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Provincial & National Programs for Young Athletes

Overview of the Programs

Through the U8, U10, U12 and U12 National programs young athletes receive high quality tennis training from Tennis Canada, and/or Provincial Tennis Association staff. The goal of these programs is to assist in the development of the U8, U10 and U12 international player competencies and norms. Striving to acquire international level competencies at a young age is a key area for player development in Canada.

View new ITF Under 12 Rules here

Overview of program, schedule and objectives
U12 player development has been identified by Tennis Canada and its provincial partners as a critical area for the long-term health and well-being of tennis in Canada. The overall objectives for this program are three-fold:

  • Implement an effective national strategy for provincial youth development (8-12 years of age) – all levels of competence.
  • Identify the top players & provide them with supplemental developmental opportunities (camps and international tours).
  • Parental education and information sharing about the nature and scope of their children’s tennis interest.

Camp and International Tour Selection Guidelines:
Tennis Canada organizes National U12 camps. These camps are held two times a year (October, June). These camps are open to players who have been selected by Tennis Canada High Performance staff based on an evaluation of competencies/skills (physical, technical, tactical, psychological competitive – please see our Long Term Athlete Development Model (FUNdamental & Developing Stages) for a list of the competencies our coaches are looking for. In addition please see our Performance Levels for the performance levels our coaches consider, when making its evaluations for extending development opportunities.

In addition, Tennis Canada offers international development opportunities for a small group of identified athletes to compete among the best U12 players in the world. These opportunities will look to access clay courts tour where possible to ensure our youngsters are able to develop optimally for the long term. Tours may include travel to Europe, and the United States.

Overview of program
The U8, U10 & U12 programs vary in scope across the country. In general, these programs are held over weekends throughout the year. Each regrouping generally consists of one or two full days of tennis & fitness training. These programs are designed to augment the great work being done in the TDC weekly program, ultimately all partners working towards common priorities and objectives.

Young athletes will receive high quality tennis training from Tennis Canada, and/or Provincial Tennis Association staff. The goal is to assist in the development of the U8, U10 and U12 international player competencies and norms. Striving to acquire international level competencies at a young age is a key area for player development in Canada.

On court coaching is only one aspect of a young athlete’s education in tennis. These programs will educate youngsters on many aspects of training and competing. This includes fitness, nutrition, injury prevention, tactics, strategy, mental training and parent seminars on dealing with a high performance athlete and ensuring a well balanced approach to development.

These programs will not only improve developing athletes, but also improve the structure in place for the athletes. Promising athletes can be identified faster and nurtured more effectively. This along with the improvement in ability and numbers will improve the athlete’s ability to win national titles, international tennis events, enhance Jeux Canada Games performances and help improve chances to have players win an Olympic or Grand Slam Gold Medal.

Selection process for the provincial program:
Players must display high levels of competitive tennis and athletic skills to be eligible for this program. Selection to the program will include skills assessments during the tryouts and include an evaluation of recent results national ahead of provincial (U8, U10 & U12).

PTC Feeder into National program:
Provincial/Regional PTC programs act as feeders into either the National Jr. or full- time NTC training Program.

Selection for the provincial program is based on the following criteria:

  • Coaches evaluation at the tryout
  • Fitness Testing
  • Competitive Results

Try-out dates vary by province but generally fall into the following time frames (July or September/October. Please contact your provincial association for specific details.

Costs: Program fees will apply and vary by province.

National Bank Little Aces Talent Recruitment

In an effort to increase both the number and quality of young players playing the game of tennis, Tennis Canada has developed a Talent Recruitment Program, a motor skills, & tennis development program that is intended for children 5 to 7 years of age. Find out more about the Little Aces Program.

Sport Science & Sport Medicine Support

Building on the great work that has been done over the past 7 years, Tennis Canada in conjunction with Own the Podium is in the process of designing & implementing a comprehensive Sport Science & Sport Medicine program.  Find out more about these programs!

Resources and Policies

The Canadian greats – Bassett-Seguso, Connell, Kelesi, Michibata, Lareau, Hy-Boulais, Nestor and Hetherington – all share the same qualities: courage, discipline, character, effort and perseverance. As young players, they also needed a guiding hand in finding proper training and a competitive environment to achieve success.

