Player Development is the WTA's education and resource center, outreaching to WTA players and their support teams. Player Development programs promote and enhance players' career fulfillment, safety and well-being.
Players access WTA services and gain concrete skills to maximize their performance and mitigate the known environmental stressors. Player Development programs are scientifically proven to keep female tennis players in and at the top of their game.
PLAYER DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMS
The first mentor program in professional sport brings together young players with veteran and retired players who share their dynamic experience to help these protégés make a smooth transition into their WTA careers. Billie Jean King, the program’s historian, exemplifies the role of a mentor.
Player Orientation > Rookie Hours
Players learn about WTA and tennis-wide rules and services, on-site realities, and responsibilities of being a participant on the WTA. The Player Orientation ("Rookie Hours") helps the players understand the building blocks of the business and her professional obligations and opportunities.
Players learn how to be prepared, professional and self-expressive in public speaking opportunities.
Player Support Team Education
Parents, coaches, and agents receive an orientation to the WTA detailing rules and expectations governing all parties in the WTA environment, adherence to the Code of Conduct, Safeguarding education, qualified coaching certification.
Players and their coaches must routinely submit their tournament schedule, including details on player’s off-season, pre-competition weeks, active rest and recovery weeks, and appropriate developmental blocks for review and approval by the WTA. Players and their support teams are also required to complete online lessons on these Principles of Periodization.
Advantage programs provide sophisticated education, training and career guidance to maximize opportunities, in business and in life, during the tennis career and after. Current and former players have access to a range of programs, from financial planning and investing, gaining coaching certifications, networking and WTA Legends activities, discounted formal university education, leadership, and career coaching.
Age Eligibility Rule (AER)
The Age Eligibility Rule progressively allows athletes aged 14-17 to play more and at a higher level by phasing them into professional tennis in accordance with their age, their ranking and the skills gained from Player Development. Reference the WTA Rulebook for details.
Each player is required to complete a physical examination, complete the minimum educational requirements of her country, and participate in related training and educational activities that promote her health, safety and career longevity.
The WTA has taken an intentional approach to addressing the important considerations of players competing in the professional tennis environment. Specifically, in 1995 the WTA modified its Age Eligibility Rule (AER) to provide for a managed dose of a tennis and simultaneously implemented its Player Development Programs.
A Player Development Advisory Panel (Panel) recommends educational initiatives to the WTA that are developmentally appropriate for professional tennis players. The Panel is comprised of volunteer and independent sports science and medicine experts, with expertise including but not limited to sports and tennis medicine, health policy, sports psychology, motor learning, primary care medicine, fitness training, adolescent and women’s health, performance coaching, athlete development, athletic training, parent and coach education and early sport specialization.
Since their implementation in 1995, the WTA’s innovative Player Development Programs have been proven successful at addressing the athletes’ top stress and performance-related factors, reducing burn-out and increasing career longevity. Two journal articles detailing the impact of WTA Player Development have been published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, the leading peer-reviewed journal in sports medicine that serves more than 13,000 members of the international sport and exercise medicine community:
2006: 10-Year Study
2022: 25-Year Study
Questions can be referred to Sarka Vitkova by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by referencing the WTA Rulebook.
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