Howard Chodak, USPTA Master Professional

The road to becoming a Master Professional is not an easy one, but for those of you who are so motivated, it can be an extremely rewarding and beneficial journey. It can be the culmination of a career well spent in service to the industry and our profession, or it can be used specifically as a tool to enhance one’s career and give you an advantage when going after your dream job. Whatever your reasons are for wanting to become a Master Pro, it will take years of planning and accomplishment to make it happen, so you should start as soon as possible. The complete requirements can be found on the USPTA website under the certification tab.

On a recent conference call with over 40 Master Professionals, I was extremely humbled to see the names of the people on that call. It was an impressive list of many of the most accomplished and well-respected leaders in our field. I think if we spoke to each one of them, they would say it was almost a calling that made them take the necessary steps to achieve this rating, and I’m sure all of them would say that it was one of the proudest accomplishments of their careers and an important milestone in their lives. Let’s hear from a few in their own words:

“In 1994, I was honored with the USPTA Master Professional certification. It has been a very satisfying career achievement. And, for me personally, having the honor of being evaluated and approved by one of the most dedicated of all tennis professionals, the late (and still great) George Bacso, has been and continues to be icing on the cake!” Joe Dinoffer, USPTA Master Professional – President and Founder, Oncourt Offcourt Ltd

“My Master Professional designation has always been something I’ve been very proud to have achieved. More importantly, I think it’s an achievement that is respected by my fellow professionals and recognized by club managers. As a search consultant and career coach for tennis professionals, I strongly encourage every professional to become the very best they can be, and to do everything possible to stand out and differentiate themselves in the eyes of a club manager or search committee. USPTA Master Professional is a designation that is very highly regarded by the club managers and search committees that I work with when considering who to interview for their open positions.” Mark McMahon, USPTA Master Professional – Tennis Professional Career Coach and Search Consultant, McMahon & Associates

“As a USPTA Master Professional, I wear the badge with honor. To me, it is a unique professional distinction that recognizes years of accomplishments and contributions to our game, profession and industry.” Steve Contardi, USPTA Master Professional – Operating Partner, The Club at Harper’s Point

 “Becoming a USPTA Master Professional was a great honor for me. There is no question it has helped my career with job applications and tennis industry involvement. Although the process was a comprehensive one, it was absolutely worthwhile documenting each requirement and procedure. You don’t realize how much you do in the industry until you attempt to record your activities and contributions. If you are a career tennis professional, I recommend each USPTA Elite Professional spend the time and energy to achieve USPTA Master Professional designation!” Tom Daglis, USPTA Master Professional – Executive Director, Rome Tennis Center at Berry College

“When I was a young P-1, I looked at some older Master Pros and thought, mistakenly, that I was already that good. So, I looked into the requirements for Master Pro. Wow! That was an eye opener. The process of fulfilling the requirements became a distant dream. Then, little by little, habits formed and humility developed from the realization that tons of actual service to the tennis community, not knowledge or playing experience, was the key. The process of becoming a Master Pro forced me to try to be more unselfish and more productive. I still look up to the Master Pros around me who have contributed so much to the game.” James Shaughnessy, USPTA Master Professional – Director of 3D Motion Analysis and Computerized Exercise Systems at Tucker Tennis Academy, USTA Regional Training Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma

“I am 100 percent certain that being a Master Professional gave me the edge in getting my current dream job, at Bonita Bay Club. How do I know? My boss told me it was a major factor in his decision. In addition, I am thrilled to be a part of this group of professionals, most of them are my tennis professional heroes. They are people I look up to and admire. It never fails, when new Master Professionals are certified, they are the professionals and people from whom I most learn from. That is a huge statement as we have so many qualified USPTA professionals. I have been humbled to learn from so many. But… the MP has an extra amount of fortitude and grit. They are a talented and grateful bunch!” Paula Scheb, USPTA Master Professional – Director of Sports, Bonita Bay Club

“Becoming a Master Professional is truly a career highlight. We are in a time where our sport needs to see bright and talented individuals come to the forefront. This distinction establishes you as a leader in the tennis industry; a trait that employers seek most. If you’re looking to master your craft while opening doors in parallel fields and bolster your personal brand in an ever-changing industry, the Master Professional process is a worthwhile journey.” Len Simard, USPTA Master Professional – General Manager, New Canaan Racquet Club

 “Tim Heckler was constantly on me to become a USPTA Master Professional. I would always tell him that it was too much trouble and that I didn’t need that moniker to get a better job. Tim said that the Master Pro designation wasn’t something that would guarantee anyone a better job, but it was affirmation that one had contributed to the betterment of the game and the tennis industry. One who not only profits from the profession we all love, but who gives back to the game that has given so much to us. In his mind that was what it meant to be a true Master Professional.” Ron Woods, USPTA Master Professional – Former Director of Tennis, Corpus Christi Country Club

Becoming a Master Professional is not for everyone, but it is a journey well worth taking for those who are motivated to do so. If you have questions about the process or would like to be put in touch with a Master Pro mentor who can help guide you through the process, please contact Mark Centrella - Chairperson of the Master Pro committee at*

About Howard Chodak
Howard Chodak is a USPTA Master Professional with 40 years of experience. He has served as both a USPTA tester and a Vice President on the USPTA Florida Board and is the author of The Seven Deadly Sins of Doubles, a primer on recreational doubles play. From 2014 – 2017 he was the director of tennis development for Special Olympics Florida where he transformed competitions throughout the state by introducing red, orange and green balls as well as new formats to allow many more athletes the opportunity to compete.