Respect and social development were the focus for the Shaw Park Tennis Gear High Performance tennis squad who recently returned from the State finals in Rockhampton. An intense 6 days saw a group of 19 promising juniors, aged between 10-14 years, travel to compete in one of the most important events on the QLD tennis calendar.
High Performance Head Coach Damien Roberts was looking for more than just results from his squad. The experience provided the ideal opportunity for the kids to learn what it takes to be a well rounded player away from the comforts of home. “Trips like this give our kids the independence to spend time away from home, to develop self responsibility and resilience” says Roberts “They learn to socially interact with each other in a group and support each other as a team”.
Skills like these are increasingly important for up and coming juniors in the modern tennis environment. With fewer positive role models in the professional game, the emphasis is on clubs to build a strong positive culture and instil good values when creating top players. The sense that a pro can behave however poorly they like as long as they achieve good results needs to be quashed before it damages the reputation of the sport.
Simone Waugh, one of 4 volunteer parents that assisted on the trip, agrees saying the experience was invaluable for her daughter Maddy and son Ben. “There was lots of tennis, laughter and fun, but the best part was watching how the group of kids, regardless of age, grew closer as the week went on and really supported each other through the tough matches,” says Simone “They don’t realise it now, but they will look back and remember these tours as being some of their best times growing up”.
The TennisGear squad played a total of 284 matches over the event enjoying a winning ratio of just over 70%. This included 7 finalists making it one of the most successful ventures for the club at this tournament in any of its years competing. And this is just the beginning says Roberts “We’ve now had the opportunity to learn more about our players’ personalities on and off the tennis court and to see what drives them. It's the best chance we have of truly trying to mould and develop our kids as players, but more importantly as people”.