Mental Health


Tennis Tips program

The program Tennis Tips at Hawthorn Tennis Club offered participants a chance to join a low-cost coaching group that taught basic tennis skills and assisted participants to build confidence to join the club to play socially or competitively.


Access Health and Community (AccessHC) lead the Inclusive Clubs program that invites sporting clubs from Boroondara and Manningham to participate in a series of workshops to learn how to become more gender and socially inclusive.

Hawthorn Tennis Club participated in the Inclusive Clubs program in 2019. Having completed the Inclusive Clubs workshops and developed an action plan, Hawthorn Tennis Club were keen to increase their participation and engagement in Boroondara. The club partnered with AccessHC and received funding from the Boroondara Community Strengthening Grants program to implement the program Tennis Tips in 2021.

What we did

The Tennis Tips program aimed to increase the participation of local residents and the inclusion of under-represented groups in Tennis, particularly women and mothers with young children. The program was designed to be a group activity, which made for high levels of interaction creating great socially inclusive environments to help new participants meet other potential members. In 2021, Tennis Tips offered three group coaching options that were run for Term 1, and two session options for Term 2.

AccessHC assisted the club with the grant application, designing the promotion and developing evaluation tools for Tennis Tips. The Tennis Tips promotional posters were distributed throughout the community in addition to an online social media campaign.


The program saw high participation in both terms with coaching sessions reaching maximum capacity numbers. In Term 1 there were 25 participants (19 female, 6 male) and in Term 2, 23 participants (15 female, 8 male). An additional 12 people were put on a waiting list during Term 1, which further reflects the high engagement the program had throughout the community.

From the Term 1 evaluation survey, the program was attractive to participants due to the low cost nature of the coaching sessions, and all respondents stated it was an opportunity to improve their tennis skills and meet new people. The program was scheduled at a time of the day that enabled high engagement for women and mothers, as one participant stated the main reason for joining was because “my son goes to HEY (Hawthorn Early Years) which is just next to the courts”.

When asked about the outcomes of taking part in Tennis Tips:

  • 82% had improved tennis skills
  • 73% claimed participating helped them to exercise more, and
  • Significantly, 55% stated the program helped in making new friends.

These responses show how the program not only assisted people to be more physically active, but created an environment that encouraged social interaction and fostered relationship building among participants.

Next Steps

Since the conclusion of Tennis Tips, many participants have shown a strong desire to continue their involvement at Hawthorn Tennis Club. 82% of survey respondents stated they would participate in the program if offered again, with participants stating:

“Absolutely! I loved it so much – It’s hard to find clubs that do adult classes after work hours so this suited perfect[ly]”.

“Yes, it was fun and enjoyable. It was like a fitness group class but with tennis which I’m interested in. I think it’s a good way to be social and meet new people with common interest and possibly start friendships. It’s also nice being part of a community.”

The club has since received inquiries from participants to join the club to play socially with friends, with one participant noting that “[Tennis Tips] confirmed I wanted to join Hawthorn Tennis Club [as a member]”.

This program allowed Boroondara community members who’d otherwise be sedentary, to play tennis in a socially inclusive environment. AccessHC will continue to engage with local clubs to help not only participation in sport, but environments where social connection and interaction can thrive as a result.

More clubs joined the Inclusive Clubs program in 2021 and AccessHC is now supporting these clubs to finalise their action plans.

Organisation: Access Health and Community

Contact: Jack Plant, Health Promotion Practitioner, Access HC

Email: [email protected]