Primary school pupils get set for annual Zurich tennis programme

Article | March 25, 2024

Pupils from primary schools across the Island are competing in a Zurich-sponsored tennis scheme which aims to encourage the next generation of Manx players.

The annual Zurich Schools Programme is the result of a long-standing partnership between Zurich on the Isle of Man and Isle of Man LTA (the Island’s branch of the Lawn Tennis Association).

This year’s programme – which is delivered by We Do Tennis (wedotennis.co.uk) on behalf of Isle of Man LTA – began at Onchan Primary School on March 11th with an aim of delivering to 20 primary schools, with each school getting a full days’ worth of coaching or the equivalent of 6x1 hour sessions each week over the next few months. The programme culminates with schools taking part in a ‘National Finals’ event at the NSC on June 21st.

Nigel Hunter, Director, We Do Tennis, commented: “We have an ambitious target of delivering sessions to 20 primary schools this year, which would be a significant uplift on previous years. Thanks to Zurich’s support the programme has grown steadily since their sponsorship began. It has had a measurable impact on promoting the sport, so this year – with support from Isle of Man LTA too – we will be able to significantly expand the programme. Training teachers to deliver coaching is a big part of the initiative and we have now trained 10 secondary and 35 primary teachers. We are also providing training to 36 secondary school pupils so that they can provide coaching to younger pupils. The secondary school element – both in terms of training teachers and pupils – is new for this year, and to support this we will be bringing over more of our UK coaches. Last year we ran one competition in Douglas, but in 2024 we will also have four regional events at secondary schools to increase engagement and lead to more entries for the National Finals.”

Nigel Simpson, Head of International Markets, Zurich on the Isle of Man, commented: “The Zurich Schools Programme, led by the Isle of Man LTA, plays a vital role in introducing youngsters to the sport. We understand the significance of grassroots development in nurturing young talent. Our backing for this initiative reflects our commitment to promoting sports and community engagement across the Island.”

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