It’s hard for players and parents on these wintry rainy nights. You are doing the tennis run in the dark and then sitting cold by the courts, feeling sorry for your child playing their tennis in hats and gloves. The half term week of February is very different from May. I often think wistfully of those summer days when you can watch in shorts and you worry about whether you’ve brought the right sun cream with you and enough lucozade to get you through the day.
The good summer memories do not have to be of finals contested and trophies won. With the right company in a good location, it can still be fun if the results do not necessarily go for you.
One of my highlights of last year’s tennis was a trip to Frinton-on-sea for a grade 3 tournament. We had just got back from a family holiday in France where the hard courts saw the ball bouncing high above your shoulders, very different from the grass courts we were due to play on.
On the journey down, my daughter took in a grade 5 tournament to try and get used to the different courts back in Britain and play a couple of matches before the grade 3 battles. It was a club we hadn’t been to and was the ideal re-introduction to tournament play.
We headed towards Frinton for our campsite were another friend and tennis dad met us. There were no matches on the first morning so we decided the appropriate warm up was Walton Pier for a couple of fun fayre rides and some silly gifts.
That evening it would be pizza for tea and an investigation of Clacton pier. Wrist bands were bought with the aim of as many rides as possible to be completed before some beer was sought by two thirsty dads.
The next day saw more singles in the morning before doubles in the afternoon which was a great opportunity to play some fun tennis and for the girls to chatter to each other rather than be on court at different times.
We then found we were required the next day and not having realised we’d be staying for so long, Saturday plans were hastily rehashed. Our camp site was full so it was a premier inn family room for our final nights’ stay. We felt quite pleased as the evening heavy rain battered against the windows. That would have been less fun under canvas.
We woke to sunshine and our final day on the grass courts before the long journey home.
Yes, we were lucky enough to pick up a trophy along the way and the grass courts were lovely (that will make another blog) but best of all was having a little holiday with tennis friends and enjoying the sunshine together.
So on a dark winters evening, it’s lovely to flick through the pictures of our little tennis holiday before considering the next challenge, deciding where to go to next year!
I am a tennis parent, educationalist and author. My guide for tennis parents, ‘Trophies, tears and line calls’ is now published . Please follow me on on twitter @tennisdaduk.