|The main sports for girls at the College are hockey in the Michaelmas Term, netball in the Lent Term and tennis and rounders in the summer.
In hockey, the school fields two senior teams, the 1st XI and 2nd XI and in every other year there are both A and B teams. All girls, regardless of their experience, receive regular hockey training and so all can be considered for school matches. We aim to coax the best possible performance out of every girl, and we are fortunate that the two astroturf pitches, one of which is floodlit, allow training and matches to continue all year round. Denstone is developing an impressive record of success in girls’ hockey and teams are regularly crowned county champions across the age groups. Indeed, the College has for many years provided players for county teams; this has proliferated over the past five years within England Hockey’s ‘Single System’. Several girls have gone on to the Futures Cup and High Performance Assessment Camps (HiPac) as well as Performance Centres.
Netball is flourishing at Denstone and is the main sport for girls in the Lent term. We run teams from the 1st VII through to the U12B side. The fixture list is competitive and inclusive and our aim is for all girls at Denstone to have the opportunity to represent the school in team fixtures. We compete in county and school tournaments when possible as well as holding strongly contested annual inter-house competitions. At Denstone we follow the athlete development plan outlined by England Netball, supplementing basic skills with more complex concepts as girls progress. Our links with Staffordshire, Derbyshire, regional and midlands netball squads are strong. We actively encourage girls to attend the trials and train with the satellite/academy sides and increasing numbers represent club and county sides.
Tennis is offered during the Summer Term to girls from the 3rd Form onwards. We have 12 astroturf courts which are floodlit and six hard courts. The senior girls play in the Summer Derby League which allows pupils to play against established senior clubs in the Derby area. In addition, the junior and middle pupils play in the Year 10 AEGON Championship, enabling them to develop doubles partnership skills, but allowing them to play singles and so develop both partnership and match playing skills. Denstone competes in the ISTA Championships, and also offers the chance to enter the Road to Wimbledon singles competition.
Athletics is a popular option at the College. The key focus of the athletics programme is to improve an athlete’s running technique using the Speed, Agility & Quickness Continuum (SAQ) and sprint conditioning drills. Individuals are also given the opportunity to work on their specific events with specialist coaches. A performance group has the opportunity to train at Northwood Stadium, and the Annual District Championships are held here at Denstone. Again, our athletes are regularly selected for the County Championships and a smaller number compete in the Divisional Championships and the National Schools Finals. The final event of the school year sees all six houses compete in keenly contested athletics events.
Rounders is played by all the junior girls. It is played competitively against other schools in the first three forms and socially throughout the school as part of the activities programme. We participate in the national JET competition each year, and several of our players have been selected for England squads.
An excellent range of other activities such as swimming, cross country, golf and aerobics are additional options on games afternoons. Denstone has its own pool, and sessions are taken by qualified instructors. Sessions are tailored to pupils’ needs and include social swimming, endurance swimming, stroke correction and life-saving. Girls wishing to opt for cross country running are able to try the many different courses which take pupils around the grounds, as well as off the campus and into the local countryside. Such running aids the girls’ general fitness and allows them to pace themselves against runners of similar ability. Golf is also available to girls, on our EGU affiliated 9 hole golf course. The College enters teams in the annual HMC Foursomes, with some significant success, and all year round pupils can be found on the course, enjoying the many challenges and appreciating the magnificent views. Those electing to do aerobics enjoy a range of disciplines including Zumba and circuits. These change according to the needs and preferences of those involved.
The range of physical activity on offer at Denstone ensures that our girls all have the opportunity to develop the many personal and social benefits of sport on a regular basis.