ITF Launches Tennis...Stay and Play
Posted on July 28, 2007
The International Tennis Federation (ITF), backed by the world pro and recreational sports bodies, has launched the "Tennis...Stay and Play" campaign to attract and retain new tennis players.
The unique approach scales the game to starter players with a smaller court, lighter balls and different sized racquets appropriated for the size or age of players.
"Our research proved that, on the whole, although tennis did an okay job at attracting players it wasn’t so good at retaining them," says James Newman of ITF Development. "The majority [of new players] are put on full-sized court with [regular] balls and are fed from a basket for the majority of the lesson — the result being that most of the lesson is spent picking up balls and listening to irrelevant technical instruction, rather than playing the game."
Newman says the repsonse from the international community has been positive, with Brazil and Israel launching the program more than one month before the official program announcement.
The ATP and WTA Tour have been filming player endorsements for the program, and the USTA and Tennis Industry Association are also participating in the U.S. Through the USTA’s Tennis Welcome Centers, more than 2,000 facilities offer beginner and continuing programs, and more than 1.1 million new players tried tennis from 2004 to 2005.