USTA Player Development launches coaching symposium series

December 2, 2015 01:30 PM

By Sally Milano,

The USTA's Player Development division is kicking off a new series of coaching education symposiums geared to engage under-represented coaching communities.

The first symposium focuses on the African-American coaching community and former top African-American professional players and will be held Dec. 4-6 at the USTA Training Center Headquarters in Boca Raton, Fla. The second and third forums will be centered on Hispanic-American coaches and female coaches, respectively, and will take place in the first half of 2016, with the exact dates still to be announced.

The overall goal of these symposiums is to continue USTA Player Development’s ongoing efforts to create a collaborative partnership with a full spectrum of its American tennis stakeholders. At the symposiums, USTA Player Development will share the division’s coaching system and philosophy and discuss potential improvements to enhance its support of specific groups.

A select group of influential African-American coaches and players from the past 30 years have been invited to take part in the initial three-day meeting. Katrina Adams, Chairman of the Board, CEO and President, USTA, will serve as the opening speaker of the symposium, with Martin Blackman, General Manager, USTA Player Development (pictured above), and D.A. Abrams, Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer, USTA, also presenting to the group.

“One of my biggest goals is to reach and grow the game in underrepresented communities in this country,” said Adams. “This first symposium represents my background, and I’m excited to share philosophies with so many great coaches that have paved the way.”

At the symposium, USTA Player Development aims to share concepts and give insights into its overall philosophy while also listening and learning from the experiences and knowledge of those in attendance. Discussion and instruction will take place both in the classroom and on the court. The discussions will be designed to take the collective knowledge and experience of the group and use it to identify tactics and recommendations that the USTA can use to improve its developmental support of African-American players and coaches.

“This symposium is an opportunity for us to not only share what we are doing at Player Development – our learnings, philosophies and ideas – but also gain insight and ideas from some of the most influential African-American players and coaches of the last 30 years," Blackman said. "The symposium aligns perfectly with the overall Team USA initiative, as we look to reach players and coaches outside of the traditional system to ensure the highest level of tennis education and instruction throughout the United States.”