LTA boosts investment in Regional Player Development Centres
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The LTA has announced further enhancements to its Player Pathway, with additional investment aimed at further reducing the cost to aspiring young players attending Regional Player Development Centres (RPDC), and confirmation of the next intake of players to the National Academies for 2020/21.
The range of enhancements to the network of RPDCs is designed to make these programmes even more accessible for players aged between 10 and 14 who are showing early promise. Launched in 2018 as part of the LTA’s 10-year Performance Strategy, the RPDCs provide high-quality training environments with the right coaching and athletic development for players aiming to progress to the National Academies – the next stage of the LTA Player Pathway.
There are currently 12 centres across the UK, and the LTA has also confirmed that both the West Hants Club in Bournemouth and the Edgbaston Priory Club in Birmingham will also become RPDCs from September 2020 – further expanding geographical coverage of centres across the UK.
The governing body has also significantly increased its investment into the centres, primarily focusing on the coaching team, which is the most expensive part of the programme for families.
This increase will ensure that a substantial part of the costs for squad training, individual sessions and support at national and international tournaments will be covered. While the actual costs vary across programmes, the LTA expects this investment will mean a saving to families of at least 40% for the core part of a player’s programme.
The opportunity to move from a payment per player and per hour model, to having a full time salaried Head Coach role in each centre will also provide great career opportunities for performance coaches.
National Academy selections
In addition, the LTA has revealed the four players selected to join the National Academies in Loughborough and Stirling for the start of the new academic year, all of whom currently train at RPDCs.
National Tennis Academy, Loughborough
- Mimi Xu (12, Wales South, Swansea RPDC. Coach: Fran Lewis)
- Oli Bonding (13, Surrey, Dukes Meadow RPDC. Coach: Ali Filmer)
GB National Tennis Academy, Stirling
- Hannah Rylatt (14, Lancashire, Bolton Arena RPDC. Coach: Sabrina Federici)
- Kai-Luca Ampaw (14, Surrey, Dukes Meadow RPDC. Coach: Ali Filmer)
The quartet’s selection represents their progression onto the next stage of the LTA Player Pathway, which provides a clear route for high potential players to develop from playing local junior tournaments right through to major events. It will take the number of players at the National Academies to 20, spread equally across the two sites, with the current group of 16 players all remaining at the academies for the 2020/21 academic year.
The National Academies opened in September 2019 and provide world class coaching, science, medicine, and welfare support for high potential players aged 13 to 18, alongside an excellent mainstream education. Their opening meant that for the first time, there was now a seamless pathway in place for every age and stage of a player’s development.
Who said what...
Ian Yates, LTA Head of National Performance Pathway, said: “I’m very pleased that we’re able to continue developing the RPDC network through these measures, all of which are designed to make the programmes more accessible to aspiring younger players who have shown us their potential. The doubling of our investment into the centres will further reduce the cost of playing the game, and the addition of West Hants and Edgbaston Priory to the RPDC network will open up additional opportunities to more young players in those regions.
"I would also like to congratulate all four players on their selection for the National Academies, and to recognise the fantastic work that their current coaching team has done to help them achieve this fantastic milestone. The fact that all four players joining our academies this year have graduated from RPDCs is very encouraging, and an early indication that the Player Pathway is working.”
Nick Weal, LTA Head of Performance Coach Education, said: “It’s great that there is a range of new opportunities for coaches through our investment into the RPDC programme. Now more than ever, it is vital that coaches are given sustainable, full-time opportunities to earn a living. By creating these roles, we are providing genuine career opportunities for some of our best coaches which can only be a good thing both for them and the young players they work with.”
Find out more!
Click here more information about the LTA Player Pathway and ten-year Performance Strategy.