Tennis: building confidence

Cassandra: A member of my staff team sent me this about a young man that we support, who finds it very difficult to try new activities and lacks confidence in himself. After a recent core group meeting where his health and confidence were brought up the team came up with a new way to support him to try new healthy activities that would also improve his confidence. This is what Vicky wrote…

On arrival Dan and Elaine (Dan’s mum) were sitting outside which is always a good sign. I greeted them as usual and on my approach I held up the tennis racquets and looking at Dan said “I thought we could have a go – a bit of fun?!”
Dan responded positively with “have you got any tennis balls Vic?”(smiling) “Oh yeeaah”!! (smiling back) Brilliant response so far!!

After a little catch up with Elaine, we began our walk. Along the way I did not mention the tennis again as I didn’t want to pressure Dan in any way or cause any unnecessary anxiety. After a short while Dan asked if I was good at tennis to which I told him I’m rubbish but enjoy doing things for the fun. He teased saying ” I’m gonna whip your ass!” I laughed.

Close to the court, Dan seemed eager and excited to get playing; this was quite different to how I had anticipated him to be. Sure enough I showed off my non-technical skills, much to Dan’s amusement. I was pleasantly surprised to see how much Dan enjoyed playing – we decided not to count scores and just play as we wished with no rules in place!

Dan engaged and interacted well during the game, putting in lots of effort to move about the court and run for the ball. He was highly amused to see how terrible I was at serving and so he took on this role more frequently.

I added to Dan’s confidence to let loose and have fun by complimenting his efforts and showing him my own enthusiasm towards our game. Dan was smiling and laughing throughout and despite being hot and sweaty, he insisted he wasn’t ready to stop playing as he took off his jacket 10 minutes in, and after about 30-40 minutes we decided another 5 or 10 mins before stopping for lunch.

Once the game was over and we continued with the shift, Dan was talking non-stop about our tennis game. He was very pleased with himself for his effort and I continued to compliment and praise him for it. He thanked me many times saying he felt confident and really enjoyed it. I praised him further and assured him I too enjoyed the game and we talked about playing again, but with better tennis balls as the ones I had were not very bouncy as he pointed out to me whilst laughing.

“I will do even better at my next attempt at this activity Vicky!”

Vicky Collins
Relief Support Worker
Leicester Lifelong Learning


  • Emma Killick says:

    Thank you for sharing this Cassandra and Vicky thank you for taking the time to write such a great account of your first tennis match with Dan.
    I love that you suggest the idea conveying your own enthusiasm but without applying any pressure. So many wins here – exercise, co-ordination, interaction and a real confidence boost but all wrapped up nicely in “having fun”.

  • Tess Marshall says:

    This sounds like such a fantastic and rewarding day, for both Vicky and Dan.

  • Kate Webb says:

    Love this! Well done for such creative thinking. Thankyou for sharing.

  • Jackie Alexander says:

    Thank you for sharing, it sounds great fun and a great positive outcome!

  • Alicia Domínguez says:

    Love it! This showed how important is working the self estime and confidence in theirself indeed thought one activitie that they like!

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