National tennis coach Malcolm Kajer is amazed at the raw talent in the primary schools around the island.
He managed to unearth these talents through the help of the ANZ school tennis programme which started last year.
The programme has been running since the fourth term and so far, Kajer said it has been a success.
He said the programme designed for Year One to Three students had Takitumu, St Josephs, Arorangi, Rutaki, Nikao and Avarua primary schools taking part.
“Not many codes go and work with the younger children in the primary schools and we are pleased that we are able to do that through this programme,” Kajer said.
“Just by going to the schools, I have spotted that there is a lot of talent amongst our school kids and it will be great if they can come and utilise that talent down at the National Tennis Centre.
““All tennis is played on the grass, thanks to specialised equipment provided by Tennis Australia through their junior hotshots programme.”
Kajer said they were also pleased with the turnout of children at the programme.
He was also pleased with the response from the participating schools towards the programme.
“The average participants from bigger schools have been between 40 and 70 while from smaller schools, we managed to draw about 20 to 30 kids.
“This is the first year where we have ran the programme in every term and we are hoping to continue this next year as well.”
The school tennis programme involve introductory to tennis lessons as well as basic hand eye coordination skills along with fun fitness drills.
The aim of the programme is to get the young ones motivated to come down and join national programme at the Blackrock Tennis Centre, Kajer said.
“Next year we are looking at starting a six week programme aimed at the schools during first term and also carrying on throughout the whole year.
“We will be looking forward to another great year in 2019 for ANZ schools tennis and I would like to thank ANZ bank for the opportunity given to the kids of the primary schools in Rarotonga to have free tennis lessons.”