For a beginner, tennis is more like a war with high-bouncing balls moving at bullet speed and a racquet that is almost the size of the wielder. Adding to task, is an expanse of a court.
The first few days of learning could tire the trainees and may even force them to quit. But Tennis 10s—a global initiative of International Tennis Federation which is aimed at increasing the tennis participation world wide—has revolutionised the way the game is being taught.
In Tennis 10s, beginners play on miniature courts with low and slow bouncing balls and with mini racquets.
The size of the court, racquet and bounce of the ball change according to the age of the players. Tennis 10s became an instant hit globally as children started enjoying the game and learned the basics faster.
Though tennis continues to be an elitist sport in Kerala, the State surprisingly was among the first to embrace the concept of Tennis 10s though with a different name — Mini tennis.
The credit for introducing this format in Kerala goes to former tennis player and coach M.R. Ramesh. Before he quit his job at State Bank of Travancore to take to full-time coaching, Ramesh was a visiting coach in the Nike Summer coaching camps in the USA from 2000.
Ramesh came to know of the new concept during his stay in the USA. Back in India, Ramesh got an opportunity to introduce this concept in 2007 when approached by Mr. Ajith, station head of Pangode Military camp, to teach tennis to students of Army School.
Ramesh taught the basics of tennis to 40-odd students using Tennis 10s modules.
The endeavour was a big success following which Ramesh thought of introducing the concept in other schools as well. Ramesh discussed this with his friend and member of Trivandrum Tennis Club Balagopal. He thought it was a good idea to introduce tennis in schools.
As per this plan, Mini Tennis was started in Peyad school in 2008 and first of 30 children were taught the modules of mini tennis.
Terumo Penpol bore all the expenses. Following the success of the programme, many schools in Thiruvananthapuram showed interest in it.
Mini-tennis makes the game easier to learn. Playing it is fun too.