To elevate the level of High Performance Coaching in the United States with the intent of facilitating the development of world-class American tennis Champions.
Tennis has experienced enormous worldwide growth in the amount of competition at the junior and professional levels. This growth in the nature of the game has coincided with the systematic application of a scientific approach to find the most effective and most efficient training methods for maximizing a player’s potential.
One area where this is evident is in the area of coaching education. All indications are that this growth in coaching education will continue, thus guaranteeing that the process of coaching high performance players will require an increasingly higher level of coaching knowledge.
The European community has been aggressively applying science-based coaching programs for years. In 1974, the European Coaches Conference was established to exchange ideas, training methods, and scientific data to facilitate the development of European players. The conference was held for the specific purpose of thwarting American dominance in the world game! There is little doubt that this quest for the latest scientific knowledge and best coaching methods has been a contributing factor in the dramatic increase of world-class European players in tennis today.
In 1999 the USTA recognized these trends and took two major steps in the field of coaching education to help ensure that American coaches continue to provide our players with the best coaching in the world.
First, the USTA established the USA Tennis Coaching Education Department. The purpose of the department is to gather, develop, and disseminate the latest information in coaching education for all coaches in the United States. This effort includes the creation of educational materials (such as the High Performance Coaching newsletter, USTA.com Coaching Education website and instructional DVD’s, videos and books) as well as having the department conduct seminars and workshops.
The programming of the department is not done in a vacuum. The department works closely with the USTA Sport Science Department, the USPTA, PTR, USOC, ASEP, the USTA High Performance Coaching Staff, and top coaches and tennis leaders around the country—all in an effort to provide the best coaching educational material in the world.
Second, the USTA has initiated the USA Tennis High Performance Coaching Program, which is the flagship of the department’s educational effort. The program is intended specifically for the coach working with players who are striving for excellence in tennis (i.e., sectional junior players to collegiate and young professionals). The USA Tennis Coaching Education Department has established the educational component in cooperation with the USPTA and the PTR. Upon completion of the curriculum, the USPTA and/or the USPTR will certify the coaches. Since it’s inception in 2000 over 425 coaches have successfully completed the program!
The profession of coaching is an exciting and dynamic one. There is no major sport in the world that trains its athletes the same as it did 20 years ago—and tennis should not be an exception. We have a challenge and an obligation to provide our players with the highest-quality information and training techniques. Our hope is that all coaches in the United States will support and contribute to the success of this ongoing effort.