Last weekend saw almost 150 delegates from 39 countries attend the 2016 Tennis Europe Coaches Conference powered by Polar in Antwerp, where the event was hosted by Tennis Vlaanderen.
This 33rd edition of the conference was built around the theme of transitioning high performance junior players into successful professionals and featured contributions from many of the leading names in the worlds of coaching and sports science, as well as former top players. As always, the event took place over three days and was comprised of a mixture of on- and off-court sessions as well as interactive working groups and panel discussions.
The conference was opened on Thursday 20th October by Tennis Europe CEO Olli Mäenpää and Tennis Vlaanderen Technical Director Ivo van Aken. The first day went on to focus on development pathways for transitioning players, while Day 2 looked at tactical and technical considerations. Saturday’s final day focused on the themes of mental training and conditioning needed to reach the professional level. The full programme can be consulted here.
Amongst the key speakers were former world #4 Magdalena Maleeva, who shared some of her formative experiences as a player and advised the coaches of the importance of assisting players with life skills beyond technical and tactical training. Former ATP pro Christian Ruud was joined by Oivind Sorvald as he explained the differences between today’s tour and the days when he was an active player, and illustrated how modern scientific tools were assisting his son Caspar in his attempt to transition from being the world #1 junior to professional tennis.
Delegates were also treated to an evening at the inaugural edition of the ATP World Tour’s 250-series event in Antwerp, a welcome reception at the city’s town hall, a complementary visit to enjoy the facilities of the David Lloyd Leisure Club and an official dinner at De Ark Restaurant.
ITF/Tennis Europe Development Office Hrvoje Zmajic summed up the meeting, saying, “This has been the best attended coaches’ conferences in the long history of the event, which serves to highlight how important the overall topic of transitioning players is across our wide spectrum of member nations. On behalf of Tennis Europe, I’d like to thank all the speakers for their contributions; we had a very full programme but it was one that kept the delegates enthralled until the very end. Finally, I’d like to thank Tennis Vlaanderen for the first-class organisation of the event and the warm hospitality that we all received.”