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tkoziol 01-21-2013 02:12 PM

Problem with USPTA instructor
 
Hello everyone,

I been visiting this forum for several years, though never actually registered. I recently encountered an uncomfortable situation that prompted me to make an account and get feedback from the masses.

Backstory: I am a 5.0 player, received scholarship at D3 school, became tennis instructor (have been teaching for past 5 years). Received recreational coach certification from USPTA, as well as high school coaching certification. Found the certification process to be interesting but mostly useless. Most of the drills and techniques I already knew, and there was some outdated content.

Situation: Returning a demo to local pro shop and discussed a former ATP player who is a new instructor in the area. The shop worker (also an instructor) did not like this person at all! Said that he needs USPTA certification, doesn't know how to teach. I mentioned that his students seem very talented and his teaching methods are similar to mine (big mistake). Instantly I was questioned about my certification history, which wasn't good enough apparently. Although I had several students who went all-state, received scholarships, or greatly improved their NTRP rating, I had no clue what I was doing because I haven't got "official certification". I've seen this individual play tennis and I would guess late 40's and 3.5 at best. Trying to polite, I remained calm and simply agreed that I should get more certification (then promptly left the shop).

Am I crazy?!?! Despite my results as a player and instructor, I have serious doubts about myself now. A good friend of mine is certified by PTR. Is this just like high school with "cliques" and I'm not part of the USPTA club, or is this person mad that I am teaching the same thing (perhaps a bit more modern) without all the red tape of certification and yearly dues? Almost all of the drills that I have seen instructors do I have found online watching youtube videos (or already done the drills myself). FYB does a great job with this. I have yet to see a magical skill that USPTA or PTR instructors have that has impressed me. If anything, I am disappointed in seeing some instructors teaching all students the same regardless of age or skill level (almost like they had it planned out before even meeting the individual).

I respect my fellow instructors whether they are PTR, USPTA, ITF, MTM, former ATP pro, or simply a high level player teaching. I do not believe that this respect is mutual. Is it wrong to think that tennis is constantly evolving and is therefore difficult to certify? I can't help but feel that the USPTA is trying to strictly certify something that is not certifiable to make money. Do ATP coaches have certificates? Different sport, but a legitimate question, does anyone know if college or NFL football coaches have certificates? It makes me think of tennis pros who said Rafael Nadal would never succeed with his lasso reverse forehand, or Roddick's unorthodox serve motion would never succeed.

Perhaps I'm inadvertently portraying myself as "better" than the USPTA? I really hope that I am not.

So many questions! Any feedback would be greatly appreciated! Especially from USPTA pros

Thank you everyone! Sorry for giant block of text!

sureshs 01-21-2013 02:17 PM

But you are USPTA certified, so what is the problem?

JW10S 01-21-2013 02:27 PM

Basically anyone can get the recreational coach certification so it by itself is practically useless. Getting certified Professional 1 is much more involved and therefore carries more weight. Many clubs and facilities won't even consider hiring a pro who is not Certified Professional 1--which is several levels above rec. coach. And yes, some coaches on the ATP tour are certified by either the USPTA, PTR or ITF--or sometimes by all 3. Since you seem to have stopped your certification process, and therefore the continuing education that goes with it I think you're off base, and frankly a bit naive, with your attitudes about the USPTA and what pro certification really means.

sureshs 01-21-2013 02:36 PM

Reality is that it is a bit of both. Certification is really needed only in professions where safety or large amounts of money or public interest is an issue. Otherwise, it is just a union by a different name, whose members try to exclude others from competing in their line of work. Having said that, it does give clubs and customers a little more confidence in a guy, even if it only is for the most basic safety reasons, like allowing him to work with a girl. It give a feeling of traceability and accountability.

In this very forum, you will find ordinary rec players providing superior tips and insights into the game compared to several coaches.

goober 01-21-2013 02:49 PM

Certifications are only important to the people that hiring you. If you want to work for a tennis center or facility then it is important. If you are independent, it is less so.

Almost all the players I know that are looking for instructors don't know or don't care about certifications. It is all word of mouth of who is good at teaching and who gets results.

I know plenty of instructors that are certified at the highest levels but are not good instructors and some are surprisingly marginal players.

tennis_balla 01-21-2013 03:15 PM

This person you encountered sounds like a lot of the posters on here. Heck, he might even be a member! Wouldn't surprise me.

I wouldn't worry about it. People who talk crap like that about others and give unsolicited advice have issues.

TCF 01-21-2013 04:12 PM

==========================

julian 01-21-2013 05:12 PM

A combo of business and technical decisions
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by tkoziol (Post 7145250)
Hello everyone,

I been visiting this forum for several years, though never actually registered. I recently encountered an uncomfortable situation that prompted me to make an account and get feedback from the masses.

Backstory: I am a 5.0 player, received scholarship at D3 school, became tennis instructor (have been teaching for past 5 years). Received recreational coach certification from USPTA, as well as high school coaching certification. Found the certification process to be interesting but mostly useless. Most of the drills and techniques I already knew, and there was some outdated content.

