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Progressing Youth Tennis - Monday, September 17, 2012

Integrating Tennis into Physical Education In Schools

 Imaginative or inventive, either one can be a great description for June Brooks, a 14-year South Scotland Elementary School physical education teacher. Her main goal, she says, is to give her students "physical and mental fulfillment”considering what she has to work with.

Due to a zero budget, no gym and basketball courts overgrown by trees, Brooks says opportunities are limited. Luckily a recent contribution from the Scotland Country Tennis Center has helped to encourage physical activity in students entering very critical stages in their lives.

South Scotland and Laurel Hill Elementary schools were loaned tennis equipment last year to help gaugethe interest level of the student body. The schools got the items free of charge. Sponsorshipsand soft-court membership fees charged by the Tennis Center paid for the equipment.

"Kids really took to the programs, and hopefully other schools will follow suit,” said Tom Sheller, director of the Scotland County Tennis Center.

Brooks and Jordan Reilly, the Laurel Hill Elementary physical education teacher had to be resourceful so they used parking lots as ground zero for the introduction of the sport. Now that Reilly has his own set of supplies he can teach tennis to all ages and skill levels throughout the calendar year.

Last year Reilly taught an introductory tennis program that involved hula hoops as targets for students to try to develop swing accuracy. A couple of weeks ago, Sheller stood before several principals pushing the idea of tennis in the physical education curriculum. Although they are currently non-committal he is still optimistic about the future of youth tennis. Fighting Scots men’s and women’s varsity tennis coach, Jeanne Roller said, "The SCTA purchasing equipment for schools is a giant opportunity for this community. So many times throughout the years I’ve had students come to me having never played tennis before. It takes a couple years to learn this sport, and I feel that integrating tennis into schools can only benefit my future teams.”




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