Women in Tennis programme is looking for junior players to get involved in their sport off the court

Women in Tennis programme is looking for junior players to get involved in their sport off the court

Sunday's Well Tennis Club member Ger Flynn

APPLICATIONS are closing this week for the Women in Tennis programme, with a particular emphasis over the next six weeks on junior female players. 

Tennis Ireland has secured funding from Sport Ireland to implement a programme to support the Women in Sport Policy, publicised in 2019. 

The Women in Sport Policy identifies four different areas: These include: coaching and officiating; active participation, leadership and governance and visibility. 

By improving on all of these areas it is hoped that the overall landscape for women in sport in Ireland will be a welcoming and an inclusive one. 

The Women in Tennis Programme began in February 2020, with research being undertaken to identify the behaviours and attitudes in relation to women’s tennis in Ireland. 

This programme is in place to support and empower girls and women across Ireland to take up leadership roles within tennis in a playing, coaching, officiating and administrative capacity. 

Now Tennis Ireland is hosting its first Young Women Leadership Conference. 

This Conference will give representatives from each county of Ireland the opportunity to discuss and collaborate on how to grow tennis for young Irish women, with a view to empowering future leaders in tennis and providing a platform for young women to voice their opinions and bring about effective change. 

Sarah, Ann Marie, Eve and Cian Ahern pictured at the recent Niall Ahern Memorial Tennis and Croquet 24 Marathon event at Rushbrooke.
Sarah, Ann Marie, Eve and Cian Ahern pictured at the recent Niall Ahern Memorial Tennis and Croquet 24 Marathon event at Rushbrooke.

Representatives can be nominated by their clubs, potentially junior representatives on committees, junior captains or young committee members (i.e. potential future leaders in clubs). 

All local clubs are encouraged to nominate a chosen female club member (16 years – 25 years old) to represent their local area. 

The programme start-date is December 2nd. And it will run for six weeks. The course will be delivered online by the National Coordinator for Women in Tennis, Grainne O’Neill. 

Applications, along with the consent form (if you are under 18 years old) should be sent: mailto:goneill@tennisireland.ie.

Places are limited, and applicants must have approval from their club committee and a club contact must verify that on the application form. 

Club contacts can be any member of the club’s committee (Chairperson, Secretary, President, Treasurer, Junior Coordinator). 

This is a welcome initiative from Tennis Ireland and it demonstrated great foresight by Sport Ireland to encourage more female participation in tennis. 

For too long, young girls have seen the top male coaches dominate in many local clubs. 

In fact, looking up the list of available coaches on the website of some local clubs, I was surprised two see that , in two prominent and popular Cork clubs, there is not one female listed as coach! 

This is not acceptable! 

Therefore, it is hoped that perhaps programmes such as the Young Leadership Conference will help to change the coaching structures in some clubs, with female leaders visible on the court, rather than just in the clubhouse.

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