New Year Tennis Opportunities at Downend & Frenchay Tennis Club

Are you struggling with your Mental Health? Try tennis!!

Joining Downend and Frenchay Tennis Club (DFTC) 3 years ago, just as I retired from NHS work has been transformative especially during the Covid pandemisc. I played tennis as a child but hadn’t picked up a racket for almost 35 years, when a course run by a DFTC Coach was put on for parents at my son’s school. It was such fun to play again and when the course finished, I asked what else could I do to carry on playing which led to DFTC! 3 years on, encouraged by my family, weather permitting, I am lucky enough to play up to 6 times a week, a mixture of coaching and social tennis. Everyone is welcoming and friendly and willing to share their knowledge and skills. I’ve not only learnt to serve again but how to score in a game and master a one handed backhand!

Apart from the obvious benefits of exercise and social contact in a Covid safe, outdoor environment, there has been an unexpected advantage I never anticipated relating to my own mental health. It has almost completely eliminated a lifelong struggle with anxiety. Having worked in psychiatry, I knew all the theory of anxiety management and by default, had taught myself Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), but nothing else compares to the benefits of this experience, which has been all the more remarkable during these difficult times…. So for anyone looking to more effectively manage their mental health, make new friends or take up a new active hobby, I cannot recommend this sport and this club highly enough. It is universal, suitable for all levels of fitness and experience and I truly believe is good for you! 

Although I’m fortunate enough to take advantage of daytime playing, there are still plenty of opportunities for practice and games on weekends and evenings. A single request on a WhatsApp page, nearly always results in at least one other person willing and able to play at short notice on a sunny morning! Absolute beginners can take advantage of expert coaching and as such it is relatively inexpensive, when compared to gym membership. 

Spare time and past experience have also led me to a position on the Club Committee as Welfare Officer and there are plenty of opportunities for anyone to become involved in the running of the club. It is great fun and never fails to make me laugh every time I play with these remarkable people who share this passion. So the advice I have given myself (and taken) is find something you love to do and look back and wonder why you didn’t do it sooner!  (Sylvia Chambers, Club Welfare Officer DTFC) 

Thoughts from a Tennis coach

Being a coach at DFTC is a fantastic, fulfilling job with one of the best aspects being that you get to work with players of all ages and abilities from our tots to our over 50’s to our county performance squads. This means that every day is different and exciting. The atmosphere at the club is always very welcoming which allows players from all backgrounds and of all abilities to thrive in a friendly environment. Another highlight at DFTC is working within a professional and friendly team of coaches who are always incredibly supportive and accommodating. Tennis is a great game and if you are new to the game or have played for years the club has something for everyone. (Josh Wraith level 3 coach). To find out what sessions we offer please visit –

Total Tennis Beginners come and give it a try:


Beginners courses daytime and evenings…Learning all the basic skills, putting these skills into practice, building up knowledge & understanding, playing points & scoring, the course keeps continuing until enough confidence & ability has been built up to progress forward into other more advanced groups, joining club social tennis, and  to keep building on these skills with players at a similar standard. 
Courses can be joined at anytime and a free taster session will be offered before signing up. The coach can adapted the sessions to suit individual needs & help improve as a player.

DFTC social event

DFTC 2021 Xmas Party!  What a wonderful way to celebrate our DFTC, with our first post restrictions event.  With over 50 tickets sold there was a buzz of excitement as time drew near.  The Cricket Club had put up a splendid tree and filled the whole clubhouse with decorations, with finishing touches added by Lesley and Wanda.  The festive barman was wearing a dashing Xmas suit of red and white, offering help and advice and good cheer throughout the evening. Everyone was very welcoming, the booze flowed, and Wanda and Lesley sold raffle tickets, jokes and laughter were the loudest sounds in the room.  

The caterers, Richard and Kerry, invited guests that ‘dinner was served’.  The food was exceptional – tasty, authentic, different textures of India. The queue gave people an opportunity to chat to people they hadn’t spoken to earlier, with many returning for seconds and even thirds.  The party continued with the raffle draw, votes of thanks, and then the dancing began…. all genres catered for.  The party was joyful, like everyone was just so relieved they could have a great night, without Covid restrictions.  

Our juniors were able to enjoy a final week of the term with Christmas festivities, fun coaching groups, competitions, prizes, ending with ten pin bowling at the Hollywood Bowl.