The PLAY TENNIS AS ONE project (further on called AS ONE) has set the overall objective to use the beautiful tennis sport as a tool for successful integration of disadvantaged children and young people at risk of social exclusion, living in remote or rural communities, and girls in general. Researchers have long noted that “boys don't have as much of a barrier, mentally and physically, they grow differently. Girls struggle to have the same momentum once they hit puberty” – with special emphasis here on “the effects of periods and contraceptive pills.”

The partners believe that for an actual inclusion of disadvantaged groups to happen, it is first needed to address the barriers that are causing exclusion of these groups. Hence via the AS ONE project we envision tackling the following barriers:


A/ Set-up mini-tennis courts in remote areas in the countryside and run FREE Open Demonstrations which would otherwise not be available for children living in those places;

B/ Transport children to the tennis club`s courts by school busses or arranged transportation in partnership with the local municipality.


A/ Training national and international teachers, coaches and sport mentors to empathize with the actual hardships of the beneficiaries, to become their allies and guide children to mobilize their inner resources and last, but not least - to assist the Mentors in addressing their very own bias and prejudices towards the target group;

B/ Using potent MENTORSHIP program to fortify the emotional resilience, psychological safety and wellbeing, integration, and gradual social inclusion of underprivileged children into the larger Sport community and society.

As a result of our project activities sustainable regional development will be boosted. Implementation of partners` skills and expert knowledge will stimulate cross-border, inter-sectoral cooperation and build a transnational network for promotion and sustainability of project results. The last decade has demonstrated an increase in the number of non-governmental organizations and government agencies pursuing the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals to improve the social life of disadvantaged communities. Especially in non-homogenous societies, projects for the development of small communities through Sport are very welcome and increase in number. In an effort to fill the gap of active initiatives, real psychological care and enough equal opportunities for young people from remote and geographically disadvantaged areas, the project partners have crystalized a clear vision on what could be their contribution for establishing small, but cohesive Sports communities via memorable sporting events and programs.


❖ Rural areas kindergartens and schools;

❖ Regional Psychological associations for children from disadvantaged groups or in risk.

All the 3 international partners in Austria, Bulgaria, and Germany plan to establish an active ongoing collaboration with those organizations:

tennis-ball-icon They will organise working meetings (2 focus groups per country with parents from parental boards in remote area schools, physical education teachers, social workers, municipality representatives) to understand more holistically the current needs and pressing issues that the target group is facing in the specific remote region.

tennis-ball-icon Based on the needs identified the partners will build the message to the children and their parents - Tennis is accessible for all, it is coming for you.

tennis-ball-icon Social media campaign for attracting children, GDPR compliant. According to Tennis Europe, “the persons playing tennis on our continent exceed 100 million.” It is believed that the health benefits of practicing Tennis are numerous - it develops agility and quick reactions, loads all muscle groups, helps burn calories, improves coordination and functioning of the respiratory and cardiovascular systems; strengthens mental stability, develops patience, improves concentration and intellect, fortifies imagination and tactical thinking, relieves stress, anger and tension. The partners believe that extracurricular physical activity can be significantly promoted, as school Sports facilities after school hours in all partner countries. Furthermore, the partnering Tennis clubs have already developed good local partnerships with educational institutions in the remote regions. All the 3 international partners in Austria, Bulgaria, and Germany plan to establish an active ongoing collaboration with those organizations:

tennis-ball-icon They will organise working meetings (2 focus groups per country with parents from parental boards in remote area schools, physical education teachers, social workers, municipality representatives) to understand more holistically the current needs and pressing issues that the target group is facing in the specific remote region.

