Missouri Valley / Kansas

Officials Needed: Returning To The Courts After COVID-19

Kendra Wicks | May 29, 2020

The world is slowly beginning to open up after COVID-19 lockdowns, and that means that America’s favorite activities are coming back: sports. 


For our tennis community, we’re looking into ways to get players back on the courts through leagues and tournaments. But these events can’t function without the coaches, volunteers and officials who make them possible. 


Following the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s hard to predict how many officials will be able to return to work due to the close contact that many sports involve. Thankfully, tennis allows for players and officials to easily keep their distance, and other measures will be put in place to ensure the health and safety of everyone. 


Becoming a USTA official requires six simple steps. Applicants must be a USTA member and register with OfficialsFirst to complete the training, as well as the USTA Safe Play Program. They must also be able to submit a physician’s statement attesting to 20/20 vision, either corrected or uncorrected, and finish by completing two days of shadowing on court. 


Kansas District President Kate Foss is currently completing her training to become an official. 


“I started volunteering for the Kansas district because I love tennis: playing, practicing, cheering, watching and travelling for tournaments,” Foss said.  “Since I started volunteering, I have heard that the tennis community is in desperate need of officials. Becoming an official is just another way to support the game and to be able to experience it from another perspective.”


Foss says she’s looking forward to being able to make a difference in the tennis community through officiating and encourages others to consider joining.


“If you love the game, there’s more to learn about it by becoming an official,” Foss said. “The coursework is very easy to access and gives you step-by-step guidance to complete the program. It’s all online, and I was able to take the course as my schedule allowed.”


Laura Norman is a local official who has been working tournaments for the past six years. She originally completed the training because her husband hosts several junior tournaments each year and was struggling to find officials for them.


“We solved this problem by going through the certification process together five years ago,” Norman said. “Now we enjoy officiating not only junior events, but adult, ITA and professional tournaments as well.”


Want to learn more? You can check out the rest of Norman’s Q&A about her role as an official or learn how to become a certified official today

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