My parents enjoyed playing tennis and apparently l asked for a tennis racket for my 4th birthday! I have always loved playing and still do plus l was very lucky throughout my whole career to have some great coaches! I was fortunate to be able to go on to compete in all the Grand Slams both in singles and doubles but this took a lot of hard work, dedication and getting by on very little money! Things are slightly different now in that some young children are playing to a very high level much earlier but the most important thing for any player is to enjoy playing and a love of the game.
It is impossible to Summarise in to a short answer everything that I have gained from tennis both as a child and now as an adult. Tennis gave me all sorts of skills as well as some amazing experiences and i'm still grateful that l am able to do something l enjoy as my job. Because of tennis I have travelled around the world and met some fantastic people plus most of my close friends were tennis players l started playing when we were kids.
When I went on a coaching course quite early on in my coaching career, the course tutor asked us to write down all the attributes we would like our own children to have when they turn 18 years old. I wrote down about 20 things. He then asked us to link back each attribute to playing tennis. It was easy!
Confidence, social skills, wanting to succeed, dealing with adversity, being respectful to others, conflict resolution, positivity, tenacity.........your children can gain all of these from tennis.
I have two children and I am a proud Mum!
Both my children like playing tennis but they also do other activities too. It's important to me they that try different things to see what they enjoy the most and l think children are lucky nowadays to have so many opportunities to try various the activities.
Don't think of tennis as just a sport. It is so much more and your children can have great fun learning the many skills involved as well as being able to play a sport they love for life!
Julie Pullin was British National Tennis Champion in 1996 and 1998 and between 2000 - 2002, she was the British Number 1 ranked player in both singles and doubles. Julie achieved a career high world singles ranking of number 125 and was world number 57 in doubles.
Julie reached the second round of the Australian Open in 2000, played at Wimbledon nine times in her career and represented Great Britain at the Sydney Olympics in 2000.
After traveling all around the world playing tennis professionally, Julie now inspires children to play tennis as a way to have fun, socialise, be part of a like-minded community and get fit.
Chestnut Tree House is the only children's hospice in East and West Sussex and cares for over 280 children and young adults from 0-25 years of age with progressive life-limiting conditions from Sussex and South East Hampshire.