Downend & Frenchay Tennis Club News

Are you struggling with your Mental Health? Try Tennis!!

Joining Downend and Frenchay Tennis Club (DFTC) 3 years ago, just as I retired from NHS work has been transformative especially during the Covid pandemisc. I played tennis as a child but hadn’t picked up a racket for almost 35 years, when a course run by a DFTC Coach was put on for parents at my son’s school. It was such fun to play again and when the course finished, I asked what else could I do to carry on playing which led to DFTC! 3 years on, encouraged by my family, weather permitting, I am lucky enough to play up to 6 times a week, a mixture of coaching and social tennis. Everyone is welcoming and friendly and willing to share their knowledge and skills. I’ve not only learnt to serve again but how to score in a game and master a one handed backhand!

Apart from the obvious benefits of exercise and social contact in a Covid safe, outdoor environment, there has been an unexpected advantage I never anticipated relating to my own mental health. It has almost completely eliminated a lifelong struggle with anxiety. Having worked in psychiatry, I knew all the theory of anxiety management and by default, had taught myself Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), but nothing else compares to the benefits of this experience, which has been all the more remarkable during these difficult times…. So for anyone looking to more effectively manage their mental health, make new friends or take up a new active hobby, I cannot recommend this sport and this club highly enough. It is universal, suitable for all levels of fitness and experience and I truly believe is good for you!

Although I’m fortunate enough to take advantage of daytime playing, there are still plenty of opportunities for practice and games on weekends and evenings. A single request on a WhatsApp page, nearly always results in at least one other person willing and able to play at short notice on a sunny morning! Absolute beginners can take advantage of expert coaching and it is relatively inexpensive, when compared to gym membership.

Spare time and past experience have also led me to a position on the Club Committee as Welfare Officer and there are plenty of opportunities for anyone to become involved in the running of the club. It is great fun and never fails to make me laugh every time I play with these remarkable people who share this passion. So the advice I have given myself (and taken) is find something you love to do and look back and wonder why you didn’t do it sooner!

(Sylvia Chambers, Club Welfare Officer DTFC)