Tennis is one of Oakham’s major sports in the Summer Term. Girls have the opportunity to play from the Lower School all the way through to Form 6. For boys with a clearly identified ability, tennis becomes an option from Form 3.
We regularly field 12 girls’ teams from the Middle and Upper School on a Saturday – from the 1st VI to the U14C team – with at times an opportunity to also field a D team. The boys’ teams also compete on a Saturday. Both girls and boys play against some of the biggest schools on the circuit, such as Stowe, Repton and Rugby. The Lower School teams also have full midweek blocks where again, if possible, fixtures are played from A to D team level.
Oakham also aspires to achieve national success with entry in the National Schools Team Tennis Championships, Road to Wimbledon and Aegon Leagues for both the girls' and boys' teams. Oakham has a number of boys and girls who represent the County at tennis and the School actively supports individual progress in this area. Furthermore, with the use of our Strength and Conditioning programme, we can support our pupils to develop the physical aspects of their game, in addition to the technical and tactical aspects learned through squad and individual coaching.
The coaching team is very experienced and the pupils benefit greatly from the focus on enjoyment, skill development and game understanding. Oakham offers a top quality tennis coaching programme headed up by former ITF ranked and national doubles champion Ralph Clarke. This also provides a link between the School and local clubs with many pupils enjoying playing at club level. We have a first class tennis syllabus throughout the year based on the need to play high level doubles. Our winter training programme of age group indoor training sessions and individual lessons helps us ensure that we are well prepared at the start of the season.
I joined the PE Department as Head of Girls PE in 2014 from Jumeirah English Speaking School, Dubai where I spent a year experiencing the international school environment as well as the IB. Prior to that I worked at RGS Newcastle for three years as Head of Netball and Assistant Head of House.
I joined Oakham in 2005 as Head of Sport Science and Director of Athletics, having worked in similar roles both in this country and Australia. I have been Director of Sport at Oakham since 2006; I coach rugby, run boys tennis, teach IB and A-level Biomechanics and am actively involved in research to develop psychological skills in young people.