Over 600 tennis coaches from a record 113 countries attended the 2019 ITF Worldwide Coaches Conference presented by BNP Paribas in Bangkok, Thailand, in October.

Among the coaches in attendance was Nigeria’s Sebiomo Sunday Michael, who said his desire for development and also a need to upgrade his coaching skill was what attracted him to the Worldwide Coaches Conference.

“l attended the 21st ITF worldwide coaches conference in Bangkok, Thailand to learn new development, techniques and tactics of the game and upgrade my coaching skills and meet coaches from all over the world,” Coach Michael said.

The Coaches Conference is the embodiment of ITF’s goal of growing the game worldwide. Coaches, development officers and experts in sport science and teaching gathered from all over the world.

Coach Michael, who has undergone different tennis coaching courses home and abroad, says the speakers at the conference as well as the networking amongst participants made the event enjoyable.

“I really enjoyed all the speakers that attended the conference because each of them taught crucial areas where to develop players from 10 and under to higher performance players, with significant drills and some offcourt message that’s needed to coaches around the world,” the Nigerian said.

“Secondly, I met a lot of coaches around the world especially during the dinner night, we all danced altogether and coaches from West African countries formed a group and exchanged contacts for better relationship in the tennis industry.”

Now in Nigeria, Michael stresses the importance of grassroot tennis, saying many potentials will be exposed if the Nigerian government puts in more effort in the development of the game.

“I will be very grateful if the Nigerian government can recognise sports like tennis, etc because the game of tennis is the most brilliant game so far in the world today because it has a lot of techniques, skills and physical ability; skills which other sports do not have,” Michael noted.

“If the Nigerian government introduces tennis and other sport games to schools from elementary schools to the higher institutions as a crucial subject or course which every student must engage in, two or three sport game in schools, with many facilities of different sport game in the each communities in the nation, then many potentials will be exposed and it will be easy to develop such potential player in every game.”

He also noted that if each state in the country can sponsor a tournament once a year, many players will come out to develop themselves and it will create more job opportunities for the country’s youth.