Tennis Australia is expanding its wheelchair tennis development program to keep up with soaring participation numbers following the success of athletes like Dylan Alcott OAM last year.
The new measures have been developed to not just increase participation but to also ensure players are appropriately guided from a junior to elite level.
A major component of the Tennis Australia initiative is the Wheelchair Development Coach Program which is set to improve access to a network of passionate and specialised coaches who can deliver quality experiences for participants of all ages and abilities.
Three-time Paralympic champion and 2016 Paralympian of the Year Dylan Alcott believes the program will help boost numbers for the sport.
“Coaches play a critical role in promoting wheelchair tennis in their local communities,” Alcott said.
“Tennis Australia is equipping coaches to create engaging and dynamic environments for wheelchair tennis players.”
Tennis Australia’s National Wheelchair Tennis Pathway Manager Alex Jago believes a focus on coach delivery is pivotal to increasing opportunities for the sport.
“Identifying and supporting wheelchair tennis coaches is critical to providing engaging environments and positive experiences for participants of all abilities,” Jago said.
“Coaches are integral to ensuring the sport is being delivered successfully and efficiently.
“We believe introducing this new coach network will ensure players from all areas will have access to a qualified wheelchair tennis coach.
“In the past, players have found it can be challenging to find a tennis club or coach that provides an engaging and fun learning environment, one of our key priorities is to change this view and provide all eligible players with access to a Wheelchair Development Coach within 30 minutes of their home,” Jago added.
To coincide with the Wheelchair Development Coach launch, Tennis Australia has announced a National Wheelchair Loan Program to increase accessibility for players. Eligible players, coaches and clubs can now apply for the opportunity to access one of 20 sports wheelchairs for participants.
Fast facts: Wheelchair tennis in the past 12 months
- An increase of three to 33 weekly junior wheelchair tennis players since 2015/16
- Thirty-seven new wheelchair development coaches
- Two new state Wheelchair Development Hubs developed for wheelchair tennis players and their families to connect, socialise and play (one in Victoria and one in NSW)
- Eight new state based development camps focused on coach development, player development and parent information
- Twenty new sport wheelchairs have been purchased to be a part of the National Wheelchair Loan Program
- Through tournament and player development, Australia has risen from one to six junior players in the ITF Junior Wheelchair Tennis rankings
- Two Paralympic gold medals at the Rio Paralympic Games in 2016, Australia’s first Paralympic Gold medals in tennis since David Hall at Sydney 2000
- Australia has two World Team Cup 2016 gold medallists in Dylan Alcott and Heath Davidson
- Australian National Wheelchair Tennis Championships fielded players in all four divisions including Men’s, Women’s, Quads and Juniors for the first time in 2016
- Six new wheelchair tennis tournaments and competitions have been developed for the 2016/2017 year.
Coaches-Wheelchair Development Coach Program
|Brett||Lennard||North Woden Tennis Club||Hughes||ACT|
|Philip||Beckman||Grafton City Tennis Club||Grafton||NSW|
|Fiona||Roseby||Pitt Town Tennis Centre||Pitt Town||NSW|
|Melissa||Dolahenty||Dural Tennis Centre||Dural Park||NSW|
|Bernadette||Cahill||Adelong Tennis Club||Adelong||NSW|
|Batlow Tennis Club||Batlow|
|Riato||Hino||City Community Tennis||Surry Hills||NSW|
|Allan||Pade||Nana Glen Tennis Club||Nana Glen||NSW|
|Orara Valley Tennis Centre||Karangi|
|Urunga Tennis Club||Urunga|
|Westside Tennis Club||Coffs Harbour|
|Natasha||Kersten||Tweed Heads Tennis Club Inc||Tweed Heads South||NSW|
|Pro One Tennis Academy||Runaway Bay||QLD|
|Declan||Pearce||Shaw Park Tennis Centre||Wooloowin||QLD|
|Alison||Scott||Beenleigh Tennis Inc||Beenleigh||QLD|
|Redlands Lawn Tennis Association Inc||Cleveland|
|A’Lysse (AJ)||Thompson||Canungra Tennis Club||Canungra||QLD|
|Kiel||Lindner||Canungra Tennis Club||Canungra||QLD|
|Chris||Novic||Redcliff Tennis Centre||Redcliff||QLD|
|Ian||Malpass||Heath Park Hilton Street||East Brisbane||QLD|
|Andrew||Ash||Coolum Beach Tennis Club||Coolum||QLD|
|Helen||Rice||Bellevue Heights Tennis Club||Bellevue Heights||SA|
|Denman Tennis Club||Lower Mitcham|
|Netherby Tennis Club||Netherby|
|Ryan||Russell||Noarlunga Tennis Club||Old Noarlunga||SA|
|Craig||Palfrey||Birdwood Tennis Club||Birdwood||SA|
|Mt Pleasant Tennis Club||Mt Pleasant|
|Orion Tennis Club||Woodville|
|David||Dickson||Glenorchy City Tennis Club||Berriedale||TAS|
|Sunshine Tennis Club||Howrah|
|Martin||Nidorfer||Rosny Park Tennis Club||Rosny||TAS|
|Mathew||Carswell||Newstead Tennis and Squash Centre||Newstead||TAS|
|Ben||Osborne||Launceston Regional Tennis Centre||Launceston||TAS|
|James||Bolzonello||Launceston Regional Tennis Centre||Launceston||TAS|
|Lawrence||Gileno||Hume Tennis and Community Centre||Craigieburn||VIC|
|David||Theuma||Sunshine Lawn Tennis Club||Sunbury||VIC|
|Aleksei||Barnikov||Mornington Tennis Centre||Mornington||VIC|
|Marco||Persi||Clarinda Tennis Club||Clarinda||VIC|
|Sacred Heart (Oakleigh) Tennis Club||Oakleigh|
|Vicky||Lee||Doncaster Tennis Club||Doncaster||VIC|
|John||Hampson||Bundoora Tennis Club||Bundoora||VIC|
|Diamond Valley Baptist Tennis Club||Diamond Creek|
|Eastern Golf Club||Yering|
|Keon Park Tennis Club||Reservoir|
|Madison||Sanders||Tennis World-Melbourne Park||Melbourne Park||VIC|
|Steven||Riley||Airport West Tennis Club||Airport West||VIC|
|Belvedere Park Tennis Club||Seaford|
|Corpus Christi Tennis Club||Glenroy|
|Stephen||Storer||Bendigo Tennis Association||Bendigo||VIC|
|Bryce||Lindeman||Banyule Tennis Club||Heidelberg||VIC|
|Camberwell Junction Tennis Club||Camberwell|
|Ryan||Palfrey||Essendon Tennis Club||Essendon||VIC|
|Jonathan||Kearney||Carine SHS||Carine Perth||WA|
|Herb Graham Recreation Centre||Mirrabooka|
|Jack||Baldwin||Maylands Tennis Club||Maylands||WA|
|James||Guilfoile||Samson Recreation Centre||Samson||WA|