LTA Tennis for Kids programme to help children across the world get into tennis thanks to ITF endorsement
Nearly five years on from its launch following Great Britain’s 2015 Davis Cup win, the LTA’s celebrated Tennis for Kids programme will be used to help get more children around the world into tennis as part of an agreement between the LTA and International Tennis Federation (ITF).
The global endorsement from the ITF, which will see lesson plans and coaching materials from the programme provided to ITF member National Associations, represents official recognition for Tennis for Kids as a strong example of how tennis can be introduced to children new to the sport around the world.
As part of an agreement between the two governing bodies, curricula from the last three years of the programme will be offered to ITF member National Associations as part of the ITF Junior Tennis Initiative (JTI).
Tennis for Kids has inspired almost 100,000 children to pick up a racket in the UK with over half of those continuing to play after attending.
The programme was designed to introduce children to tennis for the first time and encourage them to continue playing by directing them to local tennis venues. It combines fun social games with basic hand eye coordination and rudimentary tennis skill exercises, and teaches children how to work with a partner and be a valuable team member.
While the Tennis for Kids programme can now start to be adopted by countries around the world, for children in Britain the LTA has developed new lesson plans and coaching materials and is integrating it into the new, broader LTA Youth programme for 4-18 years olds being rolled out across the country from early next year.
With a fresh, modern approach, LTA Youth is a new and innovative junior programme developed to be fun, safe, inclusive and competitive that builds on the success of individual programmes like Tennis for Kids to create a clear, compelling and engaging route from starter play through to competitions. It connects all tennis activity for juniors so the offer will look and feel the same, whether a child is playing in a school, park or club, drawing on the latest expertise to help more kids play and stay in tennis whatever their ability and whatever their background.
Tennis for Kids was initially showcased to a global audience by the LTA as part of the keynote programme at the 2017 ITF Worldwide Coaches Conference by BNP Paribas in Sofia. Following this introduction, an agreement in principle was made between the ITF and LTA to trial its delivery with tennis coaches from the Caribbean region, presented during the 2018 ITF Regional Coaches Conference by BNP Paribas.
Tennis for Kids helped build a legacy for Great Britain’s Davis Cup win in 2015, and we’re excited to continue that as we refresh and develop its content to become part of our new LTA Youth programme which launches in the new year.
The subsequent success of those trials has led to today’s agreement, which illustrates how collaboration with a larger member National Association like the LTA can support the ITF’s delivery of tennis within the most under-resourced and under-represented countries.
JTI is the ITF’s 14-and-under junior development programme, delivered in over 130 nations through a network of national coordinators. The ITF provides funding and equipment to increase participation and identify the most talented individuals for further focused development. The programme is a major component of a national association’s player development pathway and a key element of the ITF’s overall Development strategy which aims to ‘increase the number and standard of players worldwide.’
Scott Lloyd, LTA Chief Executive, said: “It is testament to the success of the Tennis for Kids programme that the ITF are officially endorsing its use by tennis associations across the world. From its inception, Tennis for Kids and the fantastic coaches who deliver it have inspired tens of thousands of children to get active through tennis. This agreement represents international recognition for the programme as a model for growing children’s participation and we’re very proud of that. I hope it proves as popular around the world as it has been here at home. Tennis for Kids helped build a legacy for Great Britain’s Davis Cup win in 2015, and we’re excited to continue that as we refresh and develop its content to become part of our new LTA Youth programme which launches in the new year.”
David Haggerty, ITF President said: “The mission of the ITF is to deliver tennis for future generations, something we share with all 210 of our member nations. We are therefore delighted to endorse the LTA’s successful Tennis for Kids programme which we can now deliver to tennis coaches around the world. It is also fitting that Tennis for Kids was launched following Great Britain’s Davis Cup win in 2015, highlighting that the Davis Cup and Billie Jean King Cup remain vital elements of the global tennis eco-system, not only through the revenues they generate but the role they play in inspiring the next generation of players.”
Donna West, a coach at both Beckington and Frome Tennis Club in Somerset said: “I’ve run 19 Tennis for Kids courses since they started, and I’ve seen so many children from a range of different backgrounds fall in love with the sport through the programme. That’s why I love my job: because I’m able to help children have fun, enjoy exercise and learn a social skill. It’s fantastic that children across the world will now be able to do this too.”