Most top tennis clubs in Australia such as Tennis World Lane Cove in Sydney have their own programmes for developing players and coaching new talent.
However, there has been a matrix developed to formulate a specific program to standardise the quality of coaching by Tennis Australia, named the Athlete Development Matrix.
What is the Athlete Development Matrix?
The Athlete Development Matrix was formulated to bring together a framework of competencies for everybody involved in delivering the game of tennis at all levels.
The matrix is based on observation and scientific relevant information that indicates when certain competencies may be best developed. It looks to develop the individual by covering eight areas that focus on both tennis-specific and personal attributes.
These eight factors of development have been particularly chosen to holistically guide the development of our athletes. These eight components dovetail with the six stages of the Athlete Development Matrix.
The Six Stages of the Athlete Development Matrix
To effectively deliver the matrix it has been split into six distinct stages based on the natural development of an athlete relative to age.
- Explore (4-7 years)
- Development (7-10 years)
- Encourage (10-12 years)
- Enhance (12-15 years)
- Cultivate (15- 17 years)
- Performance (17+ years)
How Does The Matrix Work?
The matrix has been designed to give coaches to give guidance in how to understand the key skills that need to be developed at the different ages and stages, and also to assist in creating a pathway of development for youngsters and budding future players.
In particular the matrix has been formulated to specifically help:-
- Making tennis enjoyable
- Creating a logical pathway of development
- Enticing more players into the game
- To deliver the correct activities to the right age groups
- To understand how the child is developing in relation to their skills
While the matrix is extensive, it has been designed to help you understand the key skills that should be implemented at various stages of development. These educational tools have been designed to assist in providing an ideal environment for the tennis development of a child, especially during the crucial formative years.
The Stroke and Tactical Fundamentals are based on relevant research and coaching experiences over a number of years.
The purpose of the comparison between the initial stages of development through to the professional ranks is to draw attention to the similarities in technical development versus the often talked about differences.
Tennis Australia believe that it their role to educate and teach players the stroke fundamentals to ensure each player has the correct foundation to build their game.
Correct biomechanical strokes are vital building blocks that must be learnt in the early stages of childhood development.
The tactical fundamentals are designed to assist a player in reducing their unforced errors. The tennis court is a ‘mistake centre,’ and through applying a simple approach to decision making in tactics, players will minimise the number of mistakes.
What is certain is that Tennis Australia sees the need for the Athlete Development Matrix and how it can assist the young hopefuls today to become the stars of tomorrow.