Since the reintroduction of tennis into the Olympic family in 1988, the International Tennis Federation through its Tennis Development Department has collaborated closely with Olympic Solidarity (OS) on a variety of programmes designed to grow tennis around the world.
Through Olympic Solidarity, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) works with athletes, coaches, sports administrators, National Olympic Committees (NOCs) and International Federations to support the worldwide development of all sport. Olympic Solidarity is the part of the IOC that distributes television income from the Olympic Games to the NOCs. Since 1985, the Olympic Solidarity Commission has developed its activities on a quadrennial-plan basis.
The most recent initiatives undertaken by the ITF with the support of OS are:
Scholarships for players
Players are eligible for Olympic Solidarity scholarships to attend the ITF training centres. To recieve such a grant a player must demonstrate high performance at international level and thus have a good chance of competing in future Games for their country.
The objective of this programme is to offer training for coaches in all Olympic Sports. OS will only support courses that follow a structure utilising approved International Federation syllabi (eg Level 1, Level 2 etc).
National Associations wishing to benefit from an OS technical course grant should contact their National Olympic Committee (NOC) directly to apply for funding, as each year the NOCs will receive a budget from Olympic Solidarity for “national” technical courses. Once funding is approved, the ITF will then arrange the course in consultation with the relevant National Association.
In addition, Olympic Solidarity also supports regional courses. In these cases, the ITF liaises directly with OS to propose the organisation of these courses on a regional basis and therefore, in the first instance, National Associations should liaise with the relevant ITF Development Officer regarding hosting a regional course.
Scholarships for coaches
The main objective of this programme is to offer coaches access to high-level training outside of their respective countries. These scholarships provide the opportunity for coaches to receive short-term sports specific training, practical experience and theoretical knowledge, normally via an intensive residential course.
Coaches must be nominated by their National Association and approved by their National Olympic Committee. Potential candidates should have passed a Level 2 course or equivalent, and have had practical experience as a coach at national / international level. Having completed their training, coached will be called upon to pass on their knowledge and generally strengthen the position of tennis within their home country.
Development of a national coaching structure
This programme was established to help a specific sport to develop a national coaching structure. It provides funding to National Olympic Committees (NOCs) to enable their National Associations to employ an experienced foreign coach for a specific period of time to help them set up or reinforce the whole national structure of a particular sport.
At the same time, it should allow persons at national level to acquire sufficient knowledge to be able to pursue this development on a long-term basis. It is important that NOCs, in liaison with their national associations, examine the current situation and develop an action plan to address weaknesses detected in certain areas.
The ITF’s role is to assist in the selection of the foreign expert and offer technical support throughout the project. This expert would then work with the national association to establish a coherent and realistic long-term development plan, as well as training local coaches and establishing effective elite and grass roots programmes at national level.
For more information on all these schemes please visit the ITF Coaching website.