Last month (in the CEO message), we introduced you to a new membership category that we are rolling out in early 2020 called USPTA Instructor. Comparable to our current Recreational Coach category, this new membership is intended to attract part-time professionals, high school or college players, seasonal professionals, or those who are thinking about becoming full-time certified professionals in the future. The USPTA Instructor will be the first step for aspiring career tennis teachers or for those who want to be involved in our game by giving back through part-time teaching.
The advantage that the USPTA Instructor will have over our present Recreational Coach designation is that it will be a certified classification that will also offer liability insurance. The beauty of this program is that we are making it available on an annual basis for only $199. But, to become a certified USPTA Instructor, there will be a significant requirement for additional education, which is a good thing.
First and foremost, anyone new to the USPTA who wishes to become a USPTA Instructor will be required to complete a 14-hour, face-to-face workshop called Teaching Essentials 1. These workshops will be held over two days (7 hours per day) and taught by subject matter experts that are USPTA members.
A combination of 16 hours of online education, in addition to the on-court workshop, will be required to attain the Instructor certification. The online content will include coachyouthtennis.com, Safe Play training, and a background screen, CPR/AED training, plus 3-4 hours of other online education that supports the face-to-face workshop and will be available shortly. Thus, the USPTA Instructor will have a total of 30 hours of targeted and refined education, making them much more prepared to deliver tennis than ever before.
Any current USPTA Rec Coaches who wish to convert to this category must complete the Safe Play training, be background screened (USTA will cover the cost), and attend one of the upcoming Teaching Essentials workshops. The current Rec Coach category will end at the end of 2020 as the new certification pathway begins in 2021. So, we strongly encourage Recreational Coaches to complete this process before the year ends. Yes, the Recreational Coach category that exists today will go away.
This new offering is a significant addition to our existing classification. The person who goes through the process to become a new USPTA Instructor will deliver entry-level programs for adults as well as juniors, which will help grow our game. The goal is to have a veritable army of professionals who will bring newfound expertise to clubs, parks and recreation facilities and schools. They will certainly be more educated than our existing force of part-time teachers.
Our stated mission at the USPTA is “to elevate the standards of tennis-teaching professionals and coaches.” The new USPTA Instructor will unquestionably support that mission.