Ramping Up 2020

John R. Embree, USPTA CEO

This is such an exciting time at the USPTA; 2020 is going to be a great year. It’s our second year of full accreditation from the USTA, so the time has arrived when we can truly state that we are elevating the standards of tennis-teaching professionals and coaches.

But to truly appreciate the magnitude of what is to come, let’s take a moment to appreciate all we did in 2019 to get to this point.

Membership grew by 10 percent in 2019, thanks in part to an increase in both the quantity and quality of our testing. Returning members have also increased to the point where we have surpassed membership totals from 2017. But our growth extends far beyond membership.

In 2019, Association revenues outpaced expenses, yielding an operating surplus for the seventh year in a row! A strong stock market also helped the USPTA investment account grow by 10 percent, strengthening our reserves.

We also partnered with the IPTPA to offer certification in pickleball, which is growing rapidly at clubs and facilities throughout the country. We certified more than 350 professionals and we anticipate surpassing that number next year.

Have you seen us on social media? Look out for the Tuesday Quick Tip presented by National Head Tester Sid Newcomb. I’ve also enjoyed reading the weekly member profiles published by our Communications team; our members have some incredible stories.

The 2019 World Conference in Las Vegas was a huge success with over 1,000 attendees. Eight-time Grand Slam champion Andre Agassi headlined a slate of over 40 educational sessions, including a full day dedicated to female speakers. We presented 18 national awards, introduced five new Master Professionals and inducted two legends, Stanford coaches Dick Gould and Frank Brennan, Jr., into the USPTA Hall of Fame.

We’ve gotten great feedback on the continuing education opportunities offered in 2019, both at the World Conference and at our two Leadership Academies in Lake Nona. More than 40 members attended those workshops, which emphasize off-court skills to help teaching professionals become better industry leaders. We will communicate details on this year’s workshop in the coming weeks.

I’m very proud of the Association’s success in 2019, but now it’s time to look ahead.

Feisal Hassan began his term as USPTA President last month and Jason Gilbert and Lane Evans joined the National Board of Directors. We had a very productive meeting with the new Board here in January and our committees and task forces are ready to hit the ground running.

I want to take a moment to thank Gary Trost for his leadership as President these last two years, and to Chuck Gill and Cari Buck for their service on the previous Board. Like those who served our Association before them, we are stronger now because of their vision, commitment and leadership.

We are thrilled to unveil a new certified membership category – USPTA Instructor – that has replaced the Recreational Coach category. The new USPTA Instructor category is designed to offer a pathway into a career in coaching for high school and college players, part-time coaches and other tennis enthusiasts. Check out my article on page 56 of this issue of ADDvantage Magazine for more information.

I’m really looking forward to this year’s World Conference in September. We’ll be at the Hilton New Orleans Riverside where we had a fantastic conference in 2015. After last year’s success in Las Vegas, this is an event you do not want to miss.

Lastly, I want to reiterate that I am always available to speak with you. I welcome our members’ input, and I’m grateful for your positive contributions to our Association.

We have a lot to be proud of, but there is so much left to do. As we continue through 2020, make sure you’re earning your continuing education credits. Improve as a professional every day. We will all be better for it!

CEO John Embree speaks to the USPTA Executive Committee at the 2019 World Conference