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International Tennis Federation Adult Reten- tion Newman James

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					International Tennis Federation: Adult Reten-             taining adults in tennis:
tion
                                                          1. Social – meet new people
Newman James, Miley Dave
(International Tennis Federation, Great Britain)          2. Learning/Improving – learn new skills and to
                                                          experience playing and improving their game
INTRODUCTION                                              3. Health and Fitness – improve health, fitness and
In 2007 the International Tennis Federation (ITF)         well-being
launched ’Tennis. . . Play and Stay’, a campaign to       4. Flexibility in when they play the sport – play
improve the way starter players are introduced to         outside of lessons and have control of organising
tennis. Fundamental to the campaign is ensuring           courts and times
that all players play the game from the first lesson.
To achieve this, 3 types of slower balls and smaller      5. Belonging – have a sense of connection and be-
court sizes were promoted.                                longing to the place they play, and the other people
                                                          there
By 2009, 117 nations were using 2 or more slower
balls (Newman, 2009), and US junior racket sales          In 2009, the KNLTB (Dutch Federation) introduced
rose 80% from 2003-2008 (Tennis Industry Asso-            ’Tennis.Nonstop’, a campaign based on its find-
ciation, 2008).                                           ings.

The speed of the campaign’s success led to a plan         ITF Adult Program: Using the ’Play and Stay’
for expansion through two supporting initiatives:         philosophy, health research, and lessons learned
                                                          from the KNLTB and French Tennis Federation’s
* Tennis 10s (tennis for players aged 10 and un-
                                                          adult programme; the ITF is developing a training
der using slower balls and scaled courts) was
                                                          and competition programme to help ITF’s member
launched in 2009. The ITF plan to introduce a rule
                                                          nations better attract and retain adults in tennis.
from 2012 that will eliminate the use of a traditional,
yellow ball in 10&U competition.                          A key element of the programme will be to pro-
                                                          vide flexible lesson plans using slower balls and
* Adult Starter Tennis programme which will be
                                                          smaller courts, which will ensure starter adults play
launched in 2011.
                                                          the game from the start. In addition, a support-
Development of the programme: The ITF believes            ing manual, website and promotional material will
that attracting and retaining adults is vital for the     educate stakeholders about the programme, and
well-being of tennis, especially as tennis is one of      the motivational factors highlighted earlier as im-
few sports that can be played by adults of all ages.      portant retention elements.
In the US in 2006, over 90 million had tried ten-
nis, yet only 22 million continued. In the Nether-        CONCLUSION
lands, 90,000 new players start tennis each year,         The ITF aims to introduce a new adult program in
but 52,000 leave within 2 years. In 2008, the ITF         2011. Using slower balls, the programme will seek
formed a group of international experts to focus on       to increase retention rates by ensuring a more dy-
adult retention.                                          namic and positive experience from the start, and
Health Benefits: Research performed for the ITF            a good cardiovascular workout, which will lead to
showed that recreational tennis provided signifi-          increased adult participation in tennis worldwide.
cant health benefits including improved aerobic fit-        REFERENCES
ness, lower body fat %, and reduced risk of cardio-
vascular disease (Pluim et al. 2007).                     Pluim, B.M. et al. Brit J Sport Med, 41, 11, 760-768

Retention Motives: Investigations in France and           Newman, J. 2009. Tennis Play and Stay Newslet-
the Netherlands identified 5 important factors in re-      ter: Sept/Oct 2009. www.tennisplayandstay.com
Tennis Industry Association. 2008.
www.tennisindustry.org/research

Keywords: adult, tennis, retention, development




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posted:11/28/2011
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