Merseyside tennis club, Mossley Hill, is the latest sports club to criticise the government’s restrictions on physical exercise due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
Mossley Hill coach, Mark Thomas, believes tennis should be allowed to continue as ‘you couldn’t be more distanced’ during a game of tennis and the sport contributes to overall physical and mental health.
The LTA Level 2 coach thinks tennis should be allowed to continue public tennis courts ‘as there are no clubhouses or places to mix and socialise indoors.’
Cabinet minister, Michael Gove. has recently apologised after wrongly suggesting tennis courts and golf courses could remain open during the second lockdown.
His statement suggested indoor and outdoor sports facilities such as golf courses, tennis courts, leisure centers, and gyms were being ordered to close. Gove was later forced to say sorry after getting the government’s rules wrong.
We are in the fourth week of stricter measures to limit the spread of coronavirus. But these are subject to change on December 2nd.
Mark expressed concern over the effect of having no access to tennis for these children, as they also weren’t getting daily exercise as schools were also shut throughout the lockdown.
‘It’s been especially hard for the kids. They take part in group sessions (at Mossley Hill) so they are will miss out on key interactions with other kids’ as well as losing all ‘the potential interaction and physical activity for those months they are meant to be in school’.
The impact of no sport for that many months ‘impacted a lot of people’ which is why ‘public spaces should be used and encouraged, so people can exercise during the lockdown and closing of public tennis courts makes no sense to me.’
Thomas coaches a wide range of children at Mossley Hill, from ‘Mini tennis’ with children ages 4 to 5, all the way to 13 to 14-year-old children who are starting to compete and focus more on technical development.
After losing considerable training time since March, Mark wonders ‘how much improvement they could have made if they got to play for the months in lockdown’. To try and make up the time lost to all members, the club ran workout sessions throughout lockdown on zoom.
‘The numbers we got were incredible, they were so popular as you’re working out as a group, so you’re surrounded by positivity and encouragement, it’s good fun’.
Tennis players will hope they can return to training in the winter months, Mossley Hill expects ‘lots of eager members’ and Mark himself is looking forward’ to getting back and working with his young tennis players and helping them improve’.
Liverpool is entering Tier 2 restrictions on December 2nd, after being handed the highest restrictions for 4 weeks. New rules permit organised outdoor sports to be reintroduced. While organised indoor sport is only permitted if it is possible for people to avoid mixing with people they do not live with.