Sporting superstars Jamie and Andy Murray have their mum, grandparents and a stash of cereal boxes to thank for their tennis success – if only they’d admit it…
MFM: You’ve got two sporting superstar children – what’s your secret?
JM: Enthusiasm and enjoyment is the secret to helping kids get into sport. I made sure they were involved in active things growing up like tumble tots. They were keen to go to lessons – they’d see things on the telly and want to give it a go. They loved mini-football and tennis of course. Jamie didn’t like mini-rugby- I don’t think he liked getting dirty. Plus when he scored his first try he’d actually run the wrong way!
MFM: What about when it goes wrong?
JM: The reality of tennis is that one wins and one loses. With a team sport you can share it with a team. Not with tennis. They have to love what they do but you need to help them focus on the importance of improving themselves. Focusing on the positives. It’s how you present it to them, praising the effort is key.
MFM: Are Andy and Jamie really competitive with each other?
JM: Yes – although they mainly argue about fantasy football. They used to change the rules in a game if they were loosing. Andy’s delighted by the picture in the front of my book because it shows him beating Jamie.
MFM: What prompted you to release your Set4Sport book?
JM: I’d been visiting a lot of schools through sponsors and I was shocked by how many kids had poor co-ordination skills, with more significant numbers of children being over weight. Lots of kids are inside, sitting down, playing on computers. Kids are taken everywhere now too. I wanted to offer parents easy to follow, simple ideas, to get their kids moving. And most of it is using stuff you’ll find around your home. It was important for me that all the games could be played with one child and one parent.
MFM: How did you come up with the games?
JM: They were born in my back garden. Andy and Jamie suggested a few they could remember- Jamie really wanted beat the goalie to be in there. We came up with a version where you used rolled up newspaper instead of needing to buy lots of balls.
The main focus is on games that’ll build leg strength, dynamic balance and reaction skills. It’s a real back to basics approach but you can add your own things into it to give it life. Like pretending there’s sharks in the river you have to jump over.
MFM: Any accidents during the games?
JM: Oh, a few broken windows!
MFM: Do you think it’s a parent’s responsibility to encourage kids to get active?
JM: Parents are our biggest role models. When I was young I used to copy my dad when playing football. When he’d do a trick I’d think “that’s quite cool”, without realising I was learning simply by playing the game.
Kids love their parents playing with them. It shouldn’t be a case of drop the kids off and go and have a coffee for half and hour – you need to play too. On their own, kids get bored and want to try something else.
MFM: What about parents who aren’t sporty?
JM: The games are really simple, you don’t need special equipment and the book itself is free. There’s also the app now which is free too. There’s no use sending kids off to six lots of 45 minute lessons without anything extra. I used to play down the local tennis club and only go home when I was hungry. If it becomes a way of life not to do things, it becomes harder to break the habit.
MFM: Are you competitive?
JM: I’ve always been interested in sport. I played every sport you could through school and uni. Tennis was my main sport, but my mum and dad were both sporty, so it’s second nature for me to be into sport.
MFM: So Andy and Jamie have you to thank for their success?
JM: Yeah, it’d be tricky getting them to admit that!
The new Set4Sport mobile app from Judy Murray, is available to download now from the app store for iPhone and Android. Set4Sport is a new programme from Judy, supported by RBS, and showcases easy ideas for parents to play with their children and develop sporting skills. Visit www.set4sport.com or join us at the Set4Sport road show event at the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh, on Saturday 11th February.