As part of Wanta’s ongoing and exciting three-year agreement with Tennis NT, all Central Desert Wanta staff were invited to Tennis NT’s Community Coaching Course in Alice Springs over the weekend (9th and 10th March). Claire (Yuendumu), Zac (Arlparra), and Ellie, Jenna, Taren, and Evelyn (Ntaria) were all able to attend and generously gave up their weekend to seize this great professional development opportunity to expand their tennis knowledge, skills, and coaching ability.

The weekend consisted of learning about the Tennis Australia HotShots program, it’s adapted equipment and court sizes, progressive stages with their key coaching points, and the contemporary coaching style that is encouraged to engage children from as early as three years old. The stages (blue, red, orange, and green) progressively build strong foundational and transferable sports skills, encourage fun, creativity, and love of movement and sport, as well as tennis specific tactics and techniques. Tennis Australia coach developer, Jamieson Liersch took us through the course at the Alice Springs Tennis Club, alongside Tennis enthusiasts and Alice community members. It was great to expand network connections as we worked with the other individuals on the course, gain ideas of activities and sessions that encourage maximal participation and can progress/regress as needed, and build confidence in our playing and coaching abilities. It was a fantastic opportunity to pick Jamieson’s brain and his many years of coaching various levels of Tennis to see how we could deliver Tennis to the young people we work with as part of our Wanta programs.

AFL and basketball are typically the dominant sports delivered and played in the remote communities we operate in, but we are always striving to provide new learning opportunities to develop new skills and knowledge in and outside of our Wanta rooms and workshops. Wanta staff schedules are diverse and jam-packed but this training means that they feel more confident to provide sessions and activities in other sports like tennis where they can squeeze it in. For example, looking towards the cooler months, Ellie in Ntaria hopes to provide some tennis sessions as part of the Young Women’s Program’s after school activities, to encourage movement and activity as they reach their critical teenage years where physical activity and sport engagement significantly declines in girls. Maybe the girls will find an undiscovered talent in tennis or even just a love for the game that keeps them moving!

Thank you again to Tennis NT for this great partnership and opportunities like this for our staff and the young people we work with!

Written by Ellie Simmons, SCFC Youth Engagement Program Director.