The starting point for tennis

Contact us   |   Venues   |   Privacy policy   |   Terms and conditions

Tel: 0208 819 3149  

It's "Just Football"?

Blog entry added 1 May 2015

Below is a quote from Lionel Messi; that he posted to social media in mid-2014. In the current climate of sport star's fame, wealth and luxury lifestyles, it is rare to gain such a heartfelt insight into a professional athlete's world.

They don't understand the distance covered, the time put in, or the hours spent for it to be "just fútbol". Some of my most memorable moments have been met with "just fútbol". A lot of hours have gone by and my only company has been "just fútbol", some of my saddest moments have been provoked from "just fútbol", and in those days of darkness, the soft touch of the ball gave me company. Due to "just fútbol", I wake up early and go to sleep late. And for me and people like me, it's not "only fútbol" it's a combination of all of my life dreams, the memories of the past, and the moments of happiness. Therefore, the next time you hear someone say the phrase it's "only fútbol" just smile, because they "just don't understand". Messi.

It is very easy for us to criticise athletes and sportsmen/women. The very best are multi-millionaires who live lifestyles that many can only dream of, and to the casual observer they're life is incredibly easy. It appears that their, “God Given Talents” have propelled them to a level of success that is unattainable for 99.99% of the global population. They appear as talented youngsters at the age of 16/17 rake in huge sums of money just by: hitting golf balls, running fast, playing a bit of tennis or kicking a football around. Then after a quick 10-15 year career, with a bit of success and a few endorsements they've earned enough money to retire on and live a life of luxury.

However, this Messi quote reminds me of a Cee-Loo Green interview, at the time he was a music megastar, you may remember Crazy by Gnarls Barkley (AKA Cee-Loo Green). It was suggested that his fame was a surprise, which had just occurred on the back of one good song. His tongue in cheek reply left the interviewer a bit confused, “Yes I've worked for 20 years to become an overnight success” was his response.

To me this parallels Messi. When we only take a snapshot of a professional athlete's life you may see the 90minutes of a match or a few sets of tennis but what we don't see is the hours and hours of practice, the physical and emotional pain that they go through in the pursuit of something that many brush off as a ‘lark'. To reach the very top of any given field it is theorised to take up to 10,000 hours of practice (Malcolm Gladwell). That is 3 hours a day, nearly every day for a decade. There isn't a single professional athlete, top musician, artist or scientist who “lucked” into their success.

For most of us this level of commitment and determination is unattainable therefore the rewards that come with it are just as far out of reach. Messi is right we don't understand, because if we did, we would be right there with him, only a very few special people can give their entire life to something. Tiger Woods hit his first golf ball aged two! He is still playing today aged 39! That is 37 years of one sport. It is the only constant in what appears to have been a rather eventful career.

I am not for a moment attempting to justify the insane amounts of money paid to professional athletes; it really is obscene. But I do think they deserve much more respect for what they have achieved and, particularly, how they have arrived at their success - rather than jealousy for what they have financially earned from it.


Will we remember Tim Smyczek?

Blog entry added 20 March 2015

Picture the scene. Yet to make an impact on the global tennis scene Tim Smyczek has Rafa Nadal on the ropes. In the biggest match of his career to date, Smyczek has managed to take Nadal to a 5th and final Set in a Grand-Slam tournament. Nadal is serving 6-5 up, 30-0 up, just two points away from snatching victory. He hits his first serve right at the body of Smyczek but it lands just out. As it bounces a fan in the crowd shouts something that disrupts the play. The crowd boo and jeer, the umpire asks for quiet and it is back to Nadal for his 2nd serve.

Then unbelievably, Smyczek raises his hand and offers Nadal the opportunity to take the serve again. There is absolutely no reason why he should do this. Nadal had finished his action before the shout, and the serve was long regardless. Nadal proceeds to re-take the first serve, which goes in, Smyczek ultimate loses the point and then the match quickly after.

The reaction in the Primal Health office was certainly that of shock but it did begin a rather interesting debate into whether it was the right thing? Smyczek has since played down the whole incident simply saying,

"It clearly bothered him (Nadal) - I thought it was the right thing to do, I just think most situations are very black and white - there's almost always a right thing to do and a wrong thing to do. That's not to say that you shouldn't compete really hard or do everything within the rules to win. But most situations in sport are black and white, there is right and wrong. I'm certain that Rafa would have done the same thing."

