Tennis players from secondary schools had the chance to learn from acclaimed tennis coach Robert Davis over a two-day clinic organised by ActiveSG. photo: SportSG
The afternoon sun was blazing down on the court but that wasn’t enough to deter acclaimed tennis coach Robert Davis and his team from conducting a two-day tennis clinic at Yio Chu Kang Tennis Centre on 25-26 March 2015.
The event, organised by ActiveSG, aimed to provide tennis players from various secondary schools a rare chance to learn from professional ATP players. This is part of the national movement for sport’s ongoing efforts to create opportunities and enhance accessibility to sport for the community. With Davis and his team making a short stopover in Singapore, the group put together a clinic that featured hands-on skill training at the court as well as classroom sessions.
Veteran coach Davis cheekily asked the students who the best coach was after the two-day clinic and promptly received rapturous cheers of his own name. The acknowledgement and gratitude he received was hardly surprising as Davis, banking on his 24 years of experience, made every moment on the court enjoyable for the budding players
“What we’re trying to do is to encourage not just the very good players, but the younger players, that tennis is fun. We want them to have fun first, get them hooked and then we will help teach them after,” Davis stated, when asked what he wanted the students to get out of his clinic.
He adds that if you try to teach the theory and technique of playing head on, students are likely to get bored and lose interest.
Davis, a regular contributor to numerous tennis publications, also summarized how the sport could make one a better person during his classroom lessons.
Using examples of famous tennis players and controversies, he demonstrated how certain values honed in tennis, such as the ability to accept constructive criticism, working hard and making decisions under pressure could be applied to every day life.
Participants of the two-day Tennis Clinic with Robert Davis giving a loud cheer in a show of their enthusiasm at Yio Chu Kang Sports Centre. photo: SportSG
To further inspire these young hopefuls, three-time Southeast Asian Games medallist Christopher Benjamin Rungkat was on hand as one of the coaches in Davis’ team. Having participated in such tennis workshops during his youth, Rungkat says it’s a good idea for younger players to attend them.
“It’s always good for the younger kids to interact with older players especially, pro players. They can use us as role models for them. Maybe we can even inspire them to do better, not only as a tennis player but also as a student and a human being as well,” the professional commented as he emphasized the values Davis taught during the lesson.
Rungkat also gushed about the experience of coaching these students: “It has been great, especially playing with the younger kids. It reminds me a lot of myself when I was younger – when I was just so happy to be on the court.”
He wasn’t the only who enjoyed himself during the session either. The younger players were all in high spirits and sang praises of the experience.
15 year-old Jonathan Lim from St Patrick’s School said, “I had fun during the workshop. The whole workshop was very entertaining and I found every bit very fun and educational.”