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LTA partners with Loughborough University for Parents in Sport Week

The LTA (the governing body for tennis in Great Britain) has partnered with Loughborough University to support the delivery of a series of virtual events for the upcoming Parents in Sport Week (4 – 10 October 2021).

As part of the wider annual Child Protection in Sport Unit (CPSU) campaign to support parents, the LTA are producing a number of online sessions for parents of junior tennis players.

The programme of activity is aligned with its national parent education and support strategy that is coordinated with Loughborough University and provides an opportunity to highlight the impact of its work in this area and raise awareness among parents new to tennis of the support that is available.

The sessions aim to provide both resources and workshops for parents of all young tennis players to help them on their sporting journey.

Three parents of professional tennis players are among the speakers. Judy Murray – mother of Grand Slam champions Andy and Jamie – will headline the week with an opening keynote to parents, with additional Q&A panel sessions featuring Carolyn Salisbury (mother of Joe Salisbury) and Yvonne Burrage (mother of Jodie Burrage).

Joining them on the programme for the week, Professor Chris Harwood, from the University’s School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences, will deliver core online workshops alongside Loughborough alumnus, Dr Sam Thrower (Roehampton University).

Prof Harwood’s research will form the basis of a number of events, including: The ‘Competition Parenting Workshop’, and ‘The 5Cs Parenting Workshop’.

His collaborative work with Professor Elizabeth Stokoe from School of Social Sciences will also form a seminar for parents on ‘The Science behind the strategy: what was learnt from recording and analysing parent-child interactions during car journeys’.

“We want to instil knowledge into parents new to tennis by offering them insights from those parents who have already been on the journey and equip them with some of the strategies that they can use to optimally support their child,” explained Prof Harwood.

“We have a series of panels, workshops and talks across the week that feature three tennis mums of professional players (Judy Murray, Carolyn Salisbury, and Yvonne Burrage). Myself and Dr Sam Thrower are presenting on how we can help parents at competition, in the car journey to matches, and with the 5Cs (Commitment, Communication, Concentration, Control and Confidence) that focus on nurturing positive psycho-social qualities in their child through tennis.”

Loughborough has a Memorandum of Understanding with the LTA, the International Tennis Federation, and recently the Turkish Tennis Federation, focused on researching and delivering a support programme to parents in tennis.

Parents in Sport Week is a chance to deliver the core workshops that have been part of this strategy over the last few years to those that may not have previously been easily reached. The week also aims to raise awareness of the support on offer and ascertain what else may be required in the future.

Prof Harwood added:

“Beyond the multiple technical and physical skills that comprise the game, tennis is a challenging, individual sport from psychological point of view.

“Parents play vital roles in helping young children cope with winning and losing and going onto court with the right mindset for enjoying the game. It is also a sport that demands a great deal of commitment from parents if their child wants to compete regularly and follow a performance pathway.”

Keith Carder, Head of Competitions at the LTA, added:

“It is fantastic to be able to put on such a high-quality set of sessions for parents across the week, with that reflected in over 700 parents having signed up for it.

“We’d like to thank Loughborough University, Professor Harwood and his colleagues for their invaluable contribution to the week and our wider work in this area. With their support we have created what is now an internationally recognised programme, but most importantly one that is making a difference for parents and junior players.”

Loughborough has a long-standing tradition and expertise within the science of tennis, the development of coaches and young players in its National Academy, and a successful University student-athlete performance programme. 

For more information on Parents in Sport week and the LTA’s wider work to support parents of junior tennis players, visit the LTA’s website HERE.