But the responses of his fellow professionals are far more intriguing. His opponent Nadal said “What he did at the end of the fifth was just amazing. He's a gentleman. Not a lot of people would do something like that”. Novak Djokovic said, “I think that this is something that people should talk about. This is something that is not very common in sport today, where media and people generally emphasize the rivalries and the feisty, aggressive kind of approach to matches. It's nice to have something that is greater than sport itself - the sportsmanship and fair play”.

They are clearly impressed, and Djokovic does highlight the apparent media obsession of looking for trouble and negative issues, when in reality tennis players generally seem to be honourable, polite and sporting individuals who compete hard but whilst maintaining a healthy respect for their opponents.

But what would you do? Stan Wawrinkwa, defending champion and world number four said, "I don't know. You cannot answer that. After four hours of a match you don't know what's in your mind. Sometimes you react just like that. So it's not like you ask that question when it's happening. You just do it. Hopefully I will do it”. With my cynical hat on, I do wonder whether the top athletes, who are famed for their intense competitiveness, would actually have done the same thing. Maybe that is the difference between the very top four or five players and those who struggle to bridge the gap, Smyczek is currently ranked 112 in the world. I do disagree with Smyczek in regards to the black ‘n' whiteness of the situation. If I put one of our young players in a similar situation I would be just as impressed and proud of their sportsmanship and conduct if they acted in the same way, as I would be of an absolute determination to win and succeed if they stuck to the letter of the law and didn't allow a reprieve. I do wish the best for Smyczek though and hope that karma sees him compensated by a future opponent and his previous actions rewarded. I hope his career continues to progress as sport needs people like him as much as it needs its edgier characters. Hopefully, he is remembered for future success as well as, not instead of, letting Nadal serve again.


Murray Misses out in Melbourne

Blog entry added 03 February 2015

Like many I didn't give Murray much of a chance of going all the way in Melbourne. Not due in any way to lack of form or ability, simply because his draw looked too difficult. The British number one found himself in a very bottom heavy draw with the likes of Federer and Nadal probable quarter and semi-final opponents. Add to that the fact Novak Djokovic had a relatively straight forward route to the final and you start to see why people were writing him off.

Well, Andy did make it all the way to the final and for large parts of it looked like he could upset the odds and beat the man who simply does not get beaten in Melbourne very often at all. The simple fact is this, when Novak Djokovic makes an Australian Open final, he wins it and unfortunately for Andy Murray this is still the case.

Yes, the early eliminations of Federer and a very off colour Rafael Nadal made the task simpler for the man from Dunblane but in no way did Andy have an easy passage to his forth Australian Open Final. Victory in the forth round over Grigor Dimitrov, who has beaten Murray in a Grand Slam before remember, will give him a huge confidence boost going in to the remainder of the year and the ease at which he dispatched with the ‘lesser' players will make Andy believe he can go the distance again this year. However, when it came down to the big one this time around, Murray let himself down.

First of all let's get one thing straight. Losing to Novak Djokovic is no disaster. The Serb is by far the best player on the planet at the moment and will beat anyone if they're not at their best. Well, for two and a bit sets Murray was almost there. After sticking with Nole and grabbing the second set tiebreak Murray should have gone on and asserted himself against the world number one. Once, Murray let the early third set break slip that was it. Mentally, Andy was broken. The sixth seed crumbled in a way we're not used to seeing in recent years and the old bad habits started to return. Wasted opportunities, pointless shots at bad times and screaming at his box became a regular feature.

Under Lendl, Murray looked to have banished some of the traits that were causing him so many issues. Perhaps that was fear of the great man but whatever it was the moans, screams and grumbles are back. A lot has been made of his appointment of Amelie Mauresmo and in the whole she's got Andy playing some of his best tennis for years. Her next role is to find whatever it was that Lendl did to calm Murray down and get it back in to his game.

