She Rallies: Judy Murray heads LTA's women's tennis coaching initiative

Judy Murray and She Rallies 'ambassadors' at the coaching session in Birmingham.
Judy Murray and She Rallies 'ambassadors' at the coaching session in Birmingham.

Judy Murray knows a bit about how to succeed on a tennis court.

After all, her sons Andy and Jamie finished 2016 ranked number one in the world in singles and doubles respectively.

And she has long been an advocate for the women's game, both at the elite end - as Fed Cup captain until last year - and as a coach at grassroots level.

The latter is where she is currently focusing her attention, teaming up with the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) to launch a coaching initiative called She Rallies, which kicked off in Birmingham with a three-day event, from 3-5 February.

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She Rallies: Judy Murray and guest speakers help launch female tennis coaching campaign

Put simply, the idea is to coach the next generation of female coaches, which will help raise standards of tennis provision across the country and attract and retain women and girls as active participants in the sport.

Currently, only 23% of qualified tennis coaches in the UK are women - an imbalance that Judy and the governing body are hoping to address by training regional "ambassadors", targeting LTA-qualified coaches at L2 level and above.

The ambassadors will provide free training and equipment to women from both tennis and non-tennis backgrounds within their regions, giving more girls the opportunity to play tennis locally.

"There is still a significant gap in terms of players and coaches at all levels of the women's game," says Judy. "This has to change. She Rallies will create opportunities in tennis for women and girls from the grassroots through to international level."

The weekend started with a conference in central Birmingham on Friday, 3 February, featuring a range of speakers from sport and sport media, followed by two days of coaching activities.

Judy demonstrates a 'Miss-hits' session for girls aged five to eight.
Judy demonstrates a 'Miss-hits' session for girls aged five to eight.

Coaches were mentored while hosting activities for girls from the local area - focusing on four areas of delivery: starter tennis for girls aged five to eight, tennis for teens, how to run girls' fun days and delivering recreational competitions.

Rob Dearing, head of participation at the LTA, is in no doubt that Judy's high profile and work ethic can help She Rallies succeed.

"We're committed to growing the game from grassroots up, and we know that women have a key role to play in helping us get there," he says.

"Judy's passion and unwavering determination for encouraging people to pick up a racquet and have a go is why she's the perfect person to drive this initiative forward and rally the female troops across the country."