Overall tennis participation is based on one or more of the following: Recreational, Adult Club Development, Junior Club Development (12 and under, 14 and under, 16 and under, 18 and under), Tennis 10s,School Tennis Initiative programmes and Wheelchair Tennis programmes.
The Coaches Advisory Committee (CAC) estimates that as at December 2017 Barbados boasted approximately 765 players across 11 clubs/programmes, over 68% of whom are juniors, based on club statistics only. As at 2016 there were 263 members of the BTA (excluding Clubs) of which 176 were adults, including honorary members and parents who are members of the BTA but not themselves tennis players within a particular club.
A cursory review of the Census statistics of the Barbados Statistical Service (BSS) indicates that as at 2010 approximately 73, 627 of the estimated resident population (277, 821) were under the age of 20 years old. Of these, 37,405 were between the ages of 5 and 14 years of age – the typical target for junior tennis.
With only 526 junior tennis players, out of possible pool of 37,405 children in Barbados between the age of 5 and 14 years old, tennis in Barbados has a lot of growth potential, as does the BTA membership, which accounted for 87 related to junior tennis players .
For tennis to survive in Barbados there is a critical need to increase the percentage of this group in the sport. The larger the percentage, the greater the number of recreational and competitive tennis players that flow through the various tennis clubs of Barbados. This approach, also known as “widening the base”, will help to deepen the prospects for national representation at the competitive level.
The Tennis Incubator of Barbados
The BTA’s School Tennis Initiative (STI) and the School Adoption Programme (SAP) are existing avenues and though heavily subsidised or free initially, in time a portion of this pool will flow as tennis potentials into the BTA Performance Tennis Initiative (PTI), Tennis10s programmes of the various other clubs as well as private coaching of individuals. These collectively represent Barbados’ tennis incubator from which the high performance hopefuls will emerge and translation into the high performance programmes available. These programmes thus become the source of national players for Barbados.