AS head tennis coach at Priory Tennis Club in Stalybridge, Andy Perry has been busy over the last eight years increasing tennis participation not only at the club, but also in the wider community.
With a large number of club/school links in place this summer, Andy will visit several local schools and coach on average around 300 children a week.
As Easter looms, a busy schedule lies ahead, both for juniors – from school reception age upwards – and adults wanting to get back into tennis.
The first week back after Easter, Andy will be visiting a number of local schools including Stalyhill Infants and Primary school, Gorse Hall Primary, Millbrook Primary, St Rafael’s Primary and St Peters to deliver sessions for reception up to year four.
He is also as inviting the children to attend an open day at Priory over the weekend of Saturday, April 21 (from 12.30pm) and Sunday, April 22 (from 1.30pm).
During the week he anticipates he will coach around 750 children and last year the children loved trying out a new sport, and then showcasing their new skills during the open day before playing tennis with their parents on the fantastic courts at Priory.
Andy said: ‘It was important to me that when I started as head coach at Priory we took tennis into the local community and broke down barriers that tennis was exclusive.
“These sessions at schools provide a great opportunity for children to try a different sport, and over the years we have transformed the club into a thriving place that young and old love to come to.
“Children as young as four and adults as old as 94 play each week.
“We have some fantastic juniors now playing for the teams and competing well against far bigger clubs in the North West.
“Making tennis affordable and accessible is the secret to our success and getting people back into sport combats both mental health issues and obesity levels.
“It’s also a great way to meet new people and interact, and if it gets the kids off their phones and X boxes and interacting with others then that is a win-win situation.”
For adults wanting to get back into playing tennis, there’s even a six-week course scheduled to start from Wednesday, April 18 (7pm-8.30pm) which has been hugely popular over the last few years.
As well as term-time courses for children which run on Mondays, Wednesday and Saturdays, Andy also runs tennis camps during the holidays, with the first one scheduled for the Easter holidays (April 3-6).
These camps are also open to non-members and provide coaching from 10am-3pm each day.
Priory has four floodlit courts that can be used all-year round.
The club provides great opportunities for social and team tennis and has a thriving over 50s section who play every Monday and Friday mornings.
Prospective new members of all ages and abilities are welcome to come along three times (free of charge) to social sessions without any obligation.