TENNIS is the latest sport endorsed by the North Coast Academy of Sport with Tony Polack of Coffs Harbour appointed to head up the program.
"After 25 years coaching locally this has to be one of the high points of my career," Polack says.
A squad of 14 athletes has entered the Academy, all under the age of 16, with three of them locals.
Chanel Cunninghan (Korora Bay), Jessica Polack and Jarran Pfeffkorn (Coffs Harbour) make up the local contingent and yes, you're right.
Jessica Polack is the coach's offspring.
"She won't have any problem handling dad," Polack laughs.
"I've been giving a helpimg hand since she first picked up a racquet."
With one coaching weekend already completed the squad will re-assemble for intensive training on December 4-5.
"Every six months we will look at their progress and see if they should remain in the program," the coach said.
"Once they reach 16 it doesn't mean they leave the Academy.
"If they're good enough and their work ethic and behaviour at tournaments is exemplary, they stay."
Polack says individual attention to the athletes will be important.
"Everybody has different needs and personalities so you can't just herd them all together and treat them tthe same," he said.
"At the initial session, evryone was fitness tested and we identified the physical weaknesses that need attention.
"A home program goes to each player and they work on that between mandatory gatherings."
Each athlete will be invited to involve their families in the program with matters other than tennis receiving attention.
"Everything has to be well-rounded and not just about tennis," Polack said.
"The Academy provides information on drugs awareness, injury prevention and management, sports psychology, nutrition and public speaking.
"It's very much an assist with how they handle life."