In the United Kingdom, the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) is the governing body for tennis standards. They offer three levels of coaching qualification. The level to aspire to depends on the standard of player you want to coach and the amount of club responsibility desired. The highest level, Level Three, allows you to train national-level players.
Conduct research. Talk to existing coaches and conduct web- and book-based research to check what is expected of a tennis coach. If possible, shadow a coach for a day so that you understand their role.
Check your skills. Tennis coaches require playing ability, patience and communication skills as well as self motivation. Ask yourself, and others, if you have the right skill set.
Become a Tennis Assistant (TA). This involves a two-day course which covers mini, preschool and beginner's tennis as well as simple competitions and basic co-ordination and