15 April 2016

Tennis tour

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Nineteen students from Years 7 to 11 travelled to Vale do Lobo, Portugal on a tennis tour in the Easter holidays. We all had an amazing time and feel that our tennis improved significantly.

On the first day, after arriving we were straight into our first tennis session, and were amazed by the amount of support given by numerous coaches. Our first session was based on forehand technique and whilst this coaching was very advanced it also referred to the basics, enabling us to improve the foundations of our stroke. The coaches at the resort awarded a player of the day prize to the person who they thought had the best work ethic. That person was provided with a luminous yellow bib which they had to wear for the day. On day 1 Jemima earned the bib!

On day 2, after an astonishing breakfast, we all walked down to the tennis club in the morning and did a session on serves and refreshed our forehands. The coaches were very helpful and gave us individual feedback while watching us play. On Tuesday, Parth was awarded the bib for consistent good play. In the afternoon, the tennis club had organised a doubles tournament against four other schools. The standard was extremely high and we all learnt a lot from playing these matches. We all found it useful to put into practice the skills we had been learning over the last two sessions. When we got back to the hotel, we all ventured into the freezing outside pool. In the evening we were exhausted but still attended the tennis club karaoke night where Archie performed impressive renditions of ‘You raise me up’ and ‘Wonderwall’. That night we also watched Parth and Sophie play in exhibition matches with the tennis pros who had coached us earlier in the day.

On day 3, we had an early start, and set off for the beach at eight o’clock. We then had half an hour of fitness on the beach which included an intense circuit of different exercises including planks and lunges. After breakfast we walked to tennis and had sessions that focused on backhands, which we all found very beneficial as for most of us this is our weaker shot. In our lunch break some of the students swam in the club swimming pool while the rest lay on the sun beds in the heat. We were then back on the courts for a session based on backhands and played some competitive games. At the end of the session Sophie was awarded player of the day because of her consistent good play. When we got back to the hotel the teachers organised a very competitive but fun general knowledge quiz for all the students to partake in, after this we went to bed for an early night.

On day 4, we had an early breakfast because our tennis session was at 8:30 because then after tennis we were going to Villamoura Marina until mid-afternoon. Our morning tennis session was focused on smash and volleys, which we all enjoyed greatly, even if we missed a few smashes because the sun was shining right on us. When we arrived at Villamoura, we enjoyed lunch and also had the chance to do a bit of shopping, and most of us enjoyed an ice cream there too. When we got back from the marina we very quickly found ourselves back on the court. We went through some smash and volley drills from the morning and then put some of these skills into some matchplay games and at the end of the session Clara was awarded player of the day, for great listening to coaches and putting this advice into her play, and really improving.

On day 5, we had a late breakfast because we spent lots of the morning packing, which made us all very sad because we didn’t want to go home. Later in the morning we had a two and a half hour session, which went very quickly. In our session we went through some final drills which involved all we had learnt in the week and then we finished off with some fun games, which was a great way to finish our very busy week. We got to say thank you to all the coaches and they awarded the prize player of the week to Sophie, which was well deserved for her fantastic play throughout the week! We all then said our final goodbyes and found ourselves on the coach back to the airport.

The trip was so enjoyable for everyone and we all improved so much in our tennis. We had a great time in the sun and in the pool too throughout the week and it is very sad to be saying goodbye.

Grace Fleming, Sophie Dargan, Clara Tyler

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