Wimbledon is on and with it will surely come a spike of interest and participation in the sport. It’s also the perfect time of year to capitalise on young people’s interest in the sport and to keep them interested, rather than switching off as soon as the action leaves SW19. So, who is doing this?
LTA initiative, Tennis For Kids is, and to a good standard too. After the success of this particular programme last year, it has returned in the hope of being bigger and better. In 2016 Tennis For Kids introduced 13,200 children to the sport, the target now is to reach 20,000 5-8 year olds who have never played the sport before.
What Is The Tennis For Kids Initiative All About?
The aim is to put (mini!) tennis rackets in the hands of children, capture their interest and keep them invested in the sport. They each receive a free racket as well as a free six-week course from a qualified tennis coach. After this six-week course, they will then be offered a further discounted course or a discounted annual membership to the participating venue. This is the most important part of the programme.
The numbers coming from the programme off of the back of the 2016 campaign are staggering. Due to these numbers, this year Tennis For Kids has just shy of 1,000 coaches signed up to deliver the programme across the country. You can see that the LTA are slowly, but surely, investing a lot of resources into this in an attempt to really get the sport appreciated and loved by younger potential stars of the sport.
Delivering Tennis Thrills And Spills!
It’s not low-level thrills either. The coaches delivering the content are required to hold a minimum of a Level 2 Coaching Qualification (or equivalent), so the course can deliver impressive content for those signed up. This is highlighted by the fact that in 2016 the programme saw the numbers of people retained at just shy of 50%.
Whether that was people utilising the discounted annual membership, or further discounted training, a retention rate just shy of 50% is remarkable. This stat is where the most effort and praise must go to those involved with Tennis For Kids, and the LTA.
Retention is the keyword here and no doubt will be for the 2017 programme.
If they can deliver retention percentages akin to those of last year, at the minimum, the programme has to be seen as one of the most successful for British tennis. If it does that, or betters those numbers, then the LTA would have no choice but to invest even more in the programme for 2018.
Although the course has been fully signed up for 2017, do not forget about Tennis For Kids. It will return in 2018, and with the successes of 2016 and the improvements made for this year, you can only expect improved numbers. At the very least, this is going to lead to more young children playing the sport – which in itself is a brilliant thing.
Who knows, they could well end up unearthing a next potential British Tennis star if they keep this up!