i2c has recently formed a partnership with the BTCA; an organisation that is 70 years old and was established to provide a way for coaches to work more closely together share ideas and opportunities. A goal that is still relevant today. We talked to the head of the BTCA to ask him, among other things, what most excites him about the direction being taken by tennis and what is the biggest trend he’s seen in the “business” of tennis coaching over the last few years. We also asked him how the BTCA is ensuring it’s ongoing relevance to Britain’s young tennis coaches.
Download the interview transcript Royston Kymberly interview transcript (5 downloads)
Question: How and why was the BTCA created?
Royston: The BTCA is around 70 years old and was established to provide a way for coaches to work more closely together share ideas and opportunities and for many years it was the sole provider of coaching insurances. When I became a coach it was wonderful to get my LTA qualification but by joining the BTCA it also meant that I could now be a member of a fraternity of coaches. That meant a lot to me. Plus it was a nicer tracksuit.
Q: What is the BTCA’s mission?
Royston: The BTCA’s mission hasn’t changed from its conception. We are committed to supporting coaches and providing them with additional opportunities beyond Governing Body Membership, but of course the way in which we do that has evolved with the times. With the LTA providing a more extensive package for coaches we have had to look more closely at those things that make our association a little different. Coaches get great support from the LTA and BTCA can complement that by creating links between coaches and the wider tennis industry. And also provide a level of independent expression for coaches that enables them to share and work through alternative ideas and coaching methods.
Q. How is the BTCA ensuring it’s ongoing relevance to Britain’s young tennis coaches (or indeed foreign coaches)?
Royston: By working with Inspire2Coach the BTCA can provide coaches discounts on coach development courses and on-line support and learning tools to ensure that they can put together a quality coaching program, and as an independent association, the BTCA can also help them share their own ideas and learn from other coaches that have taken the same journeys.
Q: How is BTCA membership different to LTA membership?
Royston: BTCA Membership is an Association of Coaches not a Tennis Association, therefore it is not our job to make decisions about what is the best way forward for tennis clubs, parks and competitive frameworks, but it is our mission to support coaches whatever pathways they decide that they should take. This means that we are a Cooperating Body not a Governing Body and we provide all of our member with all of the member benefits regardless of their level or choice of qualification and coaching methodoligy
We do however share our ideas about issues that effect the sport as a whole and we network with our members and we express these ideas through our social media platforms and UK Tennis Magazine.
Q: What are the benefits of BTCA membership to coaches?
Royston: We offer:
FULL COACHING INSURANCE
£10 Million Public & Employers Liability Coaching Insurance
Other Benefits Include:
Printable Coach Membership Certificate
Discounted Access to BTCA Events (including the BTCA National Conference)
Free Access to: “The Coaches Supplement” in UK Tennis Magazine
Free Access to: BTCA PRIVATE MEMBER ZONE (Thousands of pounds worth of videos & digital training materials)
Free Access to ‘SHOTPAGE’ Digital Coaching & Analysis Software (Coming Soon)
Free Professional Coaching Advice & Business Advice
Gold Level Discounts with selected suppliers
Q: What is the biggest trend you’ve observed in the “business” of tennis coaching over the last few years?
Royston: The biggest trend has to be the evolution of digital technology and that excites us because there is so much on-line support out there that coaches can use that it becomes almost too much, and that is where organisations like the LTA and BTCA can help. We can find out what tools work best a put these together in one manageable on-line location so that we can simplify what can often be a digital mess. The LTA provides coaches with a great coach management tool through its Clubspark product, and the BTCA has established partnerships with Tennis(24/7), Shotpage, and Nick Bollettieri that will provide the additional services that they need to help them meet all of their coaching needs.
Q: What most excites you about the direction being taken by tennis in Britain?
Royston: I am excited about the Free Tennis Programmes being run in Parks by organisations like “TennisforFree” and the LTA introductng low cost park courts with floodlighting. And of course I am excited about how well our top players are doing now. That great Davis Cup Victory and the wonderful achievements of Andy Murray and Johanna Konta and many other British Players who are raising their games under their inspiration. It is a bit early to say that the LTA’s grass roots focus has influenced success at the top yet, but I think its one step in the right direction.
Q: What most concerns you?
Royston: What concerns me most is the costs in terms of taking young players from the age of 14 onto higher levels of the sport. It is these teenagers that should be elevated as “role models” for young kids and given status and the financial support it requires to help them follow their dreams. Andy Murray and Johanna Konta are idols but they are “out of reach”. They are not the ones that mini tennis player see knocking up on the courts next to them. I would like to see more support for performance teenagers and their parents.