Photo: Tim Jones, ITFITF expert Dermot Sweeney demonstrating to the coaches
The second in a series of Junior Tennis Initiative (JTI) workshops, specifically organised for national JTI Coordinators in the Caribbean region, was held at the Halcyon Cove by Rex Resorts in Antigua on 18-21 November.
Following the first workshop held in Burundi in the East African region in October, the workshop welcomed 16 coaches from Barbados, Bermuda, Cayman Islands, Grenada, Guyana, St Lucia, Surinam, Trinidad & Tobago and Antigua & Barbuda. A total of six workshops are being coordinated by the ITF in key regions around the world with the purpose to further educate the National JTI Coordinators and supporting coaches engaged in the delivery of 14-and-under national junior development programmes supported by the ITF.
Hosted by the Antigua & Barbuda Tennis Association, the Caribbean JTI workshop was funded through the International Olympic Committee’s Olympic Solidarity Commission funding programme, and supported by the National Olympic Committee (NOC) of Antigua & Barbuda. The ITF would like to thank both the National Association and the NOC, as well as the Antigua & Barbuda Ministry of Sport and the Halcyon Cove for their support with hosting the four-day workshop. ITF experts Dermot Sweeney, Tim Jones and John Goede, ITF Development Officer for the Caribbean region, delivered the course to the attending coaches.
Sessions delivered during the four-day workshop included how to deliver simple competition formats and activity progressions for the development of the grassroots Tennis10s programmes in schools and clubs; talent identification and high performance based training/conditioning for the most talented 12/14-and-under performance players; and advice on how to improve administration skills off court and generate further income to support the national programmes.
On the morning of the third day, the attending coaches took part in a live television broadcast on Antiguan TV at the site of the new Antigua & Barbuda National Tennis Centre, which is currently under construction in the capital St John’s. The new centre is co-funded by the national Government, local private investors and the ITF Grand Slam® Development Fund.
On the success of the workshop, John Goede expressed his gratitude to the Antigua & Barbuda Tennis Association: “This has been a great workshop and wonderful chance to showcase the national association’s programmes to all the attending nations here this week. The support of the National Olympic Committee shows how much tennis is respected in this part of the Caribbean too. The workshop is the next step of a journey to really develop future talent in the region and build the experience shared by all the attendees.”
Julian Baird, National JTI Coordinator from Barbados, said: “I found the week very interesting and gained a lot more knowledge of how to better develop national 14-and-under junior players. It was very successful few days and I thoroughly enjoyed meeting all the other coordinators and sharing all our different experiences.”
The JTI is a 14-and-under junior development programme funded by the ITF, which forms the foundation of a National Association’s player development pathway in ITF member nations. The programme is overseen by the National Tennis Association and provides opportunities for increased participation in tennis, as well as identifying the most talented players for focused player development. The JTI incorporates four key elements, Tennis10s development (10-and-under tennis) within primary schools and clubs; Junior Tennis (children 12-and-under & 14-and-under) within all the secondary schools and clubs; Junior Performance Tennis for the most talented; and the effective use of equipment such as balls, bats and rackets, provided by the ITF.
Olympic Solidarity’s aim is to organise assistance for all the National Olympic Committees (NOCs), particularly those with the greatest needs, so that they can develop their own structures to favour the expansion of sport in their country.
Administered by the ITF, the Grand Slam® Development Fund is a funded by the four Grand Slam tournaments (Wimbledon, Roland Garros, US Open and Australian Open). The Fund is designed to encourage the establishment of both junior and professional tournament circuits which in turn, provide opportunities for a greater number of players to compete and to assist players directly, either through teams or travel grants, to gain international competitive experience so that more nations and players will be represented in the mainstream of international competition. Other projects which offer a unique opportunity to develop the game in member nations, such as facility grants, are also considered for GSDF financial assistance.