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Over & In The LTA asked Hamid to write a small piece on the club and a local school they work with as a case study for club school links as this particular school won a national schools tennis competition.

School - Club Links Case Study

Great Shelford Tennis Club with  Harston and Newton Primary School

GSTC is a four court floodlit club set in the heart of a fantastic village, based a few miles south of Cambridge. It has a wooden clubhouse with no heating and fairly limited facilities.

What it lacks in facilities it more than makes up for with a membership of over 350, a great committee and a thriving coaching programme that sees around 200 children per year participating. The club also has thriving competitive section that includes around 8 men’s, 6 ladies, veterans, mixed and junior teams who play all year round (whatever the weather). There is an annual awards night along with a host of other social events throughout the year. The atmosphere at the tennis club is like no other I have known with players of all ages and abilities interacting across the board. It is a truly unique little tennis club!

Why did you decide to set up the School Club Link?

We set up a number of school links with Harston being one of them, a school we have worked with for around 9 years.  These links play a key part in any clubs development. Even if our school links are not profitable we keep running them. The school playground is one of your best marketing aids and over time numbers do generally increase especially if you are doing a good job. Word of mouth is a powerful thing and lots of people have got to know about our entire coaching programme just through this.

How did you set up the School Club Link?

We contacted the head teacher who was very keen to get skilled tennis coaches in to the school. We ran a taster session as part of a school assembly where two of us set up a mini court and ran an interactive question and answer session about tennis as well as firing some questions back at the children. It was then a case of advertising through the school which was easy.  It is a must that the school are supportive of the coaching and that they help promote it to the pupils. Some schools are less enthusiastic about sport than others but Harston School is fantastic. The teachers that we deal with are all friendly and very supportive toward the tennis which is a big reason why they’ve been so successful. It is a real pleasure working with a school like Harston and Newton Primary!

What benefits have the club seen as a result of this activity?

The club has seen a slight increase in membership as a direct impact of the school link with children progressing from the school tennis onto activities at the club. The big benefit is the overall exposure you can give the club through the local schools and we have a number of other people from the local school join the club who may not have been involved in the actual school activity. I make a point of getting to know faces in the play ground, asking parents if they play tennis, telling them about the club and in general trying to give my club a good impression to all the local community through the school link!

Hamid Hejazi

Head coach at Great Shelford tennis club

Last Updated on Sunday, 02 February 2014 20:09




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