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Marcel Bleischwitz

Head of Marketing

Wingfield Club series: Freiburger Tennisclub

From less than 450 to +900 members in only five years. With these measures, the FTC has become a prime example of good club development.

The Freiburg Tennis Club has done many things right in recent years to position the club for the future. Head coach and club manager Eva Birkle-Belbl, who manages the club's sporting affairs, has played a significant role. The DTB Club Coach of the Year 2018 focuses on three crucial points.

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Taking Junior development to another level.

Junior development in Freiburg begins with strategic measures to recruit young talents. After all, demographic change does not stop at this club. In cooperation with regional elementary schools, the club established tennis as a part of physical education classes, thus getting children interested in the sport who otherwise would probably never have had any contact with it. At the beginning of each season, the club invites all kids to tryouts where they can participate in free practice sessions and, at best, later find their way into the club.

Eva and her team are committed to providing young players a framework for optimal development opportunities. Thus, an internal support program has been set up to support individual players and finance club and training infrastructure investments.

Support is provided from the grassroots to the top level - the higher the level of play, the greater the support. The club is particularly proud of its talent squad, whose members benefit from discounts on hall prices or a share of the training costs. The program is supported by a circle of sponsors of regional companies and private donors from the club's environment.

Highlights on video player.

Driving Change: Wingfield x Eva

Recognizing individual needs and creating adequate offers

To be able to offer adequate and varied training to all levels and age groups in the club, Freiburg relies on the most common training concepts - from “Talentinos“ to “Tennis Xpress“. However, the coaching team realized early on that the expectations towards the tennis offer go beyond this. In an open dialogue with the members, they analyzed the individual needs and designed a wide-ranging course program meeting every player's needs.

With “Newcomer Tennis“, for example, newcomers get a mixture of practice sessions and free play, accompanied by professional instructions. “After-work tennis“, on the other hand, focuses on free play after work, including technique and tactics tips from the coach. With “Senior Tennis“, special doubles offers were created for older players in a sociable atmosphere. Students get their (reduced) money's worth at “Student Tennis“. And those who want to combine tennis and an intensive workout are in good hands at “Cardio-Tennis“.

Every week, a training plan is designed by one of the head coaches for the different target groups, whose sessions are based on each other and can be carried out by any coach. “Thanks to the differentiated training focus and more homogeneous group constellations, players feel much better supported,“ says Eva.

Drill setup at box

Using the opportunities of technology purposefully.

Of course, the infrastructure also had to be able to withstand the high-quality demands of the tennis program. In addition to renovation measures, money was therefore invested in modernizing the training infrastructure.

“We always want to be “state of the art“ in terms of training methodology and infrastructure and therefore always observe the latest developments on the market.”

Eva Birkle-Belbl (Head Coach, Freiburg Tennis Club)

In order to support players and coaches in their learning process in the best possible way, but also to create new offers, Freiburg relied on the use of technology. In Wingfield, they found a tool that met all requirements and is now used on all three indoor courts in practice and LK operations. “In kids' and junior program, we work a lot with video analysis and get fantastic feedback. Beginners in particular can correct their technique mistakes much better once they have seen them on video,“ says the head coach.

No doubt: In Freiburg, they work with great love for detail and high commitment to create positive experiences on the court and to promote the joy of tennis. “It motivates the players when Wingfield shows them how many shots they have played in a target zone during cardio tennis or how an improved technique affects their shot speed. Being able to challenge each other in practice creates a whole new dynamic and even more fun in junior and adult clinics. For us coaches, it became much easier to set small practice goals that provide additional moments of success for the players.“

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