As a tennis trainer running a program for children in rural areas and underprivileged communities, it is important to first understand the needs of the local community and how sports can contribute to their development. Here are some steps to consider for analyzing the needs of the community and selecting a strategy to reach, socialize, and develop children through sports:

Needs analysis of children and the selection of a strategy to reach, socialize, and develop them through sport involves understanding the specific requirements and challenges of the children in question and designing a program that addresses their needs effectively. Here are some key considerations in this process:

1. Assessing individual needs:

Conduct individual assessments to identify the unique needs, abilities, and interests of each child. This can include evaluating their physical fitness levels, skill levels, motivation, and any specific challenges they may face.

tennis-ball-icon Conduct fitness assessments: Evaluate the children's current fitness levels, including their cardiovascular endurance, strength, flexibility, and coordination. This helps determine their baseline fitness and identifies areas for improvement.

tennis-ball-icon Skill assessments: Assess the children's current skill levels in the chosen sport or sports. This includes evaluating their technical abilities, tactical understanding, and game sense.

tennis-ball-icon Motivation and interest assessment: Understand each child's level of motivation and interest in participating in sports. Identify their preferred sports, activities, or areas they wish to improve in.

tennis-ball-icon Identifying challenges: Identify any specific challenges or limitations that the children may have, such as physical disabilities, health conditions, or socio-economic constraints. This information helps in developing appropriate strategies and accommodations.

2. Understanding social needs:

Recognize that children have social needs as well. Consider their desire for interaction, friendship, and a sense of belonging. Assess the level of socialization they currently have and identify any barriers to their participation in group activities.

tennis-ball-icon Social interaction assessment: Assess the children's social skills and their comfort level in group settings. Identify any shyness, social anxiety, or difficulties in making friends and collaborating with teammates.

tennis-ball-icon Belongingness and inclusivity: Understand the children's need for a sense of belonging and acceptance within the sports program. Create an inclusive environment where all children feel welcome, valued, and respected.

tennis-ball-icon Community engagement: Consider the children's opportunities for socializing beyond the sports program, such as involvement in local community activities or events. Encourage connections with peers and mentors outside of the sports context.

3. Identifying developmental objectives:

Determine the developmental goals you want to achieve through sport participation. These may include physical development (e.g., improving coordination, strength, and agility), emotional development (e.g., building self-esteem, confidence, and resilience), and social development (e.g., teamwork, cooperation, and communication skills).

tennis-ball-icon Physical development: Set specific physical goals based on the children's age and abilities. This may include improving strength, endurance, coordination, speed, or agility.

tennis-ball-icon Emotional development: Consider the emotional well-being of the children and set goals to enhance their self-esteem, confidence, resilience, and ability to handle success and failure in a positive manner.

tennis-ball-icon Social development: Establish objectives to foster teamwork, communication, leadership, and sportsmanship among the children. Encourage cooperation, respect, and empathy towards teammates and opponents.

4. Tailoring the program:

Based on the needs analysis, design a program that addresses the identified needs and aligns with the developmental objectives. This includes selecting appropriate sports activities, training methods, and progressions that cater to the abilities and interests of the children.

tennis-ball-icon Select appropriate sports activities: Choose sports or activities that align with the children's interests, abilities, and available resources. Consider offering a variety of options to cater to diverse preferences.

tennis-ball-icon Adaptation and progression: Design the program to accommodate the children's skill levels and gradually introduce more challenging exercises or game situations. Provide modifications or adaptations to ensure inclusion and success for all participants.

5. Inclusive approach:

Ensure that the selection strategy and program design are inclusive and accessible to children of all backgrounds, abilities, and socio-economic statuses. Consider factors such as gender, age, cultural diversity, and any specific accommodations required for children with disabilities or limitations.

tennis-ball-icon Gender and cultural diversity: Ensure gender equity and promote diversity by creating a welcoming environment for children of all genders and cultural backgrounds.

tennis-ball-icon Accessibility: Consider the needs of children with disabilities or limitations. Make necessary adaptations, such as modifying equipment, providing appropriate facilities, or offering specialized coaching support.

tennis-ball-icon Socio-economic considerations: Address financial barriers by offering affordable or free participation options, providing equipment and resources, or partnering with local organizations for sponsorship opportunities.

6. Creating a supportive environment:

Establish a positive and supportive environment where children feel safe, respected, and valued. Encourage open communication, positive reinforcement, and the development of teamwork and sportsmanship.

tennis-ball-icon Positive coaching and mentoring: Train coaches and mentors to provide constructive feedback, positive reinforcement, and emotional support to the children. Encourage the development of a trusting and caring coach-athlete relationship.

tennis-ball-icon Team building and sportsmanship: Promote teamwork, collaboration, and respect for teammates, opponents, officials, and the rules of the game. Encourage fair play, good sportsmanship, and positive interactions among participants.

