The USTA announced the creation of a tennis coaching accreditation program for organizations and institutions that certify U.S. tennis professionals. The program will begin in 2018.
The goal of the new accreditation program is to set mandatory standards for the development of those new to the profession and it will also include on-going coaching education for all certified pros who are members of accredited organizations. The concept for this program came about after the USTA conducted a world-wide review of standards for tennis coaching, and determined the U.S. needed to elevate its approach to certification and continuing education in order to maintain a high standard of coaching in this country.
“The USTA has developed a set of criteria and specific accreditation guidelines in this program with the aim of setting uniform standards for coaches and improving the level of instruction for tennis programs nationwide,” said Scott Schultz, Managing Director, USTA-U. “By aligning our efforts with those coaching associations willing to uphold the standards, we will work together to ensure a consistently high level of coaching which will directly support the developmental needs of all levels of players in our sport. We believe the end result will be better coaching across the board and a more engaged and enthused base of players of all ages throughout the country, who will be more likely to stick with the game and ensure its continued growth.”
The USTA will facilitate this initiative as a third-party evaluator, ensuring external accountability and helping to prevent conflicts of interest for organizations setting their own standards. Coaching associations will maintain responsibility for certifying individual tennis teaching professionals.
The accreditation process for coaching certification organizations will require a review by an independent five-person committee in which these organizations will have the opportunity to show that they meet current standards and public expectations in regard to training and safety.
Importantly, as part of the USTA requirements for certification, organizations must have their respective members pass the USTA’s “Safe Play” program, which includes educational components, adherence to policies designed to ensure a secure and safe environment for youth sports and a background check. What’s more, accredited institutions will work alongside the USTA to regularly evaluate and improve the level of coaching services and training provided to coaching professionals.
The USTA aims to increase both the quantity and quality of tennis coaching professionals throughout the United States. The accreditation program is supported by USTA-U, a division of the USTA that was developed to prepare the next generation of tennis providers including tennis professionals, coaches, and administrators.