Murray's mum calls for more competition and primary PE

2nd November 2012 at 00:00

There should be more PE in primary - with teachers given the specialist support to deliver it - and more competition to make pupils more resilient, according to Judy Murray.

The tennis coach, captain of the GB women's team and mother of the British men's number one and US Open champion Andy Murray, called on parents to play their part in ensuring their children were active.

She played ball games with sons Andy and Jamie as soon as they were able to walk; this had given them the foundation to play any sport competently, she said. This experience formed the basis of the Murrays' Set 4 Sport physical literacy programme.

Children today were less coordinated and more overweight, said Ms Murray.

"It's difficult for a teacher to do any kind of quality physical activity with 30 kids in their class," she added. "It's easier when they are sitting behind desks in a controlled environment, but when they start running around it's a whole different ball game. We need more specialist PE support to develop that physical literacy in school."

After-school activities also needed to become more widespread and more school teams created, she said.

Some tennis players dropped out, not because they were not good enough, but because they were not resilient enough, she explained. More competition in schools would help address this problem.

"Life is competitive, therefore it's important to understand how to compete."

The key to motivating young people was fun and developing a team spirit, she told delegates at the European School Heads Association conference in Edinburgh.

Earlier this year she accompanied five junior girls to the USA to play a match against their American hosts. Based on their first day of practice she thought they would get "whipped". But by concentrating on fun activities that brought the girls together - such as three-a-side games and painting their nails - they became "a little unit" and beat the US team.

"We weren't going to make their tennis 100 per cent better in three days, but we could influence their thinking."

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar,, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today