Tennis Canada Unveils Holistic & Innovative Player Development Roadmap
The following is from a press release I received from Tennis Canada. Hoping other governing bodies follow suit!
THE WHOLE PLAYER DEVELOPMENT PATHWAY
Journey consists of seven stages, guiding players from their first tennis experiences to the elite level and providing an underlying pathway for lifelong play
Tennis Canada today unveiled a comprehensive framework for enhanced player development, representing a continued commitment to nurturing excellence both on and off the court. The Whole Player Development Pathway (WPDP) is an innovative roadmap designed to help players, families, coaches and partners understand and inspire them at every stage of their tennis journey, creating an environment that encourages growth, achievement, and lifelong participation in the
Underpinned by Tennis Canada’s vision to be a world-leading tennis nation, which is outlined in the organization’s new five-year strategic plan, the WPDP is an evolution of the Long-Term Athlete Development model (LTAD) and introduces seven distinct stages of development, guiding users from their first steps on the court to the pinnacle of performance and providing landing pads for remaining in the sport for life:
1. Active Start: Discovering tennis
2. Fundamentals: Establishing the foundations to play and compete
3. Development: Fueling passion and developing sound technique
4. Consolidation: Emphasizing tactics and focusing on specific tasks
5. Performance: Training with intensity and honing physical development
6. Transition to Pro Tennis: Striving for precise execution and mental performance
7. Life as a Pro: Delivering high performance and achieving life balance
“The Whole Player Development Pathway has been years in the making,” said Guillaume Marx, Head of Performance, Tennis Canada. “We worked internally and with many world-class leaders and experts, having taken best practices from both our own experiences of supporting and having Canadian tennis develop some of the world’s best players in the past decade, and consulting externally with partners, other federations and sports across the world.
“The WPDP embodies a flexible and holistic approach to development that aims to cultivate not only exceptional athletes but also exceptional individuals who serve as role models and inspirations to generations of players, fans and fellow Canadians. We would like to thank the various stakeholders who have contributed and will continue to contribute to the WPDP, including our private sector coaches, academies, consultants, national coaches, staff and Provincial and Territorial Association partners.”
Using comprehensive data from international and domestic resources to assess various player development pathways that have led to Top 100 rankings and higher, and with the prerequisite that one size does not fit all, the WPDP identifies four high-performance player pathways to support individuals at various stages of their tennis journey. These depend on a player’s skillset, maturation rate, setbacks and the age at which tennis was identified as their primary sport. This flexible and holistic approach makes the WPDP the first of its kind to be implemented not only in Canada but across the world. Go to https://tenniscanadamediacentre.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/11/Whole-Player-Development-Pathway-WPDP.pdf#page=10 to see the four pathways (you may need to Right Click the link then open in a new tab – for some reason, the coding isn’t working properly).
THERE IS MORE THAN ONE WAY TO THE TOP
Canadian superstars such as 2019 US Open and National Bank Open presented by Rogers (NBO) champion Bianca Andreescu and 2022 Davis Cup champion Félix Auger-Aliassime are prime examples of players who have achieved success following Pathway A. Gabriel Diallo, also part of the 2022 Davis Cup championship team, is a player who has taken a different route to the top through Pathway D. There are many ways to realize success at the highest level, whether it’s following one, or a combination, of the four pathways.
To empower players along their chosen pathway, the WPDP includes key training, competition, and development recommendations for each stage. These insights provide a roadmap and guidelines for players, coaches, and supporters (parents and guardians), nurturing their growth while adapting to their evolving needs.
Aimed primarily at those with aspirations of becoming elite, high-performance athletes, the WPDP is also intended to ease a player’s introduction to tennis and, particularly its early stages, can be utilized by recreational players and those who are new to the sport. Its framework is designed around the 5Cs of coaching that develop a well-balanced player and individual with the following key components: Culture; Character; Confidence; Connection; Competence.
These recommendations, including the 5Cs, are already being implemented throughout Tennis Canada programming, including the newly launched Rogers First Set (part of Stage 2 of the WPDP), U15 Canadian Prospect Team and Club Support Program (both across Stages 3 and 4), as well as the National Tennis Centre (NTC) presented by Rogers (Stage 5).