JUDY Murray has claimed children are less co-ordinated than they once were – with some unable even throw or catch a ball.
The mother of tennis aces Andy and Jamie Murray blames handheld gadgets and computer games for children spending less time running and playing.
The 55-year-old, who coached both her sons when they were young, is now trying to get more kids into tennis.
But she claims today’s youngsters are already at a disadvantage, having to learn the basics of co-ordination before they even hit the tennis court.
Many drop out altogether because they simply find it “too tough” she says.
Speaking to TennisHead magazine she said: “Many kids who start tennis nowadays are not as co-ordinated as they used to be simply because they don’t run around as much.
“So you get a lot of kids going into tennis that can’t even throw or catch a bouncing ball and have never handled the equipment before, so when they start tennis they find it difficult.
“They often drop out early, because it is too tough for them.”
Judy coached her sons Andy and Jamie, Wimbledon singles and double champions respectively, until the age of 12.
In another recent interview she said: “When my kids were young, I was always looking for ways to tire them out.
“Our weather is so bad up here that many of the things we developed were things we could do in the house or the garden.
“And they developed really good hand-eye and foot-eye co-ordination, so it wouldn’t have mattered what sport they wanted to try when they got older, they would have been able to do it quite competently.”
She continued: “But nowadays, so many kids are uncoordinated or less coordinated, simply because they don’t play as actively as kids used to … they don’t walk or run or cycle as much … and the things that are trendy to play with are things that require you to be sitting down.
“So even simple things like throwing and catching a ball, and moving to and from a bouncing ball, which are fundamental to a sport such as tennis, you need to teach these skills first before you can put a racquet in their hand and help them to get the ball over the net.”
Judy has recently been touring the UK with her ‘Tennis on the Road Programme’ in a bid to get more children taking-up tennis.
It is not the first time she had raised concerns about this generation of kids being less sporty than their parents.
In 2014 she urged the Government to introduce compulsory “physical education homework”.
While earlier this year she said: “All too often kids sit on their butts playing computer games but if you can get them being active at a young age the chances are it’ll stick with them.
“We need parents to understand that being physically literate is as important as being able to read and write.”