Play & Stay Tennis programme reaping rewards in basic schools
Play & Stay Tennis was developed and is administered by the International Tennis Federation (ITF). The equipment - lightweight racquets and colourful tennis balls - are specially designed by the ITF for young children to use with ease and to enjoy the game from the first lesson.
Play & Stay is recognised worldwide and each country's national tennis association's programme is modified according to its particular needs.
During the 2016 Christmas term, Gore Family Foundation's (GFF) Play & Stay tennis coach, Evan Williams (ably assisted by coach Valencia White), focused on remedial training plus lots of fun activities at Gospel Refuge, Sylvia Foote, Amy Bailey, Arnold Road, St John's, Sandy Park, Sandhurst, St Anne's, Mission Hall Methodist and Chetolah Park basic schools.
The ITF and GFF say Play & Stay Tennis provides:
- Good hand-eye and body coordination;
- Gross motor control, through court movement and striking the ball, which requires control of large muscle groups; and fine motor control, by moving into position and adjusting the upper body to hit the ball.
- Social skills, through interaction and communications before, during and after play.
- Psychological benefits from regular tennis play. It facilitates the mental alacrity required for young children to develop positive characteristics such as discipline and self-control.
- Tennis teaches management and dexterity by learning to adjust to the sun and wind, yet still compete.
Last term's selection of MVPs (Most Valuable Players) were met with much excitement not just by the children, but parents and teachers alike; all thoroughly enjoyed the presentation of medals. Coach Williams reported that choosing MVPs was no easy task, as numerous children excelled at each school.
The MVP selection is key in the Play & Stay programme as it is not awarded on skill alone, but dependent on the right attitude, effort and deportment.