Andy has to realise to win slams you have to beat the best regularly and he simply doesn't do it enough. Let's get this in perspective, if Murray retired now he'd still be one of Britain's most successful athlete's for decades. We all know though, but Andy has so much more to give. This man can win many more Grand Slam titles and I for one really hope he does. He's a brilliant ambassador for British sport and I can't wait to see him at the top again!

By Jamie Banks


What people should look like on a tennis court

Blog entry added 18 January 2014

I have designed the above picture board to give; players, parents and coaches a reference point for their behaviour, attitude and conduct on a tennis court. Tennis can be played in a variety of different ways and it is very important that we match up to the situation.

The four categories are; Learning, Training, Competing and Playing. Some players may never enter some of those categories as they do not wish to experience that type of tennis. This, of course is absolutely fine. However, issues and conflicts can arise when the player/parent/coach and the situation don't match up.

For example, do not consider entering competitions if you are not ready to focus, fight and ultimately defeat an opponent. Do not come to a training session expecting to see the rest of the squad sitting around laughing and joking. If you want to socialise, have some fun in a chilled environment do not expect your coach to be there.

As a coaching team we do our best to ensure we are always presenting the right picture for any given situation and it is important that everyone appreciates that everybody is looking to receive a different tennis experience. As long as everyone matches up great progress can be made and more people can enjoy more tennis!


Mayfield Mini Tennis Red Competition

Blog entry added 3 December 2013

On Sunday 1st December, we hosted our first ever Mini Red tennis tournament. We had 18 players from all three of our venues and over 90 matches were played.

The event was a huge success with all matches played in an excellent spirit. Every player put in maximum effort throughout and this resulted in some fantastic tennis.

After the initial group stage, we split into a top 8 knockout tournament and two further groups for the 3rd and 4th place finishers. Congratulations to the winners of the two groups, Julius Miller and Cameron Titus, and the runners up, Anthony Silver and Ethan Jackson.

After the quarter-finals we had two very tight semi-finals, in the end Ewan and Rohan saw off their competition to seal their places in the final. The final was a great match, the first couple of points being 10-12 shot rallies. There was nothing between them and the match was tied at 8-8 (first to 10). It was Ewan who held his nerve and with a massive Ace tied up the match, winning 10-8. Congratulations to both players, you really did yourselves (and coaches) proud and to play with over 30 people watching for the first time, was a great achievement.

The consolation final was equally tight, with Jahvani coming out on top against Jamie to win 11-9!

During all of our sessions we try to promote a “growth mindset” in all our players. A growth mindset is based around self-improvement and effort rather than achievement and success over others. We aim to encourage effort and failure in difficult tasks and praise children when they persevere and work hard. The opposite; a ”fixed mindset” can prevent people from taking on new challenges or pushing themselves to achieve new things. It is a result of praising success and achievement and encourages children to pick easy tasks they are already good at.

In the context of a competition this becomes very difficult to do, as sport is essentially who wins. But we asked our parents and coaches to help push the players away from winning and losing as measures of success, towards effort and improvement.

This is done by asking questions such as “How was your forehand?', ‘Did you have fun?', ‘Did you try your hardest?' and then afterwards the result could be discussed. Making the result a lower priority to effort, the process of playing, and improvement helps generate the all-important “Growth Mindset” We were delighted to hear so many parents asking these questions and we feel that was a big contributor to the success of the event.

To quote Ernest Hemingway, ‘There is no nobility in superiority to others, nobility comes from being better than your previous self'.


A Grand Day Out

Blog entry added 19 November 2013

On 5th November, we were fortunate enough to be given 12 complimentary seats at the ATP World Tour End Finals at London's o2 arena.

Along with 6 PH coaches, we also took along two of our young players and their parents.

Our day stated off brilliantly, as we pulled into the car park, we were told that as Josh had an o2 mobile contract, the £30 parking charge was free. We then made our way up into the rafters to see the beginning of the doubles match. As Ben went to collect refreshments he was stopped by an o2 representative, who very kindly offered to move our seats, from 10 rows from the back, to 10 rows from courtside! We of course accepted her offer, and made our way courtside for a majority of the doubles, and what a match it was! The first two sets shared, and then the first to 10 points tie-break! The pressure was on and it went right down to the wire with Paes and Stepanek eventually winning 10-8 against the Brazilian pair.

