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Students ‘acing’ Tennis in Manildra

Tennis Australia Sporting Schools programme at Manildra Public School

Image: Tennis Australia Sporting Schools programme at Manildra Public School

Between the regional towns of Parkes and Orange sits the NSW country town of Manildra, a community with a population of 460. Manildra Public School has 36 students all up and when tennis coach, Helen Magill brought Tennis Australia’s Sporting Schools programme to their schoolyard, the students were mightily impressed that their small school would get this big programme.

Over six weeks, Helen worked on the students’ abilities with warm up activities, coordination, depth perception, movement and rallying skills.

Helen said the primary students were challenged with developing their confidence and competence through cooperative and competitive activities. In pairs, each student was encouraged to develop patience, tolerance, encouragement and teamwork, all whilst having fun.

“Sporting Schools is a fabulous programme and an effective pathway for increased physical activity for primary school children in the coming years,” Helen said.

“The programme has given me the opportunity to get involved with smaller schools in Country NSW and give those students a tennis experience because their isolation makes it difficult to get to these areas,” she said.

Helen said one of the best things about being involved was seeing how excited the students were to participate each week, eager to help set up and pack up the equipment.

“I even took them all ANZ Tennis Hot Shots shirts and they decided that would wear them as their sports uniform every Friday for Term 4, so that was pretty special,” Helen said.

“As a result, eight students have signed up to my after school programme in Parkes which will further benefit their health and wellbeing and increase their levels of regular physical activity,” she said.

Helen believes that being an NSO-endorsed coach with Tennis Australia provides her with another pathway as a coach to access schools, and also gives her the chance to encourage the students to continue to be active in programmes outside of school.

In partnership with Tennis Australia, schools who participate in the Sporting Schools programme will receive a free equipment 'kit' which enables the school to continue participating throughout the year. It also encourages the students to build on the skills they've learnt from the professional coach.

“I'm very excited to be involved in the Sporting Schools programme and look forward to providing a tennis experience to as many schools as possible in 2016,” Helen said.

Sporting Schools is a $100 million Australian Government initiative to get more children playing more sport, before, during and after school. Want to run a Tennis programme at your school? Check out all the details on the Tennis Australia page.

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