Background

In 2010, the ITF Introduction to Tennis taskforce highlighted that a starter programme for adults should be considered and that a programme using the slower balls used within the Tennis Play and Stay campaign be developed to capture the declining audience of adult participants in tennis.

Key Points

An Adult Tennis working sub-group was established to devise a programme that would include the following key points:

  • Participants to be able to Serve Rally Score from the first lesson
  • Participants to be able to play a match without the coach being there (Orange, Green or Yellow)
  • Participants to be able to learn rules and scoring system
  • The Programme to link with a follow on competitive programme (Box leagues, club night etc)
  • The programme to focus on basic technique: Contact, balance, simple swing, no extreme grips
  • The programme to focus on basic tactics: Consistency, Recovery, Move opponent, Use Strength / Exploit Weakness
  • The programme to focus on 3 game situations: Baseline Game, Serve & Return, Approach and Pass
  • The programme to focus on singles and doubles
  • The programme to include exercises: tips on likely problems – checkpoints – easier – harder; how to warm up, learn about etiquette / tennis culture, etc.
  • Knowing each others name
  • Participants to be advised by coach regarding what is available at the club from a follow up coaching or competition – sign up for box leagues / more advanced coaching
  • Programme to have suporting resources available such as a booklet for starter players – scoring, etiquette, tips for buying equipment etc that could be given with the course
  • Coach must to use slower balls and the games based approach
  • The programme to be easy / appropriate ensuring lots of success
  • The programme to be active, dynamic programme with people feeling they are getting a workout/sweating
  • Communication by the coach to be good and appropriate
  • The programme to incorporate the 5 things from exisitng research on what adults want from physical activity: social, leaning / improving, health and fitness, flexibility, belonging (Click here for more information)
  • At conclusion of the programme the participants will be able to play competitively singles / doubles with an Orange or Green ball” (or regular Yellow ball)

Mark Tennant (ITF Expert / Inspire 2 Coach, GBR) was invited to lead on the development of the course content and develop a 10-12 hour starter tennis programme for adults that offers a fun and dynamic introduction to the game. The key selling point would be that that adults will play tennis fast. The programme would incorporate the use of the slower Orange and Green balls as used within the TennisPlay and Stay campaign.

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