We were having great fun, and our young players; Julius and Luke couldn't believe how lucky they were to have been granted days off school! Next up was the world number 1 Rafa Nadal against the world number 3 David Ferrer. Although history would suggest a comfortable victory for Nadal, with Ferrer beating Nadal just 3 days earlier in Paris, anything was possible.

However, as many would have predicted, Nadal was another level, his speed across the court and raw aggression were too much for Ferrer as he recorded a sold straight sets win. It was great to see two pro's on court form so close and we hope it really inspired our players as well as the other children in the crowd.

At Primal Health we believe that ‘ignition' is fundamental to a players development, and seeing spectacles like this will surely help inspire and motivate young players to train harder and longer to reach their potential and hopefully lead to us watching two British players as the numbers 1 and 3 in the world in years to come.


Jonny Wilkinson

Blog entry added 29 April 2013

The Jonny Wilkinson of barely fourteen years old told his school rugby coach “All I want to do is play for England.” Jonny, or ‘Wilko' not only made his dream come true, but went on to become an international record breaker and the player of his generation.

The undisputed pinnacle of his career came on a dark November night in Sydney in 2003. As the game reached it's nail biting climax Wilko slotted arguably the most historic drop goal in rugby history, meaning England would be crowned World Champions, beating Australia by those vital three points.

However, the road to that historic moment was not easy, and as often is with the Primal Health Heroes Wilko had his doubters and critics. First appearing on the international stage in 1996 as an eighteen year old, English fans and coaches alike said he was too young, too light and far too immature as a player. What they underestimated was Wilko's unwavering focus and his inability to accept failure.

He would often be the last to leave the Newcastle training pitch at club level, refusing to let the ground staff turn off the flood lights until he had completed a chain of successful conversions from painstaking angles. At international level, he was known to lock himself in toilets and changing rooms after matches if he had missed a conversion, even if England had won.

Those around him constantly thought he was too hard on himself, and that he should cut himself some slack. There is no question that had Wilko not adopted his ruthless mindset, success at this elite level would have remained a fantasy for him. We have picked him to be a Primal Health Hero because he is a symbol of success and proves that there is no such thing as ‘trying too hard' or ‘taking things too seriously.' Jonny Wilkinson proved that a dedicated obsession is what it takes to make sporting history.


Is winning all that counts?
Are you absolutely sure about that?

Blog entry added 8 April 2013

On December 2 2012, Basque athlete Iván Fernández Anaya was competing in a cross-country race in Burlada, Navarre. He was running second, some distance behind race leader Abel Mutai - bronze medallist in the 3,000-meter steeplechase at the London Olympics. As they entered the finishing straight, he saw the Kenyan runner - the certain winner of the race - mistakenly pull up about 10 meters before the finish, thinking he had already crossed the line.

Fernández Anaya quickly caught up with him, but instead of exploiting Mutai's mistake to speed past and claim an unlikely victory, he stayed behind and guided the Kenyan to the line and let him cross first.

Ivan Fernandez Anaya, said afterwards, "Even if they had told me that winning would have earned me a place in the Spanish team for the European championships, I wouldn't have done it either. I also think that I have earned more of a name having done what I did than if I had won. And that is very important, because today, with the way things are in all circles, in soccer, in society, in politics, where it seems anything goes, a gesture of honesty goes down well."

“It would be nice to explain to children, that sport is not only what they see on TV: violent kicks in abundance, posh statements, and fingers in the eyes of the enemy ... but an arena for good, kindness and fair play”

The Primal Health View:

We believe competition is a vital part of a child's sporting development. Children need to learn what winning is. They need to know how to win, and lose. What it feels like to be successful or not. We also believe that in the competitive environment you must be alert and clinical, focused and unrelenting. However, we are aware that there is much more to life than sport and competition and that good manners, honour, respect and humility mean a lot more than a 1st place or a gold medal. We are concerned with many modern athletes' behaviour and it is beautifully refreshing to see a true act of class in elite sport. We wish Mr.Anaya all the best in the future.


