The number of coaches trained to roll out the innovative Miss Hits programme reached 200 and with a target of another 200 in the next 12 months, Murray is as motivated as ever
“There were two reasons for creating the Miss Hits programme. One was to get more girls into the game by making tennis more attractive and more girly. The other was to increase our female coach workforce at entry level, because you don't need to be a technically-trained tennis coach to deliver it. You could be a teacher, a coach of another sport or a development officer or somebody who has a licence to work with children. The activity within it, all the skill building, is nothing to do with grips or footwork or swing shapes. It’s all about developing the skills you need to be able to play a difficult sport.
This is an extract from 'Last Word: Judy Murray's Miss Hits'. To read the article in full and for more great features, in-depth gear reviews and stunning images from the tour, get your hands on a copy of tennishead Volume 6 Issue 4 (September 2015). Click here to subscribe.
Many kids who start tennis nowadays are not as co-ordinated as they used to be simply because they don't run around as much. So you get a lot of kids going into tennis that can’t even throw or catch a bouncing ball and have never handled the equipment before, so when they start tennis they find it difficult. They often drop out early, because it is too tough for them. The whole point of Miss Hits is to develop the skills first so that when they go into tennis they’ve got a social group of girls, they’ve got better coordination skills and they’ve got a better understanding of tennis through the Miss Hits characters from the app and the website.
My favourite character is Faith Forehand. I think she was the first character that I devised and of course she is Scottish. She’s got red hair and freckles, she eats salmon and drinks water from the Scottish hills, her favourite player is Andy Murray and her favourite tournament is Wimbledon. We are trying to educate girls about our sport through the characters in a very gentle simple way. There have been a few non-coaches we have trained up – some have been teachers and some have been coaches of other sports. Most of them have been at least Level 2 coaches but when we start training again in September we are looking at the next wave of 200 and we will be looking at the leisure sector.”