The culmination of a summer's worth of effort was on display at Otumoetai Tennis Club on Friday.

Club coach Paul Bell oversaw the fun day out to end a year's coaching for Years 3 and 4 students from Matua School, Bellevue School and Otumoetai Primary School.

"I have only been in Tauranga for a year and a half and it was my goal to raise tennis awareness in Years 3 and 4. The three schools competing here with the best of the best is the result of that," Bell said.

"They are not so committed in other sports at this stage so to go in and introduce them to what is a very difficult sport to learn at school and then bring them into club is very important."


Bell said it was important for coaches to get into schools and have that link with clubs.

"The schools have been very receptive to me coming in and have bent over backwards to allow me time for me to do that within their lesson time.

"Ultimately we would like kids to come and try tennis at the club and a lot of these are now current members. We are now pushing 210 junior members at Otumoetai which is an increase of about 80 since I started.

"We are now the top junior membership in the Bay and the ninth biggest junior membership in New Zealand."

Otumoetai Primary's Madeleine Van Vliet watches the ball. PHOTO/JOHN BORREN
Otumoetai Primary's Madeleine Van Vliet watches the ball. PHOTO/JOHN BORREN

Bellevue School teacher Margaret-Ann St Clair said the improvement in the kids' tennis ability over the summer was something to behold.

"It has been fantastic. We have now been doing it for about three terms and the difference in the children is marked. Their hand-eye co-ordination is improving and they have just become more confident with ball skills and tennis in general which is great," she said.

"The kids really like (Paul) and they really look forward to coming to tennis on a Friday."

St Clair said the tennis improvement translated into the classroom as well.


"With tennis, they have to focus so it helps them concentrate more and also the co-ordination helps in other ways. The other thing I have noticed with our kids is resilience. They can't just give up; they have to keep going.

"We had that at the very beginning with 'I can't do this' but it has been really good and they now see that the more they practice, the better they get."