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Smithdon High School

Love-All at Smithdon Tennis Festival

It was game, set and match, when tennis players at Smithdon High School helped coach younger pupils in their on-court slices and smashes.

Twenty of our Year 8 students took part in Beyond the Baseline, an annual Youth Sport Trust initiative designed to promote tennis skills in young people.

Over the course of three sessions, the ‘Tennis Leaders’ put 60 of our Year 7 students through their sporting paces, culminating in a Tennis Festival at the school, which is part of the West Norfolk Academies Trust.

The Leaders were supported by ex-tennis professional Jade Windley, who is a former Wimbledon player and member of Team GB, and prepared the group for their coaching role.

“We have been lucky enough to be selected for this project for a number of years, and having Jade as our Development Athlete still has an impact on our previous tennis leaders,” said organiser Jamie Tilley, who is Head of PE at Smithdon.

“It entails using tennis skills to develop intrapersonal skills, such as communication, leadership, teamwork and confidence, by working together planning a tennis session, delivering the session, and reflecting at the end,” he continued. “The Year 8 pupils worked hard to plan fun, engaging tennis games to deliver their sessions to younger peers, so that they inspire them to play tennis in the future.

“It is vital that we have opportunities like this for our pupils. To work with a professional tennis player inspires our pupils to challenge themselves to be the best that they can be.

“The skills students develop from these events mean that they are eager to volunteer to represent Smithdon to become Sports Leaders for various sporting events for the Smithdon Primary Cluster as well – this is something that we are very proud of.”

“I believe that any sport is an integral part of students’ education,” added our Headteacher, Amanda Gibbins. “I am proud of the varied sporting opportunities that we are able to offer our students here at Smithdon, which include our annual involvement in the Beyond the Baseline programme.

“Seeing the development of our young people as they apply their learnt skills to support younger students is the start of creating leaders of the future – not just in sport, but in all walks of life.

“I was lucky enough to be involved in a similar programme of sports coaching when I was at school, and I still employ some of those skills in my day-to-day role now.”