Burn calories, get fit having fun on court

JOIN ME: New Top Tennis Academy coach Jack Whitehead is excited about a free program being launched next week at the Leichhardt centre.
JOIN ME: New Top Tennis Academy coach Jack Whitehead is excited about a free program being launched next week at the Leichhardt centre. David Nielsen

ENERGETIC Top Tennis Academy coach Jack Whitehead hopes a free Ipswich program can help participants burn more than 600 calories in a session.

However, he wants the focus of a new Cardio Tennis Challenge to be as much fun as improving general fitness.

Whitehead, 25, recently started as a new full-time coach at the George Alder Tennis Centre, joining manager Dan Mascall and Remar brothers Lincoln and Zac.

One of Whitehead's first goals is to get the community excited about the cardio program being launched on Monday at the Leichhardt centre.

Participants can try the hour-long session for free next Monday and Wednesday mornings or Thursday night for the next two weeks.

"We want to get the whole community involved and get fit,'' Whitehead said.

Mascall said the recent Brisbane International and Australian Open tournaments resulted in a surge of interest in tennis.

"Everyone wants to get out and play a bit of tennis,'' Mascall said.

"And everyone's got their New Year's resolutions (to get fit) so we want to give them every opportunity that we can.''

Whitehead agreed, saying it was a great time to improve health and recapture a passion for the popular summer sport.

That's why Mascall is delighted English-bred, former Perth-based coach Whitehead will spearhead the new Cardio Tennis Challenge.

"It involves different exercises on court as well as hitting plenty of tennis balls,'' Mascall said.

"It's just really keeping everyone moving for the entire hour.

"Jack's got amazing energy, a lot of passion for the game but he mixes in humour as well, which is important.''

Based at One Mile after moving to Australia nine years ago, Whitehead said it was up to the individual how hard they pushed themselves during the cardio sessions.

"It's another way of going to the gym,'' the Roger Federer fan said. "It's just a fun way of doing it.''

While he acknowledges plenty of calories can be burnt doing inside gym training, he said being outdoors on a court offered a different healthy approach with widespread fitness and social benefits.

"You can burn 500, 600 plus calories in a session if you really push yourself,'' Whitehead said.

Whitehead hopes the Cardio Tennis Challenge is the first of many successful initiatives being rolled out since the Remar twins took over the centre lease last year.

Other programs recently launched include free play for teachers, high performance training and evaluation sessions, and plans to run a major tournament later in the year.

Whitehead, originally from Bromley in the UK, will also be heavily involved in Hotshots programs for young players.

"Tennis is a very social sport,'' he said.

The first free Cardio Tennis Challenge sessions are being offered on Monday and Wednesday from 9am-10am. The Thursday night session at the Ernest Street clay court venue is from 6-7pm.

Inquiries on 3281 4700.

Topics:  cardio tennis challenge dan mascall free tennis programs how to get fit jack whitehead top tennis academy whatson

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