Born to Coach
Anyone who knows Joao Pinho should know how to find him.
“I’m always on the court. I’m always doing something related to tennis,” Pinho said with a laugh. “I really don’t have time for anything else.”
That’s exactly the way he prefers it.
A self-described “tennis addict,” Pinho is the Head Professional for 10 and Under Tennis and High Performance at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York. A USPTA Master Professional and former NCAA Division I coach and player, he’s specialized in developing competitive players for the last decade and has developed seven National Champions in the past, amongst his private players. After having worked at Nassau Tennis Club in Princeton for seven years, he maintains close ties to New Jersey and the USTA Middle States Section as a whole.
As a teaching professional, Pinho is pulled a lot of directions and is often asked advice — not only from players, but from other coaches.
“I like to tell people investing in yourself is worth it down the road,” he said. “Invest in your education. Invest in your game. Become as knowledgeable as possible in as many aspects of tennis as you can be, and that can really pay off for both coaches and players.”
It’s the same approach Pinho took as a young player and teaching professional.
Pinho began playing tennis as a 10-year-old, growing up in Brazil. His cousin handed him his first racquet, and he didn’t look back. One thing led to another, and he ended up at NCAA DI Utah State University, where he was one of the top players during his college career. Pinho had thoughts of dedicating himself to professional tennis after college. But something about coaching stuck in his head, leading him to begin working on that track of his career.
“I started coaching while I was still in college,” he said. “ I was an undergraduate assistant coach as I was completing my degree — helping out with both teams. It continued from there and right away it was something I knew I completely enjoyed.”
Pinho went on to become a Graduate Men’s Assistant Coach at The University of Toledo, and then spent one season assisting at Princeton University, with its Women’s team.
His career has evolved in the years since then. He began taking his coaching education even more seriously in 2011 and joined the USPTA Middle States Board of Directors. His role grew, and he served as President of the Middle States division in 2018-19, leading the Division to its first ever Small Division of the Year Award in 2018. Since 2010, he has earned five Awards within the USPTA Middle State and Eastern Divisions, including two Teaching Professional of the Year Awards, and a Norman Brammel Service Award, for his contributions to tennis in the region. More recently, he was named USPTA Master Professional, joining an elite group of coaches. Fewer than 1 percent hold that status.
Now, as one of the youngest Professionals in that segment, Pinho is looking forward to continuing serving players and coaches in their pursuit of excellence and personal development.
“It’s all been a really positive experience,” he said. “Becoming more and more active throughout the years and finding new ways to be involved, it’s all been great.”