Tennis sessions taking off at Grammar

Students from Larne Grammar School and teacher Maggie Smythe (right) use the new tennis courts at the school. INLT 42-002-PSB
Students from Larne Grammar School and teacher Maggie Smythe (right) use the new tennis courts at the school. INLT 42-002-PSB

This term Larne Grammar School has organised Saturday morning recreational tennis sessions to encourage pupils to take up the game and to get some extra practice throughout the winter months.

This year Larne Grammar school opened four new astro-turf courts and teachers Maggie Smythe and Jonny Rea are co-ordinating the innovative programme to promote tennis as a healthy sport for life for all.

“We wanted to make use of the brand new courts at the school and at the same time offer pupils an alternative sport to the traditional games of hockey and rugby on a Saturday morning, so this programme is ideal,” said Maggie. “As the courts are close to the other sports pitches, pupils playing tennis can be part of the regular Saturday morning schedule at the school. Although the sessions are recreational and informal, we hope it will have a positive effect on the tennis teams when the summer term comes around. I supervise the sessions and also provide balls and racquets - the pupils are then free to play.”

Since the sessions started in mid-September 2012, the number participating has increased from zero to 20. All pupils from 11 to 17 years old are encouraged to bring class mates from 10am to 12pm and join in.

Jonny Rea, Head of the School Tennis Teams, welcomed the new initiative: “This will strengthen our current tennis programme and will supplement the PE class sessions that we have arranged for the first time this year in partnership with Larne Borough Council’s Tennis Active Community Coach, Iain Galway. We hope pupils in the school benefit from the sessions, and that with increased participation levels the school will then be in a better position in 2013 to challenge for the Ulster Tennis Secondary School Cups and also the North Eastern Board Schools Sports Association (NEBSSA) Tennis Competition, which we hosted two years ago. A group from the school, along with Hunterhouse College, will then travel to Wimbledon in June 2013 to support Andy Murray in his bid for another Grand Slam title.”

The school has been very supportive of the initiative and Larne Grammar School’s principal, Jonathan Wylie, lent his support to the programme and praised the work of Mrs Smythe and Mr Rea in developing tennis as an extra-curricular activity: “It has been so encouraging to come down to the school on a Saturday morning and see so many pupils making use of our superb new tennis facilities,” he said.

Ulster Tennis wish Larne Grammar School every success with their new schools’ programme and for the 2013 season.

If your local school is interested in following Larne Grammar’s example, please contact the Ulster Tennis Office at or on 02890 383808 for further details.