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Old 01-21-2013, 02:12 PM   #1
tkoziol's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: Charleston, SC
Posts: 292
Default 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 Most of the drills and techniques I already knew, and there was some outdated content.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!
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