Royal Grammar School


Viagem de ténis de Portugal

Viagem de ténis de Portugal

Monday 4 April saw ten intrepid Year 11 and 12 RGS students jet off to Portugal for the inaugural pre-season coaching trip.

Meeting at the ungodly hour of 6.45am (well it is in the holidays), for the trip to Leeds Bradford Airport, everybody was in a good mood and excited to be hitting the sunshine in Portugal. Faro had other ideas though, rain greeted our travellers as the wheels touched down.

After hitting the shops to stock up on water and snacks for the week, the team arrived at the palatial Ria Park Hotel (five star luxury) and took a tour of the phenomenal facilities before a short introductory coaching session.

Thankfully the weather gods appeared in a good mood come Tuesday as the weather brightened up and stayed warm and glorious for the rest of the week as the hard work started, this was no holiday for the students!

Early morning sessions starting at 8.30am were the norm (not many took up the offer of a pre-breakfast run), and with an afternoon session thrown in meant the students were getting three hours or more tennis each day. The sessions put the students through their paces and focus was on skill development (forehand, backhand, volleys, overhead shots, serves) as well as working on game awareness and strategy. The perennial Sky High game was also thrown in on a regular basis, which showed who were the fast ones!

Mr Dunn took his role of tour photographer very seriously and took lots of action shots and videos, there was never a time he was found sunning himself on the terrace or having snooze courtside...

The coaching was excellent throughout the week and it was great to see the development of the students over the week. All the students were a real hit with the coaches and worked extremely hard during every coaching session. The coaches praised them highly for their attitude and work ethic, with Sophie Head-Rapson being singled out as player of the trip. However all of the students were excellent ambassadors for RGS.

Tuesday afternoon saw the students take part in a mixed pairs tournament, with all surprising themselves with how well they performed. That evening saw an exhibition match with the professional coaches pairing with two students. After a lot of serious arm twisting, Long-Ching (her name going through many manifestations through the week, the coaches eventually settling on LC), and Paddy represented the school with aplomb.

There were some wonderful renditions on the karaoke set, dominated by the girls from Sevenoaks School, although our students tried their best to murder a modern pop song by an artist Mr Dunn had never heard of.

Between coaching, there was plenty of rest and relaxation, with several 'Padel Ball' tournaments that saw Mr Dunn and Miss Smith thrashing all-comers on a regular basis, beach volleyball was attempted (a slightly lighter ball may have helped), visits to the hotel pool aided by last minute purchases of inflatables and many, many ice creams.

The accommodation was excellent, the food was excellent, the facilities were excellent, the coaching was excellent, the students were excellent and the weather was, well, excellent. In the words of LC:

'Whey aye man, it was reet good like.'

Congratulations to all the students who took part in the fantastic week and to Miss Smith for her organisation, and Mr Dunn for being there. Keep your eyes peeled for next year's return. We hope!