Junior tennis training for regional Victorian coaches
During March, budding tennis coaches from Victoria’s Mallee and Wimmera regions received a special introduction to Hot Shots, a coaching program specially developed by Tennis Australia for children aged 5–12 years old. Nineteen coaches from Birchip, Hopetoun, Horsham Lawn, Nhill, Rainbow, Sea Lake, Stawell, Swan Hill and Yaapeet tennis clubs attended the training day.
The event was organised by the Australian Sports Commission’s Active After-school Communities (AASC) program for AASC community coaches and was facilitated by Stawell Tennis Club professional tennis coach Dale Power. Dale is the Principal of Concongella Primary School and a Level 2 qualified coach with experience working with the Japanese national team as a coach and Tennis Australia as an operations manager.
During the three-hour session at Hopetoun Tennis Club the AASC coaches learnt how to use modified court sizes and low-compression balls to help kids learn to serve, rally and score as in regular tennis. The Hot Shots program is designed to build and develops kids’ skills to prepare them to play on a full-size court with a yellow ball from the first moment they step on a court proper.
AASC regional coordinator for Mildura, Sam Muscatello, and for Horsham, Murray McKenzie, commented that having someone of Dale’s experience available to the AASC program for local community networks is a testament to the strength of the program in that part of Victoria.
‘We were ecstatic with the number of club members that turned up on a Sunday to develop new skills and create pathways for AASC participants into local tennis clubs,’ said Murray.
‘Participants were grateful for the opportunity to network and share ideas about junior recruitment, volunteer retention, grant access and coaching techniques,’ Sam said.
Dale has seen firsthand the fantastic work the AASC program does for children.
‘Ensuring that all children are actively engaged in physical activity and having fun, whilst developing skills through games, is a real strength of the AASC program. This is something that we try to replicate in Hot Shots and through quality coaching,’ said Dale.
The organisers offered a special thanks to Hopetoun Tennis Club for hosting the day, as well as the Mallee and Wimmera regional sports assemblies who supported the event.
The AASC program relies on local community coaches and training days such as this to give beginning and established coaches the skills and resources to improve delivery of the program in their local community.