Latest news from Loughborough University

9 Jul 2015

Tennis parent education programme aims to help develop Britain’s next Wimbledon star

With the Wimbledon final just days away, the spotlight is once again on tennis and how Britain can produce future champions like grand slam winner Andy Murray.

However the pressure faced by parents trying to support rising tennis stars can be difficult to manage.

Murray’s mother, Judy, has spoken publically about how during her time as a parent on the British junior tennis scene she witnessed parents verbally and physically abusing their children and how it is not uncommon to see destructive and dysfunctional behaviour.

To try and support the families of young tennis players and tackle the growing problem of pushy and overinvolved parents, academics at Loughborough University are developing a new education programme.

The new course will focus on the needs of tennis parents with children aged from five to 10 years and is aimed at improving their knowledge, competence and skills in managing and enjoying the tennis journey with their child. It is being developed by Loughborough academics Dr Chris Harwood, Dr Chris Spray and Sam Thrower from the School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences.

Sam, who is conducting the research as part of his PhD, explains: “Giving parents the knowledge and skills they need to be able to positively influence their child's enjoyment, long-term participation and development within tennis is essential if we want to create the next Wimbledon champion.

“Despite research highlighting the complex and challenging nature of parenting within the British tennis system, parents still receive little or no education about how to help their child’s development in increasingly professionalised youth sport environments.”

The education programme includes eight face-to-face workshops which provide parents with all the information needed to support their child’s journey, navigate the Lawn Tennis Association's organisational system, make informed decisions about their child's talent development pathway and fulfil their roles before, during and after competitions.

The research team are also exploring the most effective way to deliver these workshops and are currently evaluating the effectiveness of an online educational resource. The online resource has been designed to be used on laptops, tablets and smart phones and represents a free, modern, flexible and convenient approach to tennis parent education. 

To find out more about the project please contact You can also follow the programme on twitter @LTPEP. 


Notes for editors

Article reference number: PR 15/133

Loughborough is one of the country’s leading universities, with an international reputation for research that matters, excellence in teaching, strong links with industry, and unrivalled achievement in sport and its underpinning academic disciplines.

It has been awarded five stars in the independent QS Stars university rating scheme, putting it among the best universities in the world, and was named University of the Year in the What Uni Student Choice Awards 2015. Loughborough is consistently ranked in the top twenty of UK universities in the Times Higher Education’s ‘table of tables’ and is in the top 10 in England for research intensity. It was 2nd in the 2015 THE Student Experience Survey and was named Sports University of the Year 2013-14 by The Times and Sunday Times. In recognition of its contribution to the sector, Loughborough has been awarded seven Queen's Anniversary Prizes.

In 2015 the University will open an additional academic campus in London’s new innovation quarter. Loughborough University London, based on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, will offer postgraduate and executive-level education, as well as research and enterprise opportunities.

Contact for all media enquiries

Judy Wing

PR Manager
Loughborough University
T: 01509 228697