Edgbaston Priory Club is set to become an LTA Regional Player Development Centre (RPDC) as the LTA, the national governing body for tennis, announced further enhancements to its Player Pathway.
Launched in 2018 as part of the LTA’s 10-year Performance Strategy, the RPDCs provide high-quality training environments with the right coaching and athletic development for those players aiming to progress to the National Academies – the next stage of the LTA Player Pathway.
The move means that Edgbaston Priory Club will now serve as a training centre for players aged between 10 and 14 who are showing early promise.
There are currently 12 centres across the UK, and both Edgbaston Priory Club and West Hants Club in Bournemouth will become RPDCs from September 2020 – further expanding geographical coverage of centres across the UK.
The announcement comes as part of a programme of additional investment aimed at further reducing the cost to aspiring young players attending Regional Player Development Centres (RPDC), and confirmation of the next intake of players to the National Academies for 2020/21.
The increased funding is focused primarily on the coaching team, which is the most expensive part of the programme for families. This increase will ensure that a substantial part of the costs for squad training, individual sessions and support at national and international tournaments will be covered.
Whilst the actual costs vary across programmes, the LTA expects this investment will mean a saving to families of at least 40% for the core part of a player’s programme.
The move from a payment per player and per hour model, to full time salaried roles will also provide more sustainable, long-term employment opportunities for coaches.
The National Academies opened in September 2019 and provide world class coaching, science, medicine, and welfare support for high potential players aged 13 to 18, alongside an excellent mainstream education. Their opening meant that for the first time, there was now a seamless pathway in place for every age and stage of a player’s development.
Ian Yates, LTA Head of National Performance Pathway, said:
The addition of Edgbaston Priory to the RPDC network will open up additional opportunities to more promising young players from the Midlands to access an elite training centre, and the increasing of our investment into the centres will further reduce the cost of playing the game. I’m very pleased that we’re able to continue developing the RPDC network through these measures, all of which are designed to make the programmes more accessible to aspiring younger players who have shown us their potential.
For more information about the LTA Player Pathway and ten-year Performance Strategy, visit www.lta.org.uk/player-pathway-overview.