Situation: Returning a demo to local pro shop and discussed a former ATP player who is a new instructor in the area. The shop worker (also an instructor) did not like this person at all! Said that he needs USPTA certification, doesn't know how to teach. I mentioned that his students seem very talented and his teaching methods are similar to mine (big mistake). Instantly I was questioned about my certification history, which wasn't good enough apparently. Although I had several students who went all-state, received scholarships, or greatly improved their NTRP rating, I had no clue what I was doing because I haven't got "official certification". I've seen this individual play tennis and I would guess late 40's and 3.5 at best. Trying to polite, I remained calm and simply agreed that I should get more certification (then promptly left the shop).

Am I crazy?!?! Despite my results as a player and instructor, I have serious doubts about myself now. A good friend of mine is certified by PTR. Is this just like high school with "cliques" and I'm not part of the USPTA club, or is this person mad that I am teaching the same thing (perhaps a bit more modern) without all the red tape of certification and yearly dues? Almost all of the drills that I have seen instructors do I have found online watching youtube videos (or already done the drills myself). FYB does a great job with this. I have yet to see a magical skill that USPTA or PTR instructors have that has impressed me. If anything, I am disappointed in seeing some instructors teaching all students the same regardless of age or skill level (almost like they had it planned out before even meeting the individual).

I respect my fellow instructors whether they are PTR, USPTA, ITF, MTM, former ATP pro, or simply a high level player teaching. I do not believe that this respect is mutual. Is it wrong to think that tennis is constantly evolving and is therefore difficult to certify? I can't help but feel that the USPTA is trying to strictly certify something that is not certifiable to make money. Do ATP coaches have certificates? Different sport, but a legitimate question, does anyone know if college or NFL football coaches have certificates? It makes me think of tennis pros who said Rafael Nadal would never succeed with his lasso reverse forehand, or Roddick's unorthodox serve motion would never succeed.

Perhaps I'm inadvertently portraying myself as "better" than the USPTA? I really hope that I am not.

So many questions! Any feedback would be greatly appreciated! Especially from USPTA pros
Thank you everyone! Sorry for giant block of text!

Possible areas to improve:
1.under 10 students
2.tactics/strategy
3.specifically tactics/strategy for doubles

#1,#2,#3 worth investing is you have CORRESPONDING students
If you do NOT try to see whether you will such in a year or so
Think about marketing
Read the title of my post as well

tkoziol 01-21-2013 05:36 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by JW10S (Post 7145310)
Since you seem to have stopped your certification process, and therefore the continuing education that goes with it I think you're off base, and frankly a bit naive, with your attitudes about the USPTA and what pro certification really means.

Actually, I learn more and more about tennis everyday. I still consider myself a student of the game. Most of my education comes from looking at the ATP and WTA as well as collegiate tennis for new techniques, drills, and trends.

As I mentioned, the ex-ATP player who teaches has many instruction methods similar to mine. Comparing us to USPTA instructors, we certainly seem much more modern. I have never seen the lasso forehand (reverse forehand) taught, I've seen almost every professional player use this. The windshield wiper forehand is taught very rarely, and in my opinion incorrectly. Strategy is almost non-existent. Another odd difference is the obsession with moving into the net. Lots of approach shots and put aways at the net. I'm waiting to see wooden racquets and serve and volley!

You mentioned a continuation in USPTA certification... What does this entail? Weekly updates, newsletters, and study materials? Or does it entail strict re-testing every several months/years. Is it possible for a pro to receive certification in 1989 and still be teaching under the P1 title while ignoring any of the updates provided by the USPTA? I really hope this isn't the case.

Any USPTA or PTR instructors that can shed some light on these questions would be greatly appreciated! Thank you JW10S, for your insight, are you PTR or USPTA?

JoeR 01-21-2013 10:04 PM

If I had to guess, you live in northern California, don't you?

sureshs 01-22-2013 06:33 AM

All the juniors I see use reverse FHs, WW FHs, and prefer baseline play, so I am not sure who is not teaching this stuff.

tkoziol 01-22-2013 08:14 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by JoeR (Post 7146776)
If I had to guess, you live in northern California, don't you?

Heartland actually... Northern California would be nice weather though :)

Quote:

Originally Posted by sureshs (Post 7147961)
All the juniors I see use reverse FHs, WW FHs, and prefer baseline play, so I am not sure who is not teaching this stuff.

I only know of one USPTA instructor here who teaches reverse FH, but he hates WW FH. He also doesn't teach slice to students under the age of 16. :confused:

I guess what confuses me the most is how different USPTA instructors teach. Aside from the basic fundamentals of tennis, there are almost no similarities. It does seem that most of their education occurs after the certification process, evident by wildly different teaching philosophies, teaching tools being used, and results with students.

sureshs 01-22-2013 08:19 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by tkoziol (Post 7148198)
Heartland actually... Northern California would be nice weather though :)



I only know of one USPTA instructor here who teaches reverse FH, but he hates WW FH. He also doesn't teach slice to students under the age of 16. :confused:

I guess what confuses me the most is how different USPTA instructors teach. Aside from the basic fundamentals of tennis, there are almost no similarities. It does seem that most of their education occurs after the certification process, evident by wildly different teaching philosophies, teaching tools being used, and results with students.