Britain's Latest Sporting Hero

Blog entry added 17 Novemeber 2012

Despite falling at the Semi-Finals of the ATP Tour End Finals at the O2 last week, we have been so impressed with Andy Murray and his new coach Ivan Lendl this year. Olympic Gold, rising to number 3 in the world and his first Major tournament victory! What a year he has had and we hope his success will inspire our players to get onto the practice court and dedicate themselves as much as Andy has!

He finally ended Great Britain's wait for a Grand Slam Tennis Champion. By defeating Novak Djokovic in the US Open final, Murray has ended a 7 Year Major Tournament drought, succeeding where many others have failed. In a fantastic five set match which epitomised Murray's style and fighting spirit, he finally achieved one of his ultimate career goals and cemented his place as one of the best players in the world. In our eyes this is one of most impressive and inspiring sporting achievements by a British athlete that we have ever witnessed.

To win a Grand Slam tennis tournament today is a mighty achievement. Murray is playing in arguably the toughest era in tennis history. Since 2005 only five men have won a grand slam, and the utter dominance of Federer (17 major titles) and Nadal (11) has made it virtually impossible for anyone else to achieve the feat. Between them they have revolutionised the game, and nobody has ever beaten both of them in the same tournament.

What makes his season all the more impressive are his previous failures, Raphael Nadal said that "you need a defeat to add value to your victories". Murray has suffered four morale crushing defeats in finals, defeats many believed he would never come back from. But after years of perseverance he has finally managed it, and you can see the value of his win in the joyous reactions of his team, family and supporters. The whole of the tennis world knows what this meant to him.

Murray has also faced added pressure from outside sources. Firstly, the failing of tennis authorities in the UK has meant that Murray has had no colleagues for back up or support. There are no other British players who have any chance of making a serious run at one of the big tournaments. The focus, the pressure and the expectation is all on his shoulders. For many people, Tennis is Andy Murray and, during Wimbledon, Andy Murray is British sport. On top of all these other factors, Murray has had another source of difficulty that is almost unique in the world of sport - DOUBT. Or, more precisely, Doubters.

The doubters have been numerous, persistent and very vocal. At times I have been shocked and appalled at his treatment by the media, critics, 'experts', and millions of so called tennis fans in this country. I don't know of any other athlete who has faced criticism at the level or frequency that Murray has had to deal with from his own nation. All of which is often superficial "needs to work on his image, I don't like his hair" or just plain negative, "he'll never do it, he doesn't have the bottle, I just can't see him winning". My mother always says to me, “if you can't say something nice then don't say anything at all" and it is all undeserved. We have footballers who racially abuse each other, rugby players who cheat, cricketers who help out the opposition and they get the criticism they rightly deserve. Murray has done nothing, ever. He might not be incredibly enthusiastic and he comes across very dry and miserable in interviews but as a role model I would much prefer a hard working, passionate, battling warrior who takes on the best in the world for a country some of whom are wanting and waiting for him to fail, than a charming multimillionaire scumbag.

We are proud to say our belief in and support of Andy Murray has and always will be unconditional on results, interviews or hair style. As long as he continues to strive for his goals, defeat all obstacles and entertain us on the way will we stand the Primal Health flag firmly in his corner and urge the rest of the nation to do the same.


Primal Health Heroes: Penny and Karl Stokes

Blog entry added 31 October 2012

It has long been a wish of ours to highlight and honour individuals, organisations and teams who impress and inspire us: our heroes. Originally the idea was to honour sporting "legends". Names like Usain Bolt, James Blake, Michael Johnson and Johnny Wilkinson spring to mind and I'm sure will feature in future episodes. However, seeing as this is the first edition we would like to make it special.

So our first Heroes are our parents, Penny and Karl Stokes. For those of you who have been a part of our lives for the last 20 odd years, you'll know how special these people are.

Both born in 1959 they met at Cambridge University during the late 1970s where Penny read Teaching and Karl Economics. Settling in North London, Penny has taught at numerous schools, working primarily with children with Special Educational Needs. Karl trained as an accountant and worked his way up the corporate ladder at an American Company called Clorox, before retiring in 2008.

