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Indian tennis coaches have capitalised on the time available due to the lockdown by enriching themselves with the resources available freely at the ITF Academy.

In an attempt to help coaches around the world, the International Tennis Federation (ITF) has stepped up online content from its invaluable resources and made it free.

The coaches have to only register, make use of the resources, and get themselves certified with about 30 courses available at the moment.The International Tennis Federation’s (ITF) Miguel Crespo has recognised India as the number one country in terms of coaches registered with the ITF Academy during his ‘Education Webinar for Coaches’ session.

Miguel Crespo from the ITF’s tennis development department and Jonathan Stubbs, ITF’s development officer — South, South-East and East Asia, came on board at the All India Tennis Association (AITA) and the Sports Authority of India’s (SAI) on ‘Education Webinar for Coaches’ on Tuesday.

“To accept and adapt is the way forward,” said Dr. Miguel Crespo, a pioneer in ITF’s coaching department, as he pointed to the current scenario, when he addressed Indian coaches.

“Working with the Indian coaches, working with the Indian Tennis association has been very interesting and has always been an excellent experience. We have learnt a lot from each other from the years we have been working together and we hope to continue in the years to come,” he added.

The ITF has been on a digital drive, and has put “all content on the digital platform”.

“It is all free and there is no excuse any more,” said Crespo. “It is blended learning. We will continue to have face to face courses, as well as the online part. The online courses started two years ago. You can do several courses online and download certificates. The courses are free now, owing to COVID-19. It may not happen again,” said Crespo, sounding a friendly warning.

“It is not just for coaches. Anyone can do them and improve their knowledge. There are courses for parents also. Many may know, but you can reinforce your knowledge,” he said.

“The ITF is planning to have parents education, as a 20-minute online process and a two-hour face to face interaction,” he added.

The content is in three parts — regular courses, question and answer section, and case studies.

The ITF has also enhanced its library, by putting videos, drills, interviews and articles in its I-coach centre, accessible to all registered coaches.

“There are already more than 3000 pieces of content,” said Crespo.

The ITF Advanced Coaches Manual, which Crespo has co-authored with Dave Miley, is also free on the App.

Suggesting the importance of using technology wisely, Crespo said that it was equally important for coaches to focus on regular participants in tennis.

“Competitive players are only five per cent. The rest are normal players. We need to help them,” said Crespo.

Crespo and Stubbs have vast experience in the field of developing tennis across the globe and have been associated with the Indian coach’s education programme earlier as well. The duo enriched the AITA registered coaches with their global knowledge of tennis development and coaching.

During the session, Indian Davis Cup skipper Rohit Nagal and the skipper of Fed Cup team Vishal Uppal also made a guest appearance before Crespo’s address.

With the COVID-19 pandemic situation, Crespo emphasised that all the coaches must utilise the “extra” time in improving themselves individually as a coach.

Crespo also threw some light on the digitization program of the ITF and shared that the registration of the ITF Academy would be made mandatory soon and it will remain free of cost for the coaches.

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