An extended rally is a tennis dialogue between players.
Australian coach and commentator Louise Pleming is transforming the art of the rally into a life-changing experience.
The Australian high-performance coach is one of the driving forces behind Rally4Ever, an Australian-registered charitable foundation that fosters greater community connection through physical activity.
Rally4Ever has aided Australia’s homeless, disadvantaged and at-risk communities using tennis to help form relationships, create a positive support network and connect players to mental and physical health aid.
Playing tennis and forming friendships through the sport has been particularly helpful to Aussies suffering through depression and isolation in the aftermath of the Coronavirus.
“We don’t judge,” Pleming said. “We’ve got young people that have had real breakdowns, older people that are just feeling very isolated.
“They are forming friendships and now go out and play tennis together. That’s what it’s all about.”
Rally4Ever has partnered with the Salvation Army providing tennis programs for its members.
Rally4Ever programs bring together players of diverse background, ages and ability transforming the tennis court into connective tissue to help those who have confronted the struggle in their lives to get back on track in a healthy and enjoyable way.
“Our programs are purpose-built for our community and designed to get people moving again and form long-lasting friendships and meaningful social connections along the way,” Pleming said.
In fact, Rally4Ever sprung from Pleming’s friendship formed with a man named Brian she met while volunteering at a kitchen feeding homeless people in 2016.
A former WTA player whose work as a tennis commentator is well-known among Aussie fans, Pleming was recognized by Brian, who was homeless, and asked her to hit.
“A gentleman by the name of Brian approached me and said: ‘I know who you are, would you play tennis with me?'” Pleming told Tennis Australia. “So a week later I met Brian, who had been living on the streets for quite a few years, and we played tennis. I saw an incredible shift in his mentality through the benefits of playing tennis and having that human connection. It’s been a relationship that has grown and I continue to play tennis with him.”
That initial meeting inspired the creation of Rally4Ever.
Since its inception, Rally4Ever has established programs in several Australian states. Pleming, who will be working as a commentator at Wimbledon, has seen the program grow and receive support from notable names, including former Wimbledon winner Pat Cash, Nick Kyrgios and musician Seal.
To donate to Rally4Ever’s efforts to establish national tennis and fitness programs please visit this donation link. To learn more on Rally4Ever’s programs click here.