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Case Study: Meet Liam

Liam*, 13, started attending tennis sessions because his younger sister was already a regular and he wanted to prove he was the better player. Since then, he has been one of the most enthusiastic participants on the programme taking part for an average of 13 hours per week.

He told us what he enjoys most about the programme.

“Now I come to every session. I always used to play in primary school and I was quite good but now I think I’m improving a lot. That’s the main reason I come now.”

Liam’s hard work seems to be paying off. He got to the quarter finals of an inter-school tournament and won the Essex division of the Aegon Team Tennis competition with his teammates, but it’s his improvements off the tennis court that have been most notable. Liam’s Greenhouse Sports tennis coach explains:

“I knew he had a reputation in some classes for disruptive behaviour and not applying himself as well as he could. He’s developed resilience by playing tennis and I think that shows when it comes to problems with teachers or other pupils.”

Liam agreed that his experiences in tennis have helped him in the classroom.

“In tennis you’re not allowed to argue. In school, I argued a lot but now I’m stopping. Since I’ve been coming to tennis I’ve been better in history. I wanted to stop getting in trouble and I think I’m doing that now.”

“My coach always says ‘don’t get annoyed, don’t argue back and just focus’. He says that about all things, not just in tennis. He’s not like a teacher. He doesn’t tell anyone off, and he never really gets angry. When I’m in trouble, I’m always in detentions and I miss out on tennis a lot. I respond better to my Greenhouse Sports coach because I think he’s trying to help me.”

Liam’s coach talked about the transferable nature of the skills learned through sport and the effect this has had on Liam’s attitude.

“We do a lot of difficult drills that stretch participants beyond their limits. I hope it helps them understand how to deal with tough situations, where they might have to persevere to achieve success. Tennis requires a lot of determination and that’s helped him to learn those skills and apply them off the court.

*The names have been changed in this case study to protect the young person’s anonymity.