At the end of April the Tennis Foundation ran the first ever student tennis conferences at Loughborough University. 80 students attended either the ‘Sports Science in Tennis – From Theory to Practice’ conference or the Tennis Pathways student conference to hear from a range of expert speakers over the weekend. The Tennis Foundation’s Further Education Manager Christine Sprowell blogs about the conferences.
Peter Keen, LTA Interim Performance Director opened the ‘Sports Science in Tennis – From Theory to Practice’ and on Sunday the ‘Tennis Pathways Conference’ was opened by Geoff Newton, Tennis Foundation Executive Director which was really exciting for the students and great for them to get an insight into careers within tennis.
The ‘Sports Science in Tennis – From Theory to Practice’ conference gave university students the opportunity to attend a variety of workshops focussing on all things Sports Science demonstrating how the principles can be applied at all levels of the sport. The workshops included Physical Conditioning, Sports Psychology, Match Flow and Momentum, and Performance Analysis.
The Tennis Pathways Conference gave college and university students a chance to hear about the range of tennis opportunities on offer which can help them to gain valuable employability and life skills, and in turn help them progress into higher education or employment. Students were able to get involved with a range of interactive workshops delivered by employers across the sports industry which highlighted the variety of careers within tennis and the wider sports industry.
Both conferences also provided a national platform for the Student Tennis Ambassador Network (STAN), which provides training and networking opportunities for students undertaking Student Tennis Ambassador roles in further education colleges and universities.
It was fantastic to hear the positive feedback from the students who attended including the following comments from Jack Williams, Tennis Coordinator at Roehampton University who said: “A massive thank you to all the team who helped make the national STAN conference such a successful event. The organisation was slick, the workshops were so interesting and relevant, and the potential that this event has is massive! I believe this conference is so useful and effective for anyone looking to pursue a career in tennis”
Students came from 20 universities and 5 further education colleges with over 80% saying they were satisfied with the conferences and 100% of the students said that they would be interested in attending next year. I was really impressed with the energy and enthusiasm of the students, particularly on a Saturday and Sunday! Hopefully we have opened their eyes to the opportunities within out sport and inspired them to think about their next steps towards a career in tennis.
The weekend also saw us launch of the Tennis Foundation’s new Female Student Mentoring Programme which is aimed at supporting female students to develop their skills and to improve their employability in tennis, as well as increasing female participation in student tennis.
It was a fantastic weekend and I think the final word should be left to the following anonymous student! “I enjoyed all of the workshops and finding out about different opportunities, great to have a chance to speak to people who have ‘experience’. I gained 8 contacts!”