7. Monitoring and adapting:

Continuously monitor the progress and development of each child throughout the program. Regularly reassess their needs and make adjustments as necessary to ensure their continued growth and engagement.

tennis-ball-icon Regular assessments: Continuously monitor the progress and development of each child through ongoing evaluations and feedback. Track their improvements in physical skills, social interactions, and emotional well-being.

tennis-ball-icon Individualized support: Offer individualized attention and support to address specific needs or challenges that arise during the program. This can include providing extra coaching, modifying activities to suit individual abilities, or offering additional resources or guidance.

tennis-ball-icon Regular communication: Maintain open lines of communication with the children, their parents or guardians, and other stakeholders involved in the program. Regularly seek feedback and suggestions to ensure the program meets their evolving needs and expectations.

tennis-ball-icon Program evaluation: Conduct periodic evaluations of the program's effectiveness and impact. Assess whether the established objectives are being met and identify areas for improvement or modification.

tennis-ball-icon Flexibility and adaptability: Remain flexible and adaptable in program delivery to accommodate any changes or emerging needs. Adjust the program activities, coaching techniques, or resources as required to optimize the children's experience and development.

tennis-ball-icon Continuous professional development: Provide ongoing training and professional development opportunities for coaches and mentors to enhance their skills in working with children from diverse backgrounds. Stay informed about the latest research, methodologies, and best practices in child development and sports coaching.

By implementing a robust monitoring and adaptation process, the program can ensure that the needs of the children are continually met, and their development is maximized. It allows for a dynamic and responsive approach that addresses individual challenges, fosters growth, and creates a positive and impactful experience for all participating children.


Sport can be a powerful tool for socialization and integration of disadvantaged children and youth. Here are some reasons why:

tennis-ball-icon Breaking down barriers: Sport can bring together children and youth from diverse backgrounds and create a shared sense of purpose and identity. It provides a safe space for children to interact and connect with others who may be different from them, which can help break down barriers and reduce stereotypes.

tennis-ball-icon Promoting teamwork and cooperation: Sports require teamwork and cooperation to be successful. This can help children develop important social skills, such as communication, collaboration, and conflict resolution. These skills are essential for building positive relationships and navigating social situations.

tennis-ball-icon Building self-esteem and confidence: Participating in sports can help children develop a sense of accomplishment and pride in their abilities. This can lead to increased self-esteem and confidence, which can have a positive impact on other areas of their lives.

tennis-ball-icon Providing positive role models: Coaches and mentors can serve as positive role models for children and youth. They can provide guidance, support, and encouragement, which can help children develop a sense of purpose and direction.

tennis-ball-icon Fostering a sense of belonging: Sports can provide children with a sense of belonging to a community. This can be particularly important for disadvantaged children who may feel isolated or disconnected from their peers.

tennis-ball-icon Promoting physical and mental health: Sports can promote physical health and fitness, which is important for overall well-being. It can also promote mental health by providing an outlet for stress and anxiety and promoting positive feelings and emotions.

Overall, sports can be a powerful tool for socialization and integration of disadvantaged children and youth. By providing opportunities for children to participate in sports, coaches and mentors can help them develop important social skills, build self-esteem and confidence, and foster a sense of belonging to a community.

Program specific objectives:

Based on the objectives outlined, it seems that the program is aimed at providing emotional support and guidance to disadvantaged children and youth, as well as preparing sports coaches and mentors to work with this population. Additionally, the program seeks to ignite an interest in tennis among children, provide a brief tennis program that can be applied both on and off the court, and foster coaches as change agents for disadvantaged children and youth. Finally, the program aims to develop coaches' soft skills and awareness in working with vulnerable groups.

To achieve these objectives, the program include the following components:

1. Emotional Support and Guidance:

tennis-ball-icon Individual counseling sessions for participants to address emotional needs and provide guidance.

tennis-ball-icon Group workshops and activities focusing on self-esteem, resilience, and coping skills.

tennis-ball-icon Mentoring programs where participants are paired with trained mentors who provide ongoing support and guidance.

