The coaches, who work in tennis coaching in clubs, development centres or as development officers in schools, are the first in the country to graduate with a BSc (Hons) in Professional Practice in Tennis Coaching Management – a bespoke course run by Northumbria University for the Lawn Tennis Association.
The work-based programme was developed at the request of the Lawn Tennis Association who wanted to embed broad business and management knowledge as well as up skill their coaching staff. Aspects of the course included research into topics such as the impact of the Olympic Games on tennis and the effects of funding cuts on junior tennis.
Anita Navin, Head of Department for Sport Development at Northumbria University’s School of Life Sciences and who was also named Coach Educator of the Year last year, said the course, was effective in providing a theoretical underpinning but also giving coaches a greater commercial awareness.
“The programme has a parallel slant in that it seeks to raise their managerial skills but it’s also very much about reflective practice. Coaches are encouraged to reflect on their own shortfalls which, in return, make them more insightful as coaches.
“As a result of coaches enhancing their professional skills in this way, we’re likely to see more players in the development tier and potentially more players in Wimbledon in future.”
This year saw eight people complete the award and 40 people have already applied for next year’s programme. The course will also be on offer as a postgraduate programme from next year and a new MSc is being introduced for coaches working with elite athletes.
Anita has worked on a range of collaborations with various sporting governing bodies, including the British Tennis and the League Football Association to embed bespoke university-level study into coaching education and development programmes.