Tennis Canada recognizes the demands of an aspiring Canadian tennis player. We have assembled an array of financial assistance packages to assist our top players with costs related to high-performance development. This includes private Tennis Canada/donor grants, Sport Canada Athlete Assistance Program (carding), performance standard grants, U12 training grants and wild card assistance program. This section provides an overview of these programs and highlights the criteria and previous recipients of Tennis Canada assistance.

Sport Canada Carding – Athlete Assistance Program (AAP)

Sport Canada Carding Levels:
Tennis Canada will nominate players annually (based on the enclosed criteria) for direct funding by Sport Canada. Support comes in the form of a monthly payment from Sport Canada that goes directly to the players. Eligibility for the Carding assistance program begins in a player’s second year U14. Players are nominated for a twelve-month period under this program.

Tennis Canada Performance Standard Fund (For elite players training outside of Tennis Canada’s full time NTC training program)

Purpose:
To provide financial grants & specified services & benefits to elite player who have declined an invitation to participate in Tennis Canada’s full time National Training Centre program.

Selection Timeframe:
The package to be provided to each athlete will be determined by the V.P. High Performance, in consultation with High Performance staff. Grants, services & benefits related to this program will be determined in September each year & reviewed in January and May each year.

Eligibility Criteria:
To be eligible to receive support, players (must) meet their published Performance Standards (GOLD/SILVER or BRONZE) during the applicable competitive season (September– August).

Grants & Services available:

  • Tournament Travel Grants (for tours conducted with personal coach) – the following dollar amounts will be allotted to each player. (U14 – $10,000 o U16 – $15,000 o U18 – $20,000)
  • Access to wildcards subject to meeting published criteria.
  • Access to Sport Canada’s Carding program subject to meeting published criteria.
  • Drop-in training privileges to National Training Centre Program.
  • Invitation to participate in three (3) National Training Centre Tours (up to 70% of the costs may be paid for by Tennis Canada). Tours to be determined by the NTC Coaching staff.

Procedure to access funding to offset tournament expenses:

  • Funding allotted remains at Tennis Canada & is payable upon receipt and approval of eligible expenses.
  • Players are required to have their annual competitive plan approved in September and reviewed in January and May each year in order to be reimbursed for those tournaments.
  • Players must agree to complete one (1) medical examination (in Toronto).
  • Players must agree to complete two (2) fitness evaluations (in Montreal or Toronto).
  • Players will receive a travel allowance of $900 per tournament held within Canada, and $1800 per tournament held outside of Canada.
  • This money will be deducted from their individual player accounts held at Tennis Canada. Players are to contact the Director, High Performance to access their account.
  • Players may receive reimbursement for the following events: ETA (series 1 and 2 events) ITF events, Pro Circuit events and WTA/ATP events.
  • Note this funding may not be used to offset the costs associated with training.

In addition, players playing full-time on the professional tour and meeting the published Transition Year Standards are eligible to access transition assistance.

View Tennis Canada’s Performance Standards.

Many international players, promising Canadian youngsters and established Davis/Fed Cup team members have received wild cards into either the main draw or qualifying tournament at Canada’s international men’s and women’s championships. When a player’s ranking is not high enough to gain entry into a professional event run by Tennis Canada, an Events or Player Development wild card may be provided to him/her to enhance the event or meet Tennis Canada’s Player Developments long term objectives.

Events:

  • Rogers Cup (Men’s and Women’s)
  • National Bank Cup, Quebec City (Women)
  • Challengers, Futures
  • ITF junior events
  • Open events

Vision:
To provide a wild card distribution system capable of meeting our stated national team while respecting our values of excellence, accountable, equity & fairness. These guidelines will be capable of adapting to unpredictable circumstances.

Overview:
The success of the Rogers Cup Men’s and Women’s events is important to ensure Player Development funding. Thus, the events department will determine international wild cards to enhance and ensure a healthy bottom line for these events, albeit full efforts are made to ensure spots are available for Canadian players. The Player Development department will determine the order of merit for Canadian players vying for wild cards.

