Tennis: With Wimbledon in full swing, we discover Cambridge’s Tennis 4 Tots

As all eyes turn to Wimbledon’s Centre Court, we meet Natalie Griffiths who is inspiring the next generation of mini aces through her business Tennis 4 Tots

Natalie Griffiths
Natalie Griffiths

I started playing mini tennis (previously known as short tennis) from the age of five, and instantly decided this was the sport for me. I quickly progressed and was invited to join and compete for the Cambridgeshire County Tennis squad. During the evening you would find me training on a tennis court and most weekends I would be playing matches against other counties or in competitions. I have won several competitions in both singles and doubles.

Did you ever consider pursuing a career competing at the top-level of tennis?

I did have try outs for England when I was a teenager and would have loved to have progressed further.

What inspired you to launch Tennis 4 Tots and when was that?

Having had two active children, I noticed the absence of toddler groups that focused on sport and in particular tennis. All my local tennis clubs had sessions for school-aged children but nothing available for toddlers.

I worked at Rightmove for 12 years in their events department, then during Covid I got made redundant, so I took this opportunity to set Tennis 4 Tots up in 2021.

Where does Tennis 4 Tots run and what happens in classes?

Tennis 4 Tots toddler group offers a vibrant and dynamic introduction to tennis for children aged 18 months to four years old in Ely, Bluntisham, Sutton, Girton, and Waterbeach. Our program is designed to be fun, energetic, and highly active, catering specifically to the boundless energy and curiosity of toddlers.

Led by experienced instructors who specialise in early childhood development and tennis coaching, our sessions are carefully crafted to engage young minds and bodies in exciting tennis-based activities.

Tennis 4 Tots class
Tennis 4 Tots class

What skills do you teach little ones?

In our supportive and encouraging environment, toddlers have the opportunity to develop fundamental motor skills, hand-eye coordination, and spatial awareness while also learning the basics of tennis in a playful and non-competitive setting.

Parents are encouraged to join in the fun, providing a valuable opportunity for bonding and shared experiences with their little ones. We offer an enriching and memorable experience that lays the foundation for a lifelong love of sport and physical activity.

You also teach Pickleball to adults. How it is played and why it is so enjoyable?

It’s an exhilarating fast-paced and strategic game that blends the best of badminton, tennis, and table tennis. We have friendly weekly meet-ups every Tuesday, Thursday and Friday at the Waterbeach Pickleball Club where players of all skill levels come together to hone their skills, make new friends, and, most importantly, have a blast on the court. Our players find it fun, inclusive and say the hour session goes quickly, plus there’s always lot of laughter!

Tots in action
Tots in action

Is it rewarding to work within the sport that you’ve always loved?

It is very rewarding getting to watch children as young as 18 months of age pick up a tennis racket and hit a ball with it. It’s also rewarding watching their adult’s face as they can’t believe their child at such a young age is able to use a tennis racket and hit a ball. Since I started Tennis 4 Tots, I have seen our 18-month-old children turn four years of age and the progression is fantastic; they are able to have balloon rallies, have a good swing, are able to hit the balls over the net and can volley the ball. You can really see little superstars unfolding!

Natalie with one of her tennis tots
Natalie with one of her tennis tots

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