So Cal has better weather :-)

What I have observed is that coaches have great difficulty getting their students to come to the net or to slice, which probably creates the impression of them emphasizing it too much. I have watched and been a roving official for several junior tournaments, and the players, especially the girls, are loathe to slice or come to the net. Big TS forehands seem to come naturally to them, with the boys having more TS than the girls. Perhaps they end up learning the RFH by themselves? That is how I did it - just happened without thinking.

DavaiMarat 01-22-2013 08:39 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by tennis_balla (Post 7145448)
This person you encountered sounds like a lot of the posters on here. Heck, he might even be a member! Wouldn't surprise me.

I wouldn't worry about it. People who talk crap like that about others and give unsolicited advice have issues.

Personally I don't listen to anyone unless they have a mustache like John Newcombe.

True Story.

10s talk 01-23-2013 04:54 AM

D3 schools don't have tennis scholarships

sureshs 01-23-2013 05:18 AM

They do have academic ones, right?

mxmx 01-23-2013 05:23 AM

I feel your pain. I am not close to being qualified myself.

I have however been spending a lot of time investing in a couple of younger players than myself who cannot afford coaching. I spend more time and effort than some coaches who ask money would ever do. Thankfully I have seen improvement in their game and its very self fulfilling knowing you can help someone. The problem comes that people imply that you teach them wrong techniques just to bring you down....or due to being jealous for taking a potential student away. I have seen some very good, qualified coaches with worse technique than myself. There isn't a perfect coach, and some are better teaching this and other that. Sometimes I just want to get the papers so people will get off my back. Or maybe this feeling of judgement is self inflicted :P

sureshs 01-23-2013 05:34 AM

You want to hear a story? My pro shop guy offers stringing. So does a guy affiliated with a nearby club, who is a stringer at pro tourneys, and also a teaching pro. So there is competition between them for customers.

A teenage kid is hired to work part-time at the pro shop. He also happens to take lessons from the stringer/pro at the club. The pro learns about his job, and stops the lessons, telling the teenager: "Your employer is snatching food from the mouths of my kids." The teenager leaves in a state of shock.

I used the pro/stringer once, but don't plan to go to him again. The reason I used him is also a story by itself. I am hitting with somebody when a junior tournament is in progress on the other courts. This guy had set up a mobile stringing van in the parking lot. As I finish and walk to my car, he calls me and says I play very smoothly. Then he asks me about the strings I use (Shockshield) and the number of frames I have (2). He gives me his card, then asks me where I live. I tell him.

A couple of weeks later, a neighbor catches me in the parking lot. He says that guy is his stringer and he had complained to him that I ordered the guy to buy 2 packs of Shockshield and I would be bringing my frames over, but never showed up! Finally I decided to use him once to make my neighbor happy.

goober 01-23-2013 05:42 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by sureshs (Post 7153105)
You want to hear a story? My pro shop guy offers stringing. So does a guy affiliated with a nearby club, who is a stringer at pro tourneys, and also a teaching pro. So there is competition between them for customers.

A teenage kid is hired to work part-time at the pro shop. He also happens to take lessons from the stringer/pro at the club. The pro learns about his job, and stops the lessons, telling the teenager: "Your employer is snatching food from the mouths of my kids." The teenager leaves in a state of shock.

I used the pro/stringer once, but don't plan to go to him again. The reason I used him is also a story by itself. I am hitting with somebody when a junior tournament is in progress on the other courts. This guy had set up a mobile stringing van in the parking lot. As I finish and walk to my car, he calls me and says I play very smoothly. Then he asks me about the strings I use (Shockshield) and the number of frames I have (2). He gives me his card, then asks me where I live. I tell him.

A couple of weeks later, a neighbor catches me in the parking lot. He says that guy is his stringer and he had complained to him that I ordered the guy to buy 2 packs of Shockshield and I would be bringing my frames over, but never showed up! Finally I decided to use him once to make my neighbor happy.


You know some pyscho tennis people. Yah I bought my own stringer, so I am sure I am taking food from the mouths of a bunch kids:p I also got about half my team into stringing their own racquets once they saw how easy it was and how much money it saved. Sorry about the Happy meals kids. Looks like ramen noodles tonight!

sureshs 01-23-2013 05:52 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by goober (Post 7153131)
You know some pyscho tennis people. Yah I bought my own stringer, so I am sure I am taking food from the mouths of a bunch kids:p I also got about half my team into stringing their own racquets once they saw how easy it was and how much money it saved. Sorry about the Happy meals kids. Looks like ramen noodles tonight!

I always get a kick when reading sentences like that (interpret it as a person).


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