Giving young people a voice in sport

Last updated: 18 Aug 2015 Topics: Involving children and young people Athlete wellbeing

We find out about the work, main projects and achievements of the British Tennis Youth Group as a good-practice example.

In 2013, the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) set up the British Tennis Youth Group. It was modelled on a number of National Governing Body (NGB) youth councils that proactively engage young people in organisational decision-making.

What the British Tennis Youth Group does

The BTYG meets four times a year; its members are 16 to 25 years old.

The group’s 4 main projects are:

    1. the student tennis conference 
    2. the youth legacy fund, which supports three projects in local areas that help girls get into sustainable tennis programmes
    3. supporting a national team (for example, one member supported the safeguarding team)
    4. supporting a local project, which often includes sitting on a local county committee

In 2015, Chair Harry Stow was co-opted to be an LTA councillor, representing the youth voice following a presentation on the Youth Group in 2014.

How it was created

Advertising and recruitment for the inaugural group took place in 2013. Of 144 applications, 60 were shortlisted for the selection day. The selection day included:

  • teamwork activities
  • interviews
  • presentations
  • panel debates

The final decision was made by both external and internal interviewers. However, for future recruitment and selections, the current youth group will lead this process.

Working for young people

Young athletes face huge levels of pressure – pressure to succeed; to be the optimum weight and fitness; to eat right; and to balance school, friends, family and tennis. Some athletes self-harm as a way to cope with the pressure.

The Youth Group worked with the LTA safeguarding team to develop training that puts a spotlight on this topic, which is often not discussed, and to support athletes to identify alternative ways of coping with pressure.

Further information

For more information about the British Tennis Youth Group, see the LTA’s Young volunteers page. 

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