This programme was born in a garden.

My Garden

WE DID NOT KNOW IT THEN, OF COURSE, BUT WE WERE ALL TAKING PART IN THE MOST BASIC OF COACHING SESSIONS. I COME FROM A SPORTY FAMILY AND SO IT WAS PRETTY MUCH SECOND NATURE FOR ME TO WANT TO PLAY BALL GAMES WITH JAMIE AND ANDY FROM ALMOST AS SOON AS THEY COULD WALK. Not only was it great fun but it also helped them to develop the coordination skills that would allow them to play any sport competently in later life. They went on to become pretty decent tennis players as you know, but Jamie has a 3 handicap at golf and Andy once trialled with Glasgow Rangers.

This book brings the lessons of that Dunblane garden and the experience of the many years since into your home.

It has a serious purpose but its message is all about having fun in the family environment. The ABCs -agility, balance and co-ordination – are a must for any child regardless of which physical activity takes their fancy. But if that activity happens to be ball sports, you can add passing and catching to that little list. Developing those skills at an early age can also improve confidence, self-esteem and the ability to set goals and challenge themselves. These are qualities that last a lifetime.

The equipment needed for these games and exercises will almost certainly already be in your garden or home. If not, they can be found cheaply in most toy stores.

These lessons do not need a gym, a sports club or a specialised trainer. The best games are usually the ones you and the kids make up yourselves. I remember not only my garden but a living-room turned in to a mini tennis court by Andy and Jamie (aged about 5 and 6) using cushions for the boundaries, walls for the back stop and a row of cereal boxes for the net. Sponge balls and mini bats for obvious reasons but the makeshift court really helped them to discover how to control the ball in a tiny space.

The most basic arenas can offer the best lessons. The exercises in these pages will show mums and dads a variety of ways to ensure their kids play effectively and build up both confidence and ability. They are guaranteed to be simple and cheap but effective. Kids will learn without even knowing it! All you need are some basic, everyday objects, a child who wants to play and someone who wants to play with them. It is that straightforward!

I’d love to hear your thoughts on the games provided here and if you have any tips you’d like to share with others based on these or your own children’s games, please drop me a line at