They have always worked endlessly and tirelessly to provide us with the best chances and opportunities and have always challenged us to push our boundaries and reach our potential. Despite their incredibly busy work lives they still managed to find time to fit in hundreds of car journeys to and from school, drum lessons, Scouts and many, many other activities. Hours were spent cutting and sticking, researching and checking homework and school projects; not to mention weekend after weekend playing all kinds of games in the park and garden.

Despite our best intentions, Josh and I (this will come as no surprise to those who know us well) can, at times, be a bit trying to live with and be around, and we have nothing but love and gratitude for those who do, none more so than our poor parents who have had suffered for 24 years of it.

Thanks is too rarely given in the modern world and we would like to take this opportunity to thank our parents for everything they have done for us, all their sacrifices and unlimited patience in the face of, at times, I'm sure very irritating, petulant, know-it-all children.

We also realise that whilst their actions have meant an awful lot to us, unconditional love and support is the role and duty of any parent and all good parents deserve praise and thanks. What makes them heroes in our eyes is their pure bravery in the face of tremendous hardships.

Multiple System Atrophy is a horrible disease that causes the central nervousness system to slowly degenerate affecting motor control, speech and many autonomic functions. This disease is incredibly rare and to have affected our family twice in two generations is less likely than a lottery win. Despite this they have continued to put our happiness and well being before all else and have never complained about the situation they find themselves in.

The dictionary defines a hero as "a person who is admired or idealised for courage, outstanding achievements or noble qualities". Penny and Karl, you are firmly heroes in our eyes and we thank you for everything you have done for us.


How to Build a Champion: Motivation

Blog entry added 27 September 2012

At The Primal Health Tennis Academy we have a firm belief that there is no such thing as innate natural talent. Nobody is born great, and nobody can achieve elite performance without 10,000 hours of hard work and training.

This belief is based on research by Ericsson, the writings of Coyle and Syed alongside anecdotal evidence in the autobiographies of great champions and our own experience of playing and teaching sports.

To be able to complete 10,000 hours of practice before the physical peaking age of any particular sport is an incredible achievement, and is a testament to the hard work and dedication of the athletes, their team and support network.

So how do you get 10,000 hours practice out of any individual? In "Outliers", Malcolm Gladwell suggests that fortune has a huge role to play in the creation of greatness and that a great many circumstances need to go your way. You need the necessary physical attributes, the financial backing, great facilities and opportunities, all of which can make or break a career. However, even if you are in this ideal situation there is still the most important overriding factor to consider: MOTIVATION. Deep, internal, all consuming high levels of motivation need to be at the heart of all our decisions for without it nothing will be achieved, opportunities missed and potential unfulfilled.

Therefore, as we see things, a coach's primary role is not make their athlete better but to continually cultivate their desire to be better. To give them the belief and confidence that they can dedicate their lives to improved performance and do so happily; despite 10,000 hours of hard work, failure, pain and disappointment, albeit with much joy and reward along the way. Motivation is the most fundamental attribute of all legendary performers from all walks of life, no goals big or small are ever achieved without it.

This is why at the Primal Health Tennis Academy we reward failure-with-effort just as much as success, it is why nothing is wrong just an experiment to learn from and adjust to. It is why we challenge everyone (coaches and athletes) at all times, to be better, cleverer to stretch themselves, to leave their comfort zone and push themselves towards improvement and greatness.

Our number one objective is to cultivate an atmosphere of positivity to motivate and support everyone so we can make the most of our opportunities and maybe, hopefully, achieve elite level greatness.


Summer of sport

Blog entry added 5 September 2012

After a busy summer of sport the Primal Health Tennis Academy can look back on 6 weeks of successful courses. Running 5 weeks of courses at West Grove and our first ever week at Reedham Park Sports Club has made this our busiest summer yet. We had the pleasure of coaching over 125 players and hope everyone enjoyed the courses as much as the team did delivering them!

Our Term Time Tennis courses begin this weekend (8th/9th) September at Bancroft's School's Sports Centre, sessions begin at 1.45pm both days. These sessions last for 1.5hrs and the children are grouped according to age and ability. Spaces are filling up on the Saturdays, so book now to guarantee your place.

