USTA Coaching Accreditation Program
Starting Jan. 1, 2018, USTA commenced its accreditation program to recognize coaching certification organizations for performance, integrity and quality.
The accrediting process is intended to strengthen and sustain the standards and longevity of the United States tennis industry. The extent to which each organization accepts and fulfills the responsibilities inherent in the accreditation process is a measure of its commitment to achieving excellence. Accreditation is voluntary and free of charge.
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The United States Tennis Association (“USTA”) is the National Governing Body (“NGB”) for the sport of tennis in the United States, as appointed by the United States Olympic Committee (“USOC”).
As such, the USTA is responsible for training players, organizing and staging competition, and promoting the growth of the sport of tennis within the United States. The USTA operates under authority of the Ted Stevens Olympic and Amateur Sports Act (“Ted Stevens Act”), now codified at 36 U.S.C. §§ 220501 et seq. Pursuant to the Act, the USTA, as the NGB, has been granted the authority by the United States Congress to establish national goals for the sport of tennis and encourage the attainment of those goals, including through supporting the highest quality tennis player training within the United States.
Pursuant to that authority, the USTA has set an objective to increase both the quantity and quality of tennis coaching professionals throughout the United States. USTA has determined that, in order to meet and maintain that goal, the U.S. tennis industry needs career-driven and well-rounded coaching professionals committed to the sport. Tennis employers in the U.S. are seeking coaching professionals with a greater variety of on-court and off-court skills/qualifications to help grow the game and their business. In its long history, the USTA has never certified tennis coaches, nor has it had significant input on the coaching certification criteria or process utilized by organizations offering tennis professional coaching certifications to the public within the United States.
While there are many positive aspects to the current certification process in the United States, more can and should be done by USTA to incentivize ongoing improvement in the quality of tennis coaching professionals now within and newly entering the industry. Of significance to USTA is the fact that other national tennis federations (including in the Grand Slam countries), as well as other American sports entities such as the Pro Golfers Association (PGA), have substantially greater requirements for coaching certification than does the U.S. tennis industry.
The USTA believes that it is time for American tennis coaching professionals to up their game, and take their place as leaders in both the coaching and the business of this sport. Therefore, pursuant to the grant of authority under the Ted Stevens Act as an NGB, USTA has established an Accreditation Program, operated through USTA’s Accreditation Review Committee. The Accreditation Program, as described in this Manual, requires as a condition of accreditation by USTA that organizations operating within the United States that offer tennis professional coaching certification programs meet and maintain minimum standards set by USTA. Participation in the USTA Accreditation Program is entirely voluntary and free of charge. This document sets forth the qualifications and process for organizations seeking accreditation. Those organizations meeting and maintaining USTA’s standards will be awarded and permitted to use the designation, “Accredited by the United States Tennis Association.”
The USTA Accreditation Program is operated through USTA’s Accreditation Review Committee and established for the primary purposes of: (1) supporting continuous improvement of the tennis professional coaching certification programs offered by accredited organizations; (2) contributing to the uniformity of the U.S. tennis profession by increasing conformity to general minimum expectations for tennis professional coaching quality by certified professionals working in the United States; (3) improving certified tennis professional coach preparation and continuing education practices; and (4) elevating the status of certified U.S. tennis professional coaching in the U.S. work force to better meet the needs of employers, tennis players and the public.
The geographical scope of USTA’s Accreditation Program is the accreditation of domestic organizations offering tennis professional coaching certification programs to the public within the United States.
The mission of USTA’s Accreditation Review Committee is to develop, make public and apply objective criteria for the assessment of tennis professional coaching certification organizations in order to assure the public and other interested parties that the organizations have clearly defined objectives which meet with criteria published by USTA, and that such accredited organizations have the administrative organization, capability, staffing and resources to accomplish and continue accomplishing those objectives.
Accreditation by USTA provides, among others, the following advantages:
- Assurance to the public of external evaluation by the USTA of accredited tennis professional coaching certification organizations’ commitment to excellence.
- Enhancement of the reputation of accredited organizations because of public regard for external accreditation and recognition of affiliation with the USTA.
- Assurance to the public and employers that expectations for safety (in screening, training, and other areas) are required and met by accredited organizations.
- Recruitment and promotional opportunities at USTA events and promotion of accredited organization coaching programs to generate interest among apprentices, professionals and employers.
- Access to select USTA programs and events solely for members of accredited organizations.
“Accreditation” is an evaluation process where an entity (e.g., the USTA) defines standards of acceptable operation/performance for programs/organizations and measures compliance of those standards; whereas “certification” is a process by which an organization grants recognition of competence to an individual who has met predetermined qualifications specified by that organization.
The terms "accreditation" and "certification" are often used interchangeably but they are not synonymous. Both certification and accreditation involve assessment against standards. However, accreditation refers to an organization voluntarily complying with standards that are set forth by another organization — an independent third party, whereas certification is a process by which an organization grants recognition of competence to an individual who has met predetermined qualifications specified by that organization. Both certification and accreditation provide recognition of excellence.
As the accrediting body, USTA will not certify tennis professionals. Certification will continue to be administered by organizations such as the USPTA, PTR, and any other organization which meets the criteria established by the USTA to certify professionals. By separating the organizational roles, we collectively create accountability for adherence to standards while simultaneously increasing expectations for tennis professionals and the tennis industry.
The USTA Standards for Accreditation provide an accountability framework that (i) seeks to ensure that tennis professional coaching certification organizations offer well developed and high quality programs that provide tennis professionals with the strongest foundation possible for their chosen fields of work, and (ii) requires accredited organizations to have and maintain minimum organizational standards and objectives, and to demonstrate meeting such objectives.
USTA’s Standards for Accreditation are both organizational and performance-based. Organizational standards are required and specific. Performance standards are action-based, and can be achieved through a variety of methods. All standards support the objective of raising the benchmarks of the tennis industry in the United States.
Expectations for USTA accredited organizations are high. The USTA recognizes that certain aspects of the Standards for Accreditation may take time to plan and implement. Therefore, the USTA is offering a one-year provisional accreditation status to organizations committed to meeting the Standards of Accreditation in order to assist organizations in preparing and allocating resources to meet the Standards.
Applications for Provisional Accreditation for 2018 may be submitted any time after January 1, 2018. The USTA Accreditation Committee endeavors to review applications on a timely basis, and, except in extenuating circumstances, will render its determination no later than sixty (60) business days following receipt of a completed application. In 2018, applications will be accepted on a rolling basis. Beginning Jan. 1, 2019, the Accreditation Committee will meet on a quarterly basis. Completed Applications in 2019 must be submitted before the 1st of any quarter.
Click here for the USTA Accreditation Program Manual and the Application for Provisional Accreditation. Incomplete applications will not be accepted.