Sports

Azar promotes certification upgrade for tennis coaches

BY SANJAY MYERS
Senior staff reporter
myerss@jamaicaobserver.com

Thursday, September 12, 2019

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WHILE Tennis Jamaica moves to improve the standard of the sport in the country, recently elected President John Azar says boosting the training of coaches is high on the agenda.

“We believe fully that greater emphasis needs to be placed on coaching, because really and truly, if you don't invest in the coaches the end product and the results won't be what you want them to be,” Azar, who took office in late April, told the Jamaica Observer during a recent one-on-one interview.

“We've been engaging with all stakeholders and we have regular meetings with coaches, [because] their feedback is critical. When you're in an organisation, I think, when you genuinely want to serve the stakeholders better, it's important to have constant engagement with them to see where you're falling short,” he said, noting that upgrading coaches will ultimately expose players to better coaching techniques.

He said that, in tandem with the governing body, a certification seminar will be held in Jamaica later this year.

“We've engaged the ITF, International Tennis Federation, and they're having a Level Two coaching seminar for coaches, not only from Jamaica, but from around the region. Basically, it is certifying our coaches up to Level Two — that opens a lot of doors in and of itself.

“The more we invest in the coaching we'll get the results in terms of the students that those coaches are churning out. That's part of our bigger thrust in terms of focusing on the coaching all areas in the island [and at the] school level,” he said.

The tennis president stressed that, while local coaches are considered to be “good”, some of them remain tied down because they are not certified to operate, particularly in international circles.

“Right now, all the plans are being put in place to give coaches greater opportunities. At this point you find that our coaches are good, but to be honest, a lot of them don't have formal certification, and without that there are certain limitations for them as well,” Azar explained.

“While engaging with the coaches we've looked at special incentives for coaches who are sending me more than a particular number of players to come and participate in the tournaments,” he said.

He added that training and hosting of tournaments to aid development of match officials are also in the pipeline.

Azar, set to serve a three-year stint as president, said players around the island, aged seven to 14, already have the chance to benefit from free tennis lessons courtesy of Errol Campbell, former national all-Jamaica champion and former Davis Cup representative.

Campbell, a top-level certified coach and the third vice- president of Tennis Jamaica, is hosting clinics at the National Tennis Centre on weekends until December. According to Tennis Jamaica, the clinics target beginner, intermediate, and advanced players.

“We certainly welcome that as an association. It's his [Campbell's] initiative and I'm not going to take credit for it,” Azar told the Observer.


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