Player Development has established the long-term objective of cultivating an environment of excellence by developing a strong national team program and a system capable of developing Grand Slam, Olympic & Paralympic singles champions. Wild cards will be used as tools to achieve these long-term objectives

Wild Card Allocation:

  • Rogers Cup Men’s and Women’s events wild cards to international players.
  • Development wild cards to Canadian players. A wild card committee (decision making) will be developed to assist with the decision-making process.

Wild Card Selection Guidelines

To be eligible for a Player Development wild card, a player must:

  • Be a Canadian Citizen on the date the wild card selection committee meets.
  • If offered, sign a Davis / Fed Cup or National Team Player Agreement with Tennis Canada.
  • If asked, make him/herself available to represent Canada in all ties during the calendar year in which the wild card is being allocated.
  • If internationally ranked, enter* the event through the appropriate governing body;
  • Be in good standing with Tennis Canada, his/her respective Provincial Tennis Association and the official governing body of the event (ATP, WTA, ITF).
  • Be physically healthy, fit and pursue a full-time career. ***
  • Have given his/her best effort in all matches which he/she has represented Canada and/or in which he/she has received a wild card from Tennis Canada. If any player fails to give his/her best effort, as determined by the wild card selection committee, they will forfeit the right to a Tennis Canada wild card for a twelve month period.

* – As a general rule, players must enter events to be eligible for wild cards. The spirit of this entry guideline is to ensure no wild cards are “wasted” due to players not entering events in a timely manner. Exceptions will be made to the above rule due to unforeseen circumstances and modifications to schedules. All exceptions will be determined by the wild card selection committee on a case basis.p>

*** – Defined as a commitment to compete full time during the calendar year. Players will confirm their intentions by developing and submitting a competitive schedule (upon request). This schedule must be approved by the wild card selection committee.

All wild cards will be awarded by the following Wild Card Selection Committees.

Rogers, Masters Series and Challengers:

  1. Vice-President, High Performance
  2. Davis Cup Captain or Fed Cup Captain
  3. Men’s or Women’s National Coach
  4. Director, High Performance

Futures:

  1. Vice-President, High Performance
  2. Davis Cup Captain or Fed Cup Captain
  3. Men’s or Women’s National Coach
  4. Director, High Performance

Juniors:

  1. Vice-President, High Performance
  2. Men’s or Women’s National Coach
  3. Director, High Performance
  4. The Wild Card Selection Committee will consider the guidelines below. Please be aware that meeting these guidelines does not automatically guarantee a wild card. The committee has latitude to use subjectivity in its final decisions for wildcard selection.

Guidelines:

  • Representing Canada
  • Meeting Performance Standards (juniors, transition and college)
  • Rankings: ATP/WTA/college/juniors and recent results
  • Other: History and excellence

Note:

  • Singles ranking = singles wild card
  • Doubles ranking = doubles wild card
  • The wild card selection committee will decide doubles pairings for all events.

Conclusion:
Player Development has established the long-term objective of cultivating an environ- ment of excellence by developing a strong national team program and a system capable of developing Grand Slam, Olympic and Paralympic singles champions.

Wild cards will be used as tools to achieve these long-term objectives. Other than Rogers Cup wildcards all other wild cards will be communicated 3-5 days ahead of the start of the event.

Long Term Athlete Development (LTAD)

There are countless young Canadian tennis players out there on our nation’s courts who can hit a blistering serve or a cannon of a backhand. But it takes more than natural talent to make it on the tennis circuit.

That’s where the Long Term Athletic Development plan comes in.

In an effort to foster both the love of the game and the talent of someone who could very well be tomorrow’s rising star, the plan is set out in 8 stages. Throughout these stages, young players learn that physical literacy is the foundation for being active, healthy and for achieving personal best performances at all levels of competition. In other words, even if they never make it to Wimbledon, we teach them how to get the most out of the game and how to play at their best. Our goal is to ensure that all who pick up the game have an opportunity to enjoy the lifetime benefits of playing.

Learn more about the Long Term Athletic Development Plan

Click here for the Mini LTAD

Download information about Player Analysis Technology (PAT)