This programme was established to help a specific sport to develop a national coaching structure. It provides funding to National Olympic Committees (NOCs) to enable their National Associations to employ an experienced foreign coach for a specific period of time to help them set up or reinforce the whole national structure of a particular sport.
At the same time, it should allow persons at national level to acquire sufficient knowledge to be able to pursue this development on a long-term basis. It is important that NOCs, in liaison with their national associations, examine the current situation and develop an action plan to address weaknesses detected in certain areas.
The ITF’s role is to assist in the selection of the foreign expert and offer technical support throughout the project. This expert would then work with the national association to establish a coherent and realistic long-term development plan, as well as training local coaches and establishing effective elite and grass roots programmes at national level.
One of the best examples of this collaboration has been in China, where thanks to Olympic Solidarity funding through this programme, the ITF appointed Doug MacCurdy to work for a two year period (from May 2005 to June 2007) with the Chinese Tennis Association (CTA) to establish player development programmes ahead of the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.
The CTA had asked for a person to guide their coaches and young players, but more importantly, to evaluate, advise, and implement enhanced programmes in the areas of talent identification, training methods, coaches’ education, competitive structure and systematic development.
Due to the success of this jointly funded project, Doug MacCurdy has subsequently assisted the All India Tennis Association and the Lawn Tennis Association of Thailand with a similar programme, focusing on coach education and high performance training.
From 2009 to 2011, Olympic Solidarity has helped nine nations on five continents put into place their own national coaching structure.