The fourth instalment of 'Educating stuff,' a new blog from Wimbledon's Education Department, describes how February is all about the Primary schools.
It must have something to do with the longer days and slightly warmer temperatures for it is at this time of year that the lesser-spotted Primary School Pupil emerges from its winter hibernation to visit Wimbledon. We offer a fantastic range of workshops tailored especially for primary schools, and this year we have introduced a brand new art workshop in which students design their very own tennis t-shirts, and the best bit is they get to take them home with them at the end of the day! It was this workshop that fifty-six Year Three pupils from Holy Trinity Primary School in Richmond came to take part in last week. Of course the t-shirts we provided them with conformed to the ‘predominantly white’ rule that is expected of tennis attire here at the Club, however they were soon transformed with colourful representations of the trophies and Club logo, players, racquets, tennis balls and bright red strawberries. The children were thrilled with the results, as you can see from the photo above.
Spring is a great time of year to book one of our educational tours and explore the grounds, not only do you discover the fascinating history of The Championships but you have the opportunity to see firsthand how the tennis courts, plants and landscape of Murray Mound are beginning to come back to life; the first signs that the count-down to The Championships has truly begun. Another significant sign is the arrival at the Club of local students hopeful of being selected as ball boys and girls for this year’s tournament. As we may be asked questions about absolutely anything to do with The Championships, we in the Education Department are naturally inquisitive (nosey is probably more accurate!) about every aspect of the event, and so we went to watch one of the early training sessions to see what it takes to be part of the world’s greatest tennis tournament.
What it does take it seems is phenomenal fitness, great teamwork and incredible discipline. We were exhausted just watching the warm-up drills! The main body of the session focussed on the pre-match warm-up: what goes on, where to stand to avoid being hit by a serve, when to sprint across the net to gather up the balls, how to ‘feed’ the balls to the player in the correct Wimbledon way, how to march on and off court in perfect symmetry, how to work as a team to ensure that both players have a supply of balls throughout the five minutes of the warm-up... So much to learn and already the trainers’ experienced eyes are identifying those who just aren’t going to make the grade and will be dropped before the spring is even fully upon us. It was a real privilege for us to take a glimpse ‘behind the scenes’ and we hope to attend another training session in the coming months and we will keep you updated in a future blog.
The one disappointment experienced by many of our younger visitors to the Education Department concerns the lack of famous people that we are able to produce during their visit; many of them believe that the likes of Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray live within the All England Club on a permanent basis and they are quite shocked to discover that the players are competing year-round, following the sunshine across the globe. Another student was also disappointed recently to see a pineapple on top of the gentlemen’s trophy; having noticed the vast quantity of bananas consumed by the players during the matches he thought it would be much more appropriate for the yellow power fruit to adorn the top of the cup- the logic of the primary school child is one of the reasons that this job is such a joy!
More information on the Tennis T-Shirts workshop can be found on the Education pages of the website.