Renowned tennis coach leads workshops at Strathclyde

Judy Murray (far left) speaks to Strathclyde PGDE students

Internationally-renowned tennis coach Judy Murray has led workshops at the University of Strathclyde for student teachers of physical education.

The coach, and mother of champion players Andy and Jamie, visited Strathclyde to guide students on the University’s PGDE Physical Education programme in the sessions, based on a teaching resource she has developed with the aim of helping tennis to flourish across Scotland.

The resource, produced in collaboration with Education Scotland, offers adaptable activities and teaching strategies to future teachers who could nurture the successors to the Murray brothers. It is designed to be taught to school pupils aged between five and 18.

Features of the resource include:

video clips to demonstrate and explain a range of practices and games, using a variety of equipment

sections focused on specific types of equipment, including rackets, balls, beanbags and ‘juggling squares’

material designed particularly for primary and secondary learners.

Judy Murray said: “Teachers and practitioners are the key to growing tennis in Scotland and this resource supports all of them to deliver tennis in a fun, stimulating and engaging way.

“None of the content in the course requires a tennis court. Each practice and game can be adapted and used in whatever space is available, making tennis accessible to everyone.

“The video clips showcase a range of practices and games that will build confidence and provide enjoyment, challenge and success for every learner. The resource supports learners to develop transferrable skills which can be applied in a wide range of physical activity, sport and dance.”

Mel Benson, Head of Lower School at St George’s School, Edinburgh, who co-produced the resource with Judy, said: “We thoroughly enjoy working with Strathclyde. Our aim is to equip the PGDE students with the skills, knowledge and confidence to teach tennis, a complex sport, in schools.

“Judy has worked hard at reducing the barriers we face when delivering tennis in a school environment with no courts and limited equipment. It is our hope that students now know how to teach tennis in a fun, engaging and inclusive way from early Primary years to 18 years old, whether the teaching space is a church hall, playground, badminton or astroturf with the equipment they currently have in their department. Let’s hope a Strathclyde PGDE student can inspire the next Andy or Jamie Murray!”

Cara Lamb, PGDE Subject Lead for Physical Education at Strathclyde, said: “We are very lucky to draw on the extensive expertise of Judy and Mel in providing our students with a fun, engaging and educational experience at Strathclyde. It’s helped them to understand how to engage young people in an inclusive environment, aimed at achieving success for all.

“Although Judy has vast experience coaching at the elite level, her passion shines through when working at grassroots level. We are delighted to continue to develop our student teachers in engaging with this work at this early stage of their teaching career.”

The PGDE students have found the workshops to be a valuable experience. They were delivered just prior their school placements and this helped them to think differently about possibilities for teaching physical education in schools.

Alison MacVicar, a current PGDE Physical Education (Gaelic Medium) student, said: “What a great workshop - fun and full of content! Judy and Mel delivered a superb session that was full of differentiation and ways of adapting if you had limited equipment! I went home that night and wrote down all the drills because I enjoyed it so much. I've already transferred these into Shinty, Handball and Badminton. Very worthwhile day and being Judy's doubles partner put the cherry on top! Delighted!”