Just to the West of the famous Cotswolds, lies the city of Gloucester, with its stunning cathedral and vibrant Docks. Head North out of the City, and just before you hit Longford you will see a huge sports field with a pitch for just about every sport you can think of. Head down the winding road and you will find Oxtalls Sports Park, boasting 4 outdoor and 6 indoor tennis courts. On a Thursday evening it is full to bursting with people playing tennis, from young children just learning the game, to the elite players showing just what they can do. For the past 7 years, Thursday evening has also signified the running of their DSActive tennis session. A couple of weeks ago, one of the DSActive team dropped by to seeing how they are getting on.
The session starts with the coach Adam waving the players on to court and the parents settle in to their seats on the viewing platform. Following a round of high fives, the players get started with their warm up and fill in Adam on all the news and gossip he has missed since the last session. The players then grab their rackets and start warming up their skills, before moving on to forehand and backhand drills. The session finishes with a few games and another round of high fives.
The parents are nothing but complimentary about the session, discussing how far the players have come in both their tennis skills and their confidence, which has translated in to all parts of their lives. The sense of the community between the parents, the coach and the venue as a whole is truly inspiring and illustrates just how important sport is, not just for your physical health, but also for your mental and social health.