The Tennis Federation of Myanmar (TFM) is undertaking ambitious projects with hopes of building a strong base of new tennis teachers and players.
The TFM took the first step towards widespread improvements late last year when it hired Robert Davis as head coach and technical expert for a period of two years after he was recommended by the International Tennis Federation.
Mr Davis has previously served as the head coach for the Thai, Indonesian, Peruvian and Panamanian national teams.
“In contracting Mr. Davis our main task was to prepare our national teams for the upcoming 2013 Southeast Asian Games,” U Aung Maw Thein, president of TFM, said.
“However, he is also tasked with developing tennis in general throughout the nation. Our goal at the TFM is to provide the necessary structure for the game to grow.”
The main areas that they will be focused on during Mr Davis’ tenure are coaching education, talent identification and development, officiating and attracting international tournaments to Myanmar.
From December 2nd -8th, TFM will host the 1st Myanmar International Tennis Project at Thein Byu Tennis Centre.
“The objective of the Myanmar International Tennis Project is to bring together everyone in Myanmar that has an enthusiasm to play, teach or learn more about tennis,” Mr Davis said.
“From school kids who have never played tennis, to the very successful adult league organised by L’Opera Restaurant, to established tennis coaches from the 14 states of Myanmar and to physical education teachers in the schools who want to offer tennis to their students. Everyone is welcome.”
There will also be a tennis teacher’s course directed by the Professional Tennis Registry and an officiating course conducted by the International Tennis Federation.
“We want to create a greater interest in tennis among adults and young children alike through a variety of activities that introduce new people to tennis,” Mr Davis said of the program.
“In order to teach more students how to play tennis, we will need more people willing to learn to teach tennis. The idea that you have to be a good player to be a good teacher is false. What is needed is a good teacher first, and tennis ability second. We can easily help them acquire the necessary tools to play and teach tennis with.”
Though these new programs are exciting, TFM has no illusions of instant gratification; they are fully aware that developing tennis players and improving infrastructure is a long process that requires quality education and enthusiastic sponsors.
“I am very excited about the opportunities here in Myanmar,” Mr Davis said.
“I have worked for national associations all over the world, and like anything else, success starts at the top. And the president of the TFM is fully committed to planting seeds now for a sustained long term growth later.”