Melbourne, Victoria, 14 June 2020 | Leigh Rogers

With physical distancing regulations lifting across the country, tennis coaches are excited they can resume on-court lessons.

Jack Glennane from the Victorian Tennis Academy and head coach at Fawkner Park Tennis Centre in Melbourne, admits the return has evoked many emotions.

“Everyone is so grateful to be back on court,” he said. “It’s one of the few outlets most people have for the moment. It’s amazing to see and hear the feedback from so many people.”

The Victorian Tennis Academy offers lessons from beginners to adults, with Glennane coaching around 100 students a week before COVID-19.

“The COVID-19 situation has affected everyone differently,” Glennane said. “Some students now have financial restraints, while others have had to return interstate or overseas. I’m lucky that I have a good support network at the academy to help organise lessons, contact people and encourage them to return. I know many other clubs and coaches may not have that back-up.”

New rules and guidelines present a further challenge for returning coaches and players.

“We’ve had to change how we set up drills and limiting the equipment has helped,” Glennane said.

“Players are so happy to get back on court that they are eagerly following the rules and doing their part to seeing a return to tennis stay for good.”

Being adaptive is key according to Glennane, who encourages other coaches to find ways to overcome the teaching challenges associated with physical distancing.

“I’ve become comfortable with the idea that this way of life is here to stay for a while,” he said.

Coaches at the Victorian Tennis Academy kept busy when physical distancing rules forced them off court earlier this year. Glennane said they used that period for personal development, undertaking courses and launching a podcast.

“We felt the more engaged everyone was during the time away, the quicker things would resume,” Glennane explained.

They also stayed connected with their tennis community while on-court lessons were banned, running a Fitbit group challenge to encourage them to stay active.

“Finding ways to keep the coaching team and players engaged has been a priority,” Glennane said. “We got very creative.”

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