View Full Version : Taking USPTA certification course, have some questions...

03-08-2004, 09:00 PM
I've been playing tennis my whole and am roughly a 5.0. I've taught tennis before, but not for any length of time. I have a good knowledge of the game but I wouldn't put myself in the same league as many people on this sight. I'm wondering if anyone can comment on how hard the various elements of the test are -- and if a decent player can be assured of getting at least level 3. Any general info/strategies/advice on this would be appreciated.

Bungalo Bill
03-09-2004, 07:35 AM
When I took the test it didnt seem that hard. However, the testees were all good players (some x-college, some were already teaching looking for a certification).

If you know how to hit drop shots, volleys, etc, with good form and technique you should have no problem passing the strokes test. Yo will have to serve well in each area of the box with a variety of spins and flat shots. The hardest part of the test I think all participants had was the drop shot. The instructor chose a service box to hit your drop shot in and it had to bounce three time in the box, if it didnt you had points taken away from you accordingly.

Some people didnt pass the written test. Partly, because I think they took it for granted and didnt study. So if you study, you shoudl have no problem. The hardest part for me in this area was how to place seeded players in the tournament. They give you some scenerios and you have to seed each seeded player according to their wins, how long ago the win happened, what kind of tournament it was, what kind of ranking do they have i.e. national, local, regional etc.

The strokes analysis test can be a bit weird, especially if the instructor makes it difficult to tell what could be contributing to a poorly executed stroke. On some strokes the instructor demonstrated, I think there was too much disguise for us to tell what could be wrong with a stroke.

The lesson portion of the exam can be a bit nerve racking as everyone is WATCHING you. You will do a group lesson and a private lesson. You might do the private lesson with a child which will challenge you on how to gain trust with the child.

Be careful if you get the serving or for that matter any stroke for your lessons, that the students backs are towards the sun. You will get dinged for that if they are not.

When you get the material make sure you study the following very well:

1. System 5 (covers court position, what to do with the ball in certain areas of the court, how to swing in different areas of the court, etc.

2. NTRP (player ratings 4.5, 5.0 etc.)

3. 10 cap (a tennis handicapping system)

4. Little Tennis (children tennis)

5. Code of Conduct

6. The other areas are sprinkled throughout the exam.

Good luck! If your a good tennis player you should have no trouble getting Professional 3. Are you thinking of doing this part-time or full-time?

03-09-2004, 09:13 AM
I was thinking about certification myself.
Never did it, before, because I never had time.

However, in my club there is one guy who is certified.
His certification discredits USAPTR quite a bit.
I cannot understand how would anybody let this guy teach.
Sure, he probably learnt how to tell people what they should do,
but he would be completely unable to demonstrate anything but
the basic basics.
His strokes are all wrong. And I mean, ALL.

If this guy was able to get the certificate, I am afraid USAPTR lost all credibility :(

Regards, Predrag

Bungalo Bill
03-09-2004, 09:46 AM
Would agree with Predrag,

There are good pros and not so good pros. However, throwing the baby out with the bath water is also not a good strategy. You just have to know what you want and find the coach that can help you get there.

Here is a website that kind of goes through the difference between a PTR certification and a USPTA certification. USPTA is what is most prevalent out here in California. I dont know much about PTR as I dont think I need it.


03-09-2004, 03:44 PM
part time. thanks Bungalow Bill. You are always very helpful.

Mahboob Khan
03-12-2004, 07:05 AM
Yes, study the manuals and attend the pre-certification training quite seriously. When I did my PTR certification in 1994, during the certification course, early in the morning or late in the evening, either before or after the official proceedings, we would practice PTR's standard method by teaching each other. This teaching training during the course enabled us to do well in the actual exam.

Yes, there are some people who are certified but their actual skill level is not that good. On the other hand I know one ex-Davis Cup player who has PTR Certification but he rarely uses PTR or for that matter any other teaching methodology.

I am PTR Certified Pro, I have also done ITF Level-I Certification, plus attended just about every coaching workshop in the world and still believe that you do not become a good coach by attending a workshop -- certification or non-certification --. It is your ability to learn from each situation and then convey that learning to your students. My secret of coaching and the associated coaching success, if any, is my ability, my tenacity, and my perseverance -- day in and day out -- to learn new things by watching live matches, watching matches on T.V., reading tennis magazines and just about every article on tennis. I follow a mix approach of teaching/coaching -- a combination of PTR, ITF, and my personal experience as a tennis player and a coach. Yes it is possible to find a person who is certified but very bad coach; and a person who is non-certified but very good coach. Certification basically empowers you how to organize your lessons, your classes, through a standard procedure so that players are not left to the personal whims of individual coaches! In my case, Certification forced me into greatness e.g. to justify my certification I have to dig deep in other areas to learn and then convey that learning to my students.

I am a PTR-Certified Pro! Do you think I am a bad coach because of my 'discredited' organization called USAPTR? A food for thought!

03-12-2004, 09:04 AM
I am a PTR-Certified Pro! Do you think I am a bad coach because of my 'discredited' organization called USAPTR? A food for thought!

No, that is not what I said.
I am not judging people based on where they belong. I read your
articles and I agree with (I think) every one of them. Because
of that, as far as I am concerned you do not need certification
paper, I would take your advice (or at least think it through) on
anything tennis related.

But, entry level USAPTR certification does not guarantee that
somebody knows anything about tennis. I have seen quite a few
examples of people who do not understand fundamentals of the
game, and still hold certificate and wave with it like it is a flag :)

Regards, Predrag

Mahboob Khan
03-12-2004, 06:47 PM
And my article refers to such people .. and they belong to both organizations -- PTR and USPTA. One must not be one-dimensional. A combination coaching approach is a good approach .. an approach which allows you to take benefit from all available systems. Certification in itself does not make you a good coach, it simply puts your name in a book which of course add to your reputation which the coaches badly need; and as I stated earlier, it helps you to teach a system which is in vogue .. a standard system of coaching!!!

03-15-2004, 07:20 AM
Certification in itself does not make you a good coach, it simply puts your name in a book which of course add to your reputation which the coaches badly need; and as I stated earlier, it helps you to teach a system which is in vogue .. a standard system of coaching!!!

My point is that USTAPTR and the PTR lost their perspective.
THey should not allow ANYBODY to get certified. Line should be
drawn at least at 4.5 level.

I was working with somebody the other day that started
overhead, serve AND forehand volley with the Continental grip,
only to change it to SEMI-WESTERN halfway, and executing the
shot with SW, completely unaware what he just did.
He had instruction before and was never told what he was doing!!!!
I agree that everybody should develop his/her own style, but
a fundamental mistake like this has to be corrected.

Opinions, everyone?

Regards Predrag