Wiltshire camp and potentially an Edinburgh summer camp as well. A French and tennis holiday in the south of France for 10-16 year olds.
If you haven’t already, can you tell me about this new French haven?
Yes we are very excited about this. Children will spend a week in Provence learning a foreign language (French, Spanish, Italian or German) in the morning and clay court tennis or golf in the afternoon. Other activities include swimming, football, hiking the famous mount saint victoire, shopping and culture in Aix-en-Provence or a trip to the beach.
Dust off that tennis racket and get down to your local park.