A total of 116 students under the age of 14 are participating in the summer tennis-coaching program at the National Tennis Centre in Changlimithang from July 4.

There were 102 players who participated in the summer coaching camp last year. The tennis federation is also organising a similar summer coaching camp in Dewathang Wangduephodrang and Phuentsholing this month.

The coaching camp in Dewathang, which started on July 3 had more than 70 students participating. The initiative was conducted there on the request of the armed force families to keep students engaged during the summer break.

The federation will also conduct the camp in Wangduephodrang this month. The summer coaching camp is held to keep youth meaningfully engaged during their school break.

Karma, 39, who stays in Begana has enrolled her three children for the camp. She said that her children spend their vacation watching television and playing games online. “This keeps them involved in physical sport and engages them meaningfully during summer break,” she said.

The summer coaching camp is also an opportunity for the federation to select potential players for regular coaching. It is a platform where the federation explores the potentials and skills of young players.

Head Coach Tshering Namgay said the summer camp helps develop the skills of young players independently.

He said the students are taught self-discipline and value education to help them explore their potential and enable them to develop mental strength. “The camp is focused on wholesome development of students,” the coach said.

The federation conducts summer and winter coaching camp every year. Regular coaching programs are conducted during schools days on a regular basis for players who get selected during the camps. They are also given opportunities to take part in the in-country tournaments like India-Bhutan Friendship Tennis Championship. The championship is the biggest platform for amateur players to compete with experienced players from abroad.

In collaboration with private schools, it also provides potential players with scholarship to pursue higher studies.

Two coaches assisted by four junior coaches are conducting the coaching camp at the National Tennis Center.

With the federation receiving increased number of students enrolling for the coaching events yearly, they are faced with challenges of being unable to give the students with adequate time and required skills.

Head Coach Tshering Namgay said the Federation is in need of more courts to provide students proper space and enough time to practice.

“The training is restricted and needs to be improvised. The federation can host international tournaments if we have four or five tennis court,” he said.

Each student has to pay a registration fee of Nu 300 for the summer coaching camp. The federation provides balls and rackets for the players. The summer camp ends on July 14.

Nima and Tshewang Choden