Articles, Blog

Craig Tiley – Buidling the system for development

February 8, 2020

Craig Tiley, Director of tennis for Tennis
Australia, as well as the tournament director for the Australian Open. We were very fragmented and uncoordinated
in our national approach on setting a standard. So we felt Tennis Australia’s role was to
come in and develop a strategy with consultation with the stakeholders, and then lay out nationally
what that strategy is going to be, and then take full responsibility for resourcing the
delivery of that strategy. It was very simple as we wanted to attract,
retain and develop coaches. And we want to attract, retain and develop officials. So for us it was about developing a strategy
with the stakeholders, notifying our, the national group on what that strategy is going
to be, putting a structure around it and now it’s a matter of it being delivered, being
delivered in local communities, being delivered in the states. We’ve taken full responsibility
for resourcing it and for developing the strategy. First thing that you have to have is a standard,
you have to have everyone understanding, that to become a great coach and to become a great
official, these are the things that I need to do. Then you have to have a pathway, that goes
with it, and the pathway is saying that I’m going to educate myself in this space and
it’s going to lead to this or it’s going to lead towards that, and ultimately as a official
or as a coach I can have a profession in the sport. And that’s an exciting thing if you can sell
the aspiration and promote the aspiration for the coach. Sometimes we forget that because our general
approach to coaching and officiating in communities has been down trodden, in tennis I’m talking
about, and their influence in the community has not been elevated enough. So our job nationally is to make sure we have
the standard, we have the pathway and then we go ahead with the coach with the official
and try to elevate their profile. We do that through great education programs,
through membership, so that’s enabling us to have direct communication with that base,
through engaging them, recognising the coaches and recognising the officials and engaging
them more, so wether that be the best coaches working with the under 12 year olds, or whether
it be coaches who want to form our introduction to tennis program, the hotshots program, so
those are really the things that we’ve focused on. Building relationships is one of the key things,
I mentioned earlier when I said that the critical part about getting something done is bringing
people along with you. In most cases it’s actually very hard because
everyone disagrees on how you are going to get there. So having great clarity on a strategy which
needs to be developed, then putting a structure with that strategy that’s going to be the
most effective structure on delivering it, and then it’s a matter of communication and
education. And that’s where you build the relationships. Constantly communicating with people and constantly
educating them, this is why you are doing this because it’s going to lead to that. It becomes a bit of a marketing and sales
exercise when you really start out building the relationships, really important to bring
people along with you and engage them, empower them to be part of the solution not part of
the problem, and that gets hard, because it’s very easy to take shots at someone or something
that’s out there making the decisions, but if you could be involved in some way or at
least be recognised in some way in being part of that decision, then you’re more likely
to go along with it. In most cases we find that does work but what
becomes extremely difficult is that if you wait too long to do things and you don’t respond
quick enough, don’t communicate enough then it’s going to fall down. To summarise you really need to start out
at the beginning, make sure you get that strategy done quickly, you get the structure done quickly,
and then you start to communicate and educate what mechanisms for delivery are going to
be, and then engage those on the ground to be part of it.

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