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Applied Sport Science - Tennis

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Introduction

Applied Sport Science - Tennis Coursework Assignment The British tennis scene in recent history has been anything but rosy. As a nation we have been unable to get one of our own players into the final of Wimbledon since the Queen's Silver Jubilee in 1977. We currently do not have any British female Tennis players in the top 150 of the entry system rankings and even more depressingly, Tim Henson's defeat in the Pacific Life Open Master Series in Indian Wells signified for the first time in six years the loss of the only British tennis player ranked in the entry system top 20. Despite this evident lack of success at an international level, tennis is regarded as one of the nation's wealthiest sports. This essay sets out to illustrate the source of the sport's income and its current distribution of spending to the various constituents of the game and in during so will provide a critical analysis. This analysis will be based on the LTA's ability to match its own stated aims, of its vision to make Britain a great tennis nation and its mission to create more players and better players (LTA�, 2001). These two issues will be considered separately, initially considering the current number of participants, how this reflects with other nations and what the LTA has done to increase this figure. During which I will also consider the extent to which there is provision to play tennis in this nation. I will then turn my attention to the efforts which have been put in place to develop talent and increase the quality of tennis players in this country. In order to be able to understand the constituents of what leads to a successful tennis development programme, comparisons will be made with other tennis playing nations which have shown far greater national success that ourselves. Identifications of the disparity between ours and their tennis organisation will be highlighted and as a consequence recommendations will be made for implements towards possible changes in spending that are deemed necessary in order to decrease the difference between the two. ...read more.

Middle

This is set to consist of 6 indoor, 4 grass, 6 hard and 6 clay courts, gymnasium, player and coach support services, accommodation and medical centre. The LTA is likely to meet the majority of costs for the centre although The All England Lawn Tennis Ground plc are lending a proportion of building costs. This development has been met with mixed reactions Mark Petchey Sky TV presenter commented "Once again the LTA have their priorities wrong. Unless good youngsters are coming through, the National centre will be a white elephant. Indeed it has been further commented that the belief that there is a misconception that we have talented youngsters (Bob Brett) in the last 10 years there has only been 2 juniors in the International Tennis Federation's top 50. One of the key suggestions causing the lack of talented juniors is the quality of coaches in Britain. On 2002 spending figures only 3% of the budget was allocated to coach education. There are currently 2,100 LTA licensed coaches working in clubs in the UK (Jago, 2002). Although that may sound substantial when this figure is put along side the total number of registered player (116,588) it amounts to one coach for every 55 players. The comparison of this to the French's excess of 4000 licensed coaches clearly illustrates we have some catching up to go (Jago, 2002). The LTA aims to initially identify talent through the nation's club system. Yet the current established club structure is will behind that of France and Germany. (Figure 5) France has some 9,200 clubs compared to the 2,400 on Britain (Fordyce, 2002). In addition most of the clubs in France have five courts and a clubhouse. Around 8000 of them were built and maintained by cities and local authorities, each one costs �500,000. The idea of which would be a dream to the LTA and leave them with a substantially greater proportion of finance to invest in more for coaches, development programmes and competition structures (Jago, 2002) ...read more.

Conclusion

Despite this affluence, many LTA members advocate that there isn't the finance to gain ground and contend with the major tennis nations. The former LTA performance director is quoted as saying "We would need 10 Wimbledon's to do all the things that need to be done." (Bierley, 2002). This essay has highlighted that the above statement may be correct, but through a better prioritisation of aims British tennis may face a better future. The �30 million a year may not be enough to catch up with and develop an extensive tennis structure that is possessed by the French. However it seems the French road to success may not be the only one. Although, the creation of a vast tennis supportive structure throughout the country, creating many centres and clubs, training coaches and providing many opportunities to spot talent at an early age and nurture it through the competition system may be the ideal and equitable method of success seen in France and Spain. This road to success doesn't come cheap and have often been funded through private and national government funding where local authorities are willing to develop quality sport facilities around the nation and continually provide financial support in maintenance, these sources of funding are currently not forth coming in Britain. Alternatively it has been shown that if adequate talent selection as opposed to identification procedures are employed it is possible to produce talented individuals and produce elite performers without the extensive facility structure. To achieve such an aim would involve a shift in spending away traditional pathways and establishing a national system of talent selection. It is not surprising the LTA has chosen to jointly develop the number and quality of players in its current fashion but although an adequate development system seems to be in place, the years of national under funding of tennis have set us far behind in the race to produce many elite players and continual reliance on the Wimbledon championships to provide the majority of our income will only augment this fact. ...read more.

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