Tennis in the Parks & PTR partnership jumpstarts coaching journeys
WESTBOROUGH, MA – Tennis in the Parks is USTA New England’s flagship youth and adult introductory tennis program. Through partnerships with city and town recreation departments, the organization is able to offer affordable tennis programs to newcomers or beginners to the sport in a fun, relatable way.
Since its inception in 2018, Tennis in the Parks has operated in more than 60 New England communities and impacted 5,000+ players.
With the demand increasing each year, the call for coaches is also on the rise. Tennis in the Parks coaches are not required to obtain a certification by an accredited teaching organization nor do they need previous coaching experience.
And while thousands of players are learning tennis, many new coaches are subsequently utilizing Tennis in the Parks as the launch point to jump-start their coaching journeys.
Now, thanks to a partnership with the Professional Tennis Registry (PTR), Tennis in the Parks coaches are automatically qualified to receive scholarships of $200 (more than half off) toward a PTR Level 1 coaching certification.
“We wanted to create an attractive opportunity and benefit for current and future Tennis in the Parks coaches interested in furthering their coaching careers,” said Eric Driscoll, Tennis in the Parks Manager who formed the partnership with PTR. “Once a coach gains that valuable knowledge, they can then offer students an even more memorable first impression and tennis experience.”
Sandy Bryant, USTA League player and Tennis in the Parks coach in Lebanon, NH, was one of the first to take advantage of the certification opportunity.
“Dropping the price from $329 to $129 was a no-brainer for me. I didn’t know the process of getting certified beforehand, but I would’ve thought it would be more involved and aimed only at folks trying to make coaching their livelihood,” Bryant said. “That could not have been further from the truth. I found it challenging, but as long as you have a good sense of the game and a positive demeanor with people, you’ll be alright.”
Bryant is an educator first and foremost, but he has always had a passion for passing his love and knowledge of tennis onto the future generation. Formally a fifth-grade teacher and high school junior varsity tennis coach, Bryant has run youth Tennis in the Parks programs the past two summers.
“I really like the all-inclusive nature of Tennis in the Parks – it makes tennis extremely accessible to new players in the game. You’re allowed to build a lesson plan and can work on overall concepts in a fun way that really breaks it down for the students,” Bryant said.
Many of his newfound teaching techniques were developed from the PTR course, which consisted of two days of on-court assessment, learning effective coaching strategies and presenting a mock lesson. Coursework as well as a written exam also supplement the on-court portion.
“As much as I love tennis, 16 hours over one weekend is a long time to be on the court, but they made that time go by pretty darn quickly, which was very enjoyable,” Bryant said.
Merry Beaton, who is also a USTA League player from New Hampshire, taught tennis for the first time in 2021 as the coach of the Concord Tennis in the Parks program.
She has since joined Bedford High as the girls’ assistant varsity coach and hopes to continue her coaching path in a limited capacity.
“I didn’t think I was skilled enough to be able to teach tennis, but I figured I could handle kids, and when I found out how nicely the Tennis in the Parks curriculum is spelled out for you, I thought I’d give it a shot,” Beaton said. “I enjoyed it so much, and people even came up to me after class and asked me to do private lessons, but I didn’t feel like I could fully, so that’s when I wanted to explore the certification process a little more.”
- Sandy Bryant has coached Tennis in the Parks for two summers in New Hampshire.
- Tennis in the Parks has run in more than 60 cities and towns.
Beaton enjoyed the flexibility of the course. It allowed her to create video lesson plans from her driveway. She passed the course and was able to apply much of what she learned to her high school students as well as Tennis in the Parks players.
Beaton currently lives in the western part of the state, where she’s excited to seek out new coaching opportunities.
USTA New England is currently hiring Tennis in the Parks coaches all across the section for the 2023 spring, summer and fall seasons.
For more information and to apply, click below:
For more information on becoming a PTR Level 1 certified coach or to explore the coach pathway, click here.