Ngqwele Dube, Sports Correspondent
TWO Zimbabwean coaches last month completed the International Tennis Federation Level Two coaching course in South Africa as the country seeks to produce more competitive players.
Bulawayo-based Thesley Mufunda and Mutare-based Vincent Nyatoti were part of 24 coaches from Southern Africa who went through the 12-day course held at the High Performance Centre in Pretoria.
The course ran from 13 to 24 November and participants were from countries that include Botswana, Mozambique, South Africa, Swaziland, Malawi, Lesotho, Zimbabwe and Namibia.
Mufunda said the course was an eye-opener as it opened his eyes to the various aspects of the game that have been lacking at coaching sessions.
He said while it has become common knowledge in sport in general that psychology plays up to 60 percent in influencing the outcome of a match, local coaching sessions have continued to ignore this fact.
Mufunda said nutrition was another aspect which was not being given enough prominence despite its huge impact on the game.
“We learn that psychology has a 50 to 60 percent influence on the result of the match yet we still disregard it and most of our training sessions do not include this critical aspect. Going forward I will be adopting more of psychology during practice.
“It was discovered that coaches only train psychology once or twice a month yet it is an important aspect that should be part of the everyday training programme,” he said.
“If we want to see any talent excelling out there we need to start taking nutrition seriously. I discovered it plays a critical role in the development and performance of a player.”
The GC Tennis Academy coach said lack of tournaments was also affecting the performance of local players but without funds to host more competitions it would be difficult to change this aspect.
He said the expense of flying across Africa was also impacting negatively on developing players while in Europe, players can participate in more tournaments with lower transport costs because high number of competitions which allow players to use train and buses as transport.
“In Africa, one takes part in a tournament in Cape Town the next tournament would be in Egypt followed by another in Uganda so it would be difficult to keep the transport costs low,” he said.
Mufunda said he also took the time to network and exchange notes with coaches from other countries and is confident he will benefit a lot from the interactions.
ITF expert André de Beer was the lead tutor for the course and was assisted by South African tutors Pieter Joubert and Ghizela Enslin.