TennisTT and bmobile redefining pathways of success
Port of Spain, Trinidad, December 13, 2017
The Tennis Association of Trinidad and Tobago (TennisTT) is in discussions with the International Tennis Federation to chart a plan for getting the National Racquet Centre in Tacarigua to be recognised as an international training centre. The parties are also discussing training for children with a view to deepening youth involvement in competitive tennis. President of TennisTT Hayden Mitchell is therefore very optimistic about the future for local tennis, buoyed by an extremely successful year for the national body.
Mitchell shared his thoughts against the backdrop of over 200 children from various tennis clubs throughout Trinidad converging on the courts of the National Racquet Centre for the 2017 Transitional Ball Team Tennis Tournament, hosted by TennisTT and TennisTT-sponsor bmobile.
This one-day meet, which catered to primary school children who are in the early developmental stages of tennis, featured the use of slower transitional balls (red, orange and green), smaller racquets and modified tennis court sizes.
Now in its third year, the tournament’s aim is to encourage the participation of these young players and provide the level of competition needed for a smooth transition to regulation balls. It is also used as a screening for possible selection for the National Under-10 development programme. This type of tournament is in line with the International Tennis Federation (ITF) structure for development, and youth development in particular was one of TennisTT’s major focal points in 2017.
During the short opening ceremony, Minister of Sport and Youth Affairs the Honourable Darryl Smith addressed the excited bunch. He stated, “This competition is a great opportunity for the young ones. I’m happy to see them out in their numbers this morning. Many congratulations to the Tennis Association who has chosen to focus and calibrate these youngsters. Also, to the sponsors and parents, thank you for your involvement.”
TennisTT President Mitchell has also given his assurance that the Association will continue to place emphasis on developing young players when the 2018 season gets underway.
All in all, it was a great year for tennis in Trinidad and Tobago. “We successfully hosted five international tournaments this year. Two ITF tourneys, one COTECC Under-18 contest and two Under-12 Regional Development Championships,” said Mitchell. “Because of these competitions and with the help of bmobile, we were able to expand our grassroots programmes, which is one of the major achievements of the past 12 months. Additionally, TennisTT was able to expand the amount of certified coaches, which augers well for our all-round development of tennis.”
Mitchell also revealed that ITF’s Executive Director of Tennis Development, Luca Santilli, was currently in Trinidad working with the local governing body towards making the Tacarigua facility an international training ground. It is also the intention of both organisations to redefine pathways for kids to develop their skills, and move further into the competitive tennis arena.
“Our main focus for the coming year is to further expand tennis in schools,” Mitchell added. “We will put a lot of priority on the Schools Tennis League, both primary and secondary. We have also done a lot of work this year towards restarting the Inter-Club Tennis League which is scheduled to serve off in January 2018. Generally, more tennis is going to be played on a national scale.”
Vice President of Marketing at TSTT, Camille Campbell said the three-year partnership with TennisTT was born out of their shared focus on youth development and giving young people every available avenue to discover their talents.
“bmobile remains extremely committed to the development of sport in T&T, especially at the critical grassroots level. Giving kids a chance to express themselves through sport is about more than moulding the champions of tomorrow, it’s about building the kind of citizens who make our country a better place,” stated Campbell.
Jean Merry, manager and senior coach of Tennis Patrons (based in the Trinidad Country Club), brought around 40 of her youthful club members to the tournament to get their first time experience at friendly rivalry.
“This is an excellent stepping stone for my young students and they’re all excited to be here today. It’s all a learning experience for them and playing against new kids also helps foster healthy relationships through competition,” noted Merry.
Green Ball Category
1st Place – Dave Patrick Coaching Clinic
Orange Ball Category
1st Place – Atlantic Primary School Programme Team 1
Red Ball Category
1st Place – Prakash Gannes Academy