Tennis Australia is committed to offering more opportunities for women to pursue high-performance coaching careers.
The latest cohort of high-performance coaching graduates are making strides in their careers due to scholarship coaching opportunities provided by Tennis Australia that are designed to drive more women through the coaching pathway.
As part of the push to develop more female coach role models and encourage participation in young girls, coaches are offered a diverse range of opportunities – from entry level courses to more advanced qualifications.
The scholarships also grant women exclusive access to learning opportunities such as the Billie Jean King Cup National Camp and other Tennis Australia tours and development programs.
“At the top level of the sport, tennis is leading the way in women and girls’ inclusion opportunities by having men and women compete on the same stage, awarding equal prize money and by offering equal exposure,” said Tennis Australia’s Women’s Coach Lead Nicole Pratt.
“However, like many sports we are facing a drop off in girls’ participation at the grassroots level, particularly as they approach their teenage years. We want to see more women progressing through the coaching pathway and develop into competent and confident coaches because we know that having more women role models is key to keeping girls in the sport.”
Emma Hayman (Queensland) and former world No. 1 doubles champion Cara Black (Victoria) are the most recent graduates who credit the completion of their high-performance course to their growing coaching careers.
Hayman is now a Talent Programs Assistant Coach at Tennis Queensland and says that support provided through the scholarship program has been instrumental in her development as a high-performance coach.
“I learned a lot through the high-performance course and the structure of the program was invaluable,” Hayman said. “Throughout the course, mentors and other high-performance coaches would assess you on the court and give you really constructive feedback.
“You would have debriefings and mentors would take the time to reinforce some important learnings that you can take out and apply to your coaching every day.”
Black is now a private coach working with five professional players on the Women’s Tennis Association and International Tennis Federation tours.
“Receiving the funding to participate in the high-performance course supported me tremendously,” said Black, who represented Zimbabwe during a stellar playing career that netted 10 Grand Slam doubles titles.
“Knowing that I had been selected alongside an incredible group of women gave me a huge boost of confidence. The high-performance course was truly one of the best things I have done in my coaching career.
“I had two amazing female coaches in my playing career who had such an impact on me, so I know first-hand why it’s so important for girls to have female role models,” Black continued.
In further efforts to strengthen career pathways for women, Tennis Australia launched Coach Connect earlier this year to build the knowledge skills and confidence of women coaches.
The unique program offers a combination of networking, workshops, and mentoring opportunities for women to connect and grow.
“Currently just 26 percent of coaches in Australia are women and our goal is to increase this to 35 percent by 2027 so that we can continue to build more diverse and inclusive tennis communities,” Pratt said.
“We particularly want to see more women progress to the top end of performance coaching to serve as a source of inspiration for women coaches across the country and unlock the benefits of having greater diversity for our pro players.”
Tennis Australia has offered a women’s coaching scholarship program since 1996 to provide opportunities for women to become high-performance coaches, with coaching a key focus of TA’s Women and Girls Strategy.
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