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Australian Open Coaches Conference 2014

January is always an exciting time for tennis in Australia and Melbourne is definitely the place to be for the first Grand Slam of the year. Each year prior to the Australian Open Tennis Australia provides coaches from all around the country with the opportunity to attend the annual Coaches Conference.

As a Tennis Australia Talent Development Coach the conference for me begins a day early with the Junior Talent Development Seminar which is an invitational event for the top 70 coaches from around Australia. This year the seminar was focusing on building strategies to produce Australia’s next champions. Transitioning high performing juniors into elite professionals is not only about the player receiving the best possible on-court coaching but it’s about trying to create a complete environment in order to develop every aspect of the player. The seminar was a fantastic opportunity to workshop ideas amongst coaches as well as receive invaluable input from experts such as Toni Nadal (uncle and coach of Rafael Nadal), Scott Draper and Todd Woodbridge.

Following the Talent Development Seminar I attended the 4 day Australian Open Grand Slam Coaches Conference along with fellow SC Coaching team member Wade Hantos.

There was a record number of 310 coaches and industry professionals attending the conference with a world class line up of speakers. We enjoyed on and off court presentations, practical workshops, networking and social events. We were thrilled with the line-up of over 30 speakers which included tennis greats, Toni Nadal, Sven Groeneveld, Roger Rasheed, Judy Murray and the great Rod Laver. Inspirational and informative presentations from international entrepreneur Graham Webb MBE and renowned psychologist Michael Carr-Gregg gave us some great “take away” messages.

I met and spoke with Toni Nadal who was very forthcoming and open about his development pathway with Rafael Nadal. I also spoke at length with Mike Barrel who is the expert on 12 and under tennis development and modified tennis (MLC Hot Shots). Craig Bellamy (former NRL player and coach of the Melbourne Storm NRL team) gave us fantastic insight into his approach on developing  the whole athlete and creating the optimal training environment.

The event closed with an enjoyable evening at Kooyong Lawn Tennis Club. I was lucky enough to have my photo taken with the Australian Open Trophy and have a laugh with Australia’s favourite comedian, Dave “Hughesy” Hughes.

Overall the two conferences were fantastic and provided invaluable knowledge that I look forward to sharing with our students at SC Coaching.

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