2. Coach and Mentor Training:

tennis-ball-icon Training sessions for sports coaches and mentors on effective communication, understanding the needs of disadvantaged children, and creating inclusive environments.

tennis-ball-icon Workshops on mentorship techniques, building positive relationships, and fostering personal growth in participants.

Coaches and mentors can become change agents for disadvantaged children and youth by providing support, guidance, and positive reinforcement. Coaches and mentors can also advocate for resources and opportunities for sports participation for disadvantaged children and youth in their communities.

3. Tennis Program:

tennis-ball-icon Basic tennis training sessions tailored to the skill level and age of the participants.

tennis-ball-icon Development of a curriculum that combines tennis skills development with important life skills such as discipline, teamwork, and goal-setting.

tennis-ball-icon Organizing friendly matches and tournaments to provide opportunities for participants to apply their tennis skills and experience healthy competition.

Technical details of the program:

Over a period of 6 months, the focus will be on developing coordination and balance in children's motor skills, as well as mastering the technical aspects of different tennis strokes. This will include learning the proper technique for forehand and backhand shots (the two primary strokes), volleys and drive volleys from the air, as well as overhead serves and smashes.

Through a combination of hand and basket drills, as well as practice sessions among the children, the coaches will strive to improve the overall tennis technique. The exercises will begin at the red level during the first two months, using larger and slower red balls. This allows the children enough time to prepare for each shot and ensures that they do not compromise or alter the correct technique.

The second stage of the training will transition to the orange level, with slightly faster balls, and the exercises will be conducted on a 2/3-sized court.

The final two months will progress to the green level, using a ball with a green dot. This is the last stage before the children start playing with a regular ball. The exercises will be performed on a full-sized court. The tennis program spans a period of 6 months, progressing through the three types of balls, with each level lasting 2 months.


❖ Introduction and Orientation

tennis-ball-icon Provide an overview of the training program and its objectives.

tennis-ball-icon Emphasize the importance of effective communication, empathy, and active listening in working with disadvantaged children and youth.

tennis-ball-icon Discuss the role of coaches and mentors as positive influences and role models.

❖ Understanding the Needs of Disadvantaged Children and Youth

tennis-ball-icon Explore the specific challenges and circumstances faced by disadvantaged children and youth.

tennis-ball-icon Discuss the potential impact of these challenges on their communication and social skills.

tennis-ball-icon Highlight the role of coaches and mentors in providing support and guidance.

❖ Communication Skills for Coaches and Mentors

tennis-ball-icon Explain the principles of effective communication, including clarity, active listening, and non-verbal communication.

tennis-ball-icon Provide techniques and strategies for clear and concise communication with children and youth.

tennis-ball-icon Discuss the importance of adapting communication styles to meet the needs and preferences of individual children.

❖ Developing Empathy and Building Relationships

tennis-ball-icon Define empathy and its role in building strong relationships with children.

tennis-ball-icon Explore techniques for developing empathy, such as perspective taking and active engagement.

tennis-ball-icon Discuss the significance of building trust and rapport with disadvantaged children and youth.

❖ Active Listening and Feedback

tennis-ball-icon Explain the concept of active listening and its impact on effective communication.

tennis-ball-icon Provide practical exercises and role-playing activities to enhance active listening skills.

tennis-ball-icon Discuss the importance of providing constructive feedback and praise to support the development of children.

❖ Cultural Sensitivity and Inclusivity

tennis-ball-icon Promote cultural sensitivity and inclusivity in coaching and mentoring practices.

tennis-ball-icon Explore cultural differences and their impact on communication and understanding.

tennis-ball-icon Discuss strategies for creating an inclusive and respectful environment for children from diverse backgrounds.

❖ Problem-Solving and Conflict Resolution

tennis-ball-icon Equip coaches and mentors with problem-solving skills to address conflicts and challenges that may arise.

tennis-ball-icon Provide techniques for conflict resolution and mediation.

tennis-ball-icon Encourage a proactive and solution-oriented approach to handling difficulties.

