Changing the face of tennis
By DANNY SOUSA
A CONFERENCE held in Wollongong over the weekend has the potential to change the face of Australian tennis forever.
The 14 hours of talks were held to find out why Australian Tennis has not been producing an acceptable amount of top players and what could be done to change the situation.
Representatives from Tennis NSW, Tennis Australia, Tennis Coaches Australia and representatives from various regions and governing bodies were brought together for the release of the Tennis Development Centres (TDC) program.
State coach Graeme Brimblecombe and Operations manager Greg Sleigh have been the main instigators of the program which is designed to help Australia produce more world ranked play- ers by giving professional training opportunities to more players.
The development of TDC's around Australia has been a key component of the program which aim's to have professional quality training available within one hours drive of a great majority of Australian Tennis players.
In our region, we are fortunate to have three TDC's.
The local TDC's are Taree, Coffs Harbour and Lismore.
TDC's have an inclusive policy meaning the all payers in the region are eligible to train at a TDC regardless of who is coaching them and where.
TDC's will be the hub of tennis development.
The big winners initially will be country kids with lots of previously difficult to access but vital services now being added to training.
TDC's will be linked to Departments of Sport and Recreation and local universities which will provide services such as dieticians, sports psychologists and trainers which will assess players for speed, strength and endurance every six months so as to measure players progress.
Importantly TDC's will also work with each other with Coffs Harbour, Lismore and Taree teaming up for joint training sessions in Coffs Harbour and local players able to access the State Squad at Homebush for training.
TDC coaches will travel with teams regularly to tournaments across the state and help players warm up and scout their opposition.
Due to the great success of the seminar and the great progress made, coaches and administrators will continue to network at each major event so as to maintain and refine the program.