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The Tennis Business Discussion Forum Archive

[tennisbiz] Re: Development Systems

From: Ron Woods <>
Date: Tue 13 Dec 2005 17:47:57 -0600


In your reply to Larry you made a statement where you stated that mandatory
education is required by other tennis teaching organizations in the world
other than the United States.

The USPTA had mandatory education as part of its certification up until a
few years ago, but because of this we were losing memberships. There were
several reasons for this, but until the states or federal government require
certification to teach tennis requiring mandatory continuing education,
anybody can hang out their shingle and call themselves a tennis teaching
pro. So having mandatory education serves no purpose at this time in America
as it is not a requirement for business practices and in some cases
employment. Plus you should not have to force feed education. Those who
are aspiring to become better at their profession will become certified and
take advantage of continuing education.

The only thing mandatory is that the USTA requires that a person be
certified by one of the teaching organizations to participate in some of
their programs. Even this is somewhat off base as the two teaching
organizations in America are not equal in the benefits and venues they offer
their members in the area of continuing education. For example the PTR has
no divisional structure to offer continuing education to its membership and
the USPTA has 17 divisions that do this at varying levels of occurrence.

If a person wants to improve themselves they will and it is available in
America as you mentioned. The objective of the USPTA and its 17 Divisions
is to offer a full menu of educational opportunities and let the pro reap
and apply what they wish to grow their programs and improve student
development. As you well know, there is more than one way to hit the ball,
run a program and more than one way to help a student in the area of stroke
production, footwork, nutrition, fitness, mental toughness, etc.

The game is ever changing and to keep up with the times it is important for
a serious career minded tennis teacher to become involved with an
organization that offers continuing education and programming. The USPTA
does that in spades with 17 divisions offering conferences each year plus
the USPTA hosting the World Conference on Tennis and the USPTA Player
Development Conference. You must admit that your business has been somewhat
helped by the USPTA divisional conferences offered that you have attended
each year where you have spoken to instill your knowledge and displayed your
Oncourt-Offcourt educational tools at the USPTA trade shows. You mentioned
that you spoke to 200 to 250 coaches from Britain. You spoke a year ago at
a Specialty Course during the USPTA Texas Division where there were over 60
participants just from that state alone for that one course. As you know,
because you are a USPTA Master Pro, it takes many hours of Specialty Courses
as a partial requirement for that designation. The total enrollment for the
USPTA Texas Conference which ran four days was over 175. Multiply that by
the many times you have spoken at the different USPTA divisional conventions
in the U.S. and you come up with a good number of passionate, eager "to
learn" USPTA professionals who want to stay updated and network.

Below is a quote from USPTA CEO Tim Heckler:

"The fact is USPTA has no rivals that can match its education offerings. Its
17 divisions and our national office conduct Certification Training Courses,
workshops, seminars, conferences and specialty courses throughout the year
in cities and states throughout the country. These events total more than
300 days of education each year, and these include only those events done
"live" and "in person" with speakers who are experts in their fields. In
addition to on-court and classroom education, USPTA offers the industry's
most extensive library of educational DVDs, and we are adding more than 25
new titles every year from our instructional TV series, the annual World
Conference and other educational activities. The DVDs provide members and
nonmembers alike with information on a variety of tennis-teaching and
business subjects, and these are invaluable to anyone wishing to become a
tennis instructor here or in any other country".

I also disagree that certification standards are weaker here in the US than
other countries. Have you taken the USPTA certification test lately? We do
not sprinkle holy water over our applicants and pronounce them P1.

Certification in the United States Professional Tennis Association is based
on the level of experience, expertise and knowledge one has.

The top classification is Master Pro, then P1, P2, and P3.

Below are the requirements for becoming a P1. More info can be found at

Professional 1

  a.. Must be 22 years of age or older
  b.. Must pass all portions of the Certification Exam at the Pro 1 level or
  c.. Must have an NTRP of 4.5 or higher
  d.. Must have three years or five seasons of full-time teaching experience
Can you imagine how many hours of experience and education one receives with
three years or five seasons of full-time teaching? Do the other countries
that have tennis pro/coaching associations require this many years which can
be equated to thousands of hours of education/experience before a P1
designation is granted?

This is not intended as a knock on other world wide tennis teaching
associations, but I don't think that the tennis community in America
realizes what it has in its own backyard in the area of professional career
development for tennis teachers. So I thought I would toot our own horn.

Ron Woods
United States Professional Tennis Association

Received on Wed Dec 14 2005 - 09:43:29 CST

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