If you have been following my messaging over the last year, you are well aware of the changes that the USPTA will be undergoing as a part of our new accredited status from the USTA. In case you may have missed it, here is what you need to know. Commencing on Jan. 1, 2021:
To become a USPTA-certified tennis professional, new applicants will be required to accumulate 1,200 hours of hands-on learning/work experience (generally eight months to 12 months) at a club or facility under the watchful eye of an approved USPTA mentor. In addition, 300 hours of online and/or face-to-face education will be part of the new standards of the new certification pathway.
The credibility of our members and the safety of their students are paramount for the USPTA. For that reason, we are excited that every USPTA member in good standing will be Safe Play trained and complete a background screening every two years. This cost will be absorbed by the USTA. The tennis public can rest assured that USPTA professionals will be well-vetted and of the highest standards in order to ease the decision about who will coach their children.
The continuing education requirement will increase 25% from 12 hours to 15 hours for all USPTA members who are required to participate.
The USTA will be promoting these new higher standards to those who employ tennis professionals, so that these new higher standards mean something in the marketplace.
Without question, this is a paradigm shift for our Association. It is going to be a heavy lift to make sure that our entire membership and any new professionals entering our industry understand what will be taking place 12 months from now. As difficult as this will be, this initiative underscores our stated mission of “elevating the standards of tennis-teaching professionals and coaches” and will help tennis attract and retain more players.
As a part of the new certification pathway, I am pleased to announce an upgrade to the Recreational Coach membership category that will make it more attractive to those first-time professionals, high school/college players or part-time coaches who want to be a part of the new USPTA. Launching in 2020, the Recreational Coach category will become USPTA Instructor, which will be a new certified category that includes liability insurance for the same dues of $199.
This USPTA Instructor level will require applicants to have face-to-face training in the newly developed Teaching Essentials 1, a two-day workshop that focuses primarily on the all-important job of teaching entry level programs for beginning youth and adults. In addition, it will require approximately 16 hours of online learning that will include Coach Youth Tennis, plus Safe Play, CPR and AED training and a background screening. The remaining hours will be filled by other online courses that will be communicated once we are ready to go to market. More details on this category and the impact on Recreational Coach members will be coming soon.
In collaboration with the USTA, the Teaching Essentials 1 workshops are scheduled to start late in January so that interested professionals can attend.
These Teaching Essentials 1 sessions will be administered under the capable tutelage of Steve Keller and Craig Jones of the USTA, in addition to other USPTA coach developers. The feedback from the initial pilots held in 2019 has been phenomenal.
If there are any USPTA members who wish to host one of the TE 1 workshops, please reach out to me with your club information and potential dates so we can bake it into our planning. I cannot guarantee that your facility will be able to hold one of these workshops but we will do our best to make it work.
Finally, and because of the popular demand, we have extended the PTR equivalency for PTR members who wish to join the only fully accredited tennis teaching organization through August of 2021.
Over the course of the next 12 months, we will be highlighting the changes that are coming with the hope that no one will be caught unaware when 2021 rolls around. The USPTA is the clear-cut leader in education and we will be positively impacting how tennis is delivered in the USA. Let’s get after it! *