In the wider sporting world, what a fantastic Olympic Games we had and Paralympic Games we are having! We hope as many of you as possible were able to experience the incredible atmosphere and visit some of the state-of-the-art facilities. At Primal Health we hope the Games encourage and motivate everyone to increase their participation in sport. We aspire to make our courses as open and accessible to all members of the community.

Finally, Good Luck to Andy Murray in the final rounds of the US Open!

Look out for the next blog where we will look at the recent success of Andy and the rise of Laura Robson.

SPECIAL OFFER: Like us on Facebook and be entered into a prize draw for a whole week of free tennis at either October Half-Term course or our Christmas Holiday course.


Primal Health Charity Tennis Festival

Blog entry added 16 July 2012

On 15th July Primal Health Tennis Academy ran our first annual Charity Tennis Festival in aid of the MSA trust.

Children and adults of all ages and abilities came to West Grove Playing Fields for free coaching sessions, fun games and activities and use of all our equipment and courts.

We raised just over £400 and welcomed over 60 people throughout the day! The Primal Health Tennis Academy Team would like to thank everyone who attended and donated on the day. Your support was fantastic!


London Youth Games Finals

Blog entry added 16 July 2012

Having lead the Enfield Tennis team to the London Youth Games Finals, following an extremely successful qualifying stage at Redbridge Sports Centre, Primal Health took the team to Crystal palace with high spirits.

The competition began with two group matches, the team won their first convincingly 3-0 but failed to win their second with a narrow 2-1 defeat on a tie-break!

The team finished a very commendable 4th place out of all 33 London boroughs, an improvement on our 5th place finish last year!

Well done to you all and bring on next year!


10 Rules to Get Kids to Exercise

Blog entry added 4 March 2012

Below are 10 rules to encourage exercise in children taken from a blog by Charles Poliquin. Charles is a world leading expert in strength and conditioning and has trained many olympic athletes. So this is advice to follow.

Rule #1: It has to be fun.

Find an enthusiastic teacher. You want your child to be excited to go to his or her next class.

Rule #2: Variation is key.

It's best to expose kids to a wide variety of skills. Specialization before the age of 12 is bad. Changing sports every three months is a good start.

Rule #3: The more natural the movement, the better.

Climbing is superb as a form of exercise because it is total body exercise. Gymnastics is another favourite for base work. I was recently speaking to Henrik Dagård, a former world class decathlete, who followed my advice with his son. He told me that his child and his two buddies, who also did gymnastics, were mastering the soccer field the next season.

Rule #4: Teach the concept of acceleration.

Kids should learn the skill of acceleration by kicking and punching targets (not their younger siblings), sprinting, jumping, and throwing things (again, not their younger siblings).

Rule #5: Keep it brief. (We disagree)

You have to take into account a child's shorter attention span, so training sessions have to be brief. One way to increase an child's attention span is to make certain whatever you have them do is interesting, which brings us back to Rule #1.

Rule #6: Teach them cooperative games.

It's important to teach kids to work together. Sports psychologist Dr. Terry Orlick has written extensively on this subject, and also has several CDs for parents and children.

Rule #7: Reward improving their own scores, not beating others.

Don't reward with food! Food is nutrition, not a reward system.

Rule #8: Teach them how to swim as early as possible.

Babies are great swimmers. Lots of special are classes are available at public pools and though organizations such as the YMCA. Usually these classes are available to kids ages six and older.

Rule #9: Use the opportunity to teach the relationship between good eating and great performance.

Kids want to excel in sports, so having them understand how good nutrition can contribute to better performance will motivate them to eating well.

Rule #10: Teach them where their body is in time and space.

Besides gymnastics, climbing, I really like Chinese forms of martial arts. Not that I am against the other ones, but Chinese martial arts are more fluid, hence easier on the joints. I don't really see the need for a 4-year old to know how to maim someone in record time through Krav Maga, which is the most efficient martial art. There is a time for that, but not at that young age.

©Copyright 2011 Charles Poliquin


As you can see we agree with all but "Rule #5" in our experience if the other rules are followed childrens attention spans are usually a lot greater than they are often given credit for.

We strive to follow these rules when working and interacting with our players as we believe them to be a great recipe for success!

The Primal Health Team