Brisbane, Australia, 27 September 2023 | Leigh Rogers

The inaugural Tennis Australia Talent Combine has been a learning experience for coaches, as well as their star athletes.

Each of the 16 junior players invited to the four-day event, being held at the Queensland Tennis Centre this week, were able to bring an accompanying parent, as well as their private coach.

“When the invitations first went out and we invited the players and their parents, we felt like the coaches were also an integral part of that ecosystem,” explained Belinda Colaneri, Tennis Australia’s Performance Coach Development Manager.

“So, we also invited their private coaches to come and spend two days of the combine with us.”

During the combine, the coaches took part in several different education sessions, led by Colaneri and Scott Draper.

Draper, a former world No.42 and the Australian Open 2005 mixed doubles champion, is now Tennis Australia’s Head of Performance Coach Development.

Tennis Australia Talent Combine
Attending coaches
Coach Player
Stewart Andrews Oscar Andrews
Lisa Ayres Georgia Campbell
James Connelly Sara Nikolic
Tyson Destafano Kimiko Cooper
Kaden Hensel Taiki Takizawa
Mustafa Ibraimi Ymerali Ibraimi
Brydan Klein Elijah Dikkenburg
Adrian Lombardi Daniel Jovanovski
Paul Mick Nikolas Baker
Jake Strydom Jeffrey Strydom
Tony Vermaak Koharu Nishikawa

Coaches attending the combine also had the opportunity to watch their athletes compete and provide feedback on their performances.

“We’ve been integrating some of the on-court work that the players are doing, with some of the off-court work with the coaches,” Colaneri said.

> READ: Athletes reflect on lessons gained at Talent Combine

Biomechanical development and tracking data, which indicates where athlete levels are in relation to the rest of the world, has been a key focus in the coach education sessions.

“Obviously there is a lot that goes into developing a professional tennis player and knowing the data is an absolutely critical piece,” Colaneri said.

“Data doesn’t lie, and it gives the coaches an indication of where their player needs to be at each birth year.

“When we look at our past players, whether it was Ash (Barty), Nick (Kyrgios) or Thanasi (Kokkinakis), they all met those benchmarks of tracking from the age of 13 through.”

Colaneri believes this information was “beneficial” for the coaches.

“Because we are so far away from the rest of the world, I think the hardest part for the coaches sometimes is knowing what the level is in relation to the world’s best,” she said.

“Seeing the data, for them, was definitely eye-opening.

“They see their players as the best in Australia, which they are, but we helped them to see where they sit with the rest of the world and where they need to be at each of their ages.

“For a lot of them, it also been reassurance that they are doing the right thing and that their players are on track.”

> READ: John Millman inspires athletes at Talent Combine

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