❖ Self-Care and Well-being

tennis-ball-icon Emphasize the importance of self-care for coaches and mentors.

tennis-ball-icon Provide strategies for managing stress and maintaining a healthy work-life balance.

tennis-ball-icon Discuss resources and support systems available for coaches and mentors.

❖ Practical Application and Reflection

tennis-ball-icon Engage participants in hands-on activities and case studies to apply the learned concepts and skills.

tennis-ball-icon Encourage reflection on personal experiences and challenges.

tennis-ball-icon Provide opportunities for feedback and open discussions to share insights and best practices.

❖ Program Evaluation and Follow-up

tennis-ball-icon Conduct evaluations to assess the effectiveness of the training program.

tennis-ball-icon Collect feedback from coaches and mentors to identify areas for improvement.

tennis-ball-icon Establish a follow-up plan to provide ongoing support, resources, and additional training opportunities.

Coaches as Change Agents:

tennis-ball-icon Empowering coaches to become advocates for disadvantaged children and youth, promoting inclusivity and social integration through sports.

tennis-ball-icon Encouraging coaches to create a supportive and nurturing environment that fosters personal growth and positive development among participants.

tennis-ball-icon Providing resources and tools for coaches to engage with parents, schools, and communities in advocating for the well-being and opportunities of disadvantaged children and youth.

5. Soft Skills and Awareness Development:

tennis-ball-icon Workshops and training sessions focusing on developing coaches' soft skills, such as active listening, empathy, and conflict resolution.

tennis-ball-icon Increasing coaches' awareness of social issues and challenges faced by disadvantaged children and youth.

tennis-ball-icon Promoting cultural sensitivity and understanding to create an inclusive and respectful coaching environment.

Each component of the program is designed to work synergistically to support the emotional well-being, skill development, and social integration of disadvantaged children and youth through sports.


In rural areas, it may be challenging to find available and suitable spaces to build tennis courts or training facilities, especially if the community lacks the necessary funding and resources. In underprivileged communities, access to tennis equipment and facilities may also be limited due to financial constraints or lack of investment in sports infrastructure.

Making it difficult to provide high-quality coaching and training to children who are interested in the sport. This lack of infrastructure can limit the opportunities for children in these areas to participate in tennis and may contribute to a lack of interest or motivation to engage in sports activities.

To address the lack of infrastructure, the tennis program may need to explore alternative options such as using public parks, community centers, or other available spaces for tennis training.

The program may also need to consider partnering with local organizations, tennis clubs, or schools to access tennis equipment and facilities. Additionally, the program may need to provide training and development opportunities for local coaches and mentors to improve their coaching skills and to ensure that they are equipped to work with disadvantaged children and youth. By addressing the lack of infrastructure, the tennis program can provide a more accessible and inclusive environment for children to learn and participate in tennis.

In the context of a tennis program for children in rural areas and underprivileged communities, lack of specialists to work with children with limited opportunities may refer to a shortage of trained professionals who are equipped to work with children who may have limited access to resources, come from disadvantaged backgrounds, or have physical or cognitive disabilities.

Working with children with limited opportunities requires specialized training, expertise, and an understanding of the unique challenges that these children may face. Specialists who are trained to work with disadvantaged children and youth may have expertise in areas such as child development, psychology, special education, or social work. They may also have experience in working with children who have experienced trauma, poverty, or other adverse life events.

The lack of specialists in these areas can make it challenging to provide high-quality support, guidance, and coaching to children who are interested in sports activities. It can also limit the opportunities for children in these areas to develop their skills, improve their physical fitness, and benefit from the many positive outcomes associated with sports participation.

To address the lack of specialists, the tennis program may need to consider partnering with local organizations, universities, or training centers to provide specialized training and development opportunities for coaches and mentors. The program may also need to recruit and hire specialists who have experience working with disadvantaged children and youth or who have expertise in areas such as child development, psychology, or special education.

By investing in the development of specialists, the tennis program can provide a more inclusive and supportive environment for children with limited opportunities to participate in tennis. This can help to promote socialization, integration, and emotional wellbeing for children in rural areas and underprivileged communities.