Students aiming for the next level

Involving children’s parents is crucial to the success of their tennis careers, according to Traralgon Tennis Association’s head coach Graham Charlton.

Last weekend, coaches from across Gippsland took part in an under 12 development day organised by Tennis Australia, aimed at teaching parents as well as students about what success meant in the tennis world.

Over two days, about 30 children, who had been identified as talented players, participated in training drills and a tournament, while their parents discussed issues and asked questions of the coaches.

“In the bush, the sacrifices families have to make are huge if kids are going to go to the next level and part of that is because of the massive travel involved,” Charlton said.

However, he emphasised some parents had very basic questions, such as ‘what sport should my child play?’ and ‘what do I do if my kid gets to a certain standard?’.

“So many parents want to know about pathways,” Charlton said.

“Often coaches spend a lot of time talking to the parents of their students one-on-one, but they don’t often get together.

“It doesn’t happen enough; getting people together so they can share their experiences and perhaps ask the same questions, it gives people confidence to speak up and ask what they want to know.”

According to Charlton, from the children’s perspective the main focus of the camp was to educate them on the differences between high performance and participation.

“We wanted to show them what was required, if they are to go to the next level,” Charlton said.

He said the weekend was a “huge success” and also acted as a motivator for many of the children who aimed to become professional players.

Charlton said Tennis Australia was dedicated to investing in regional areas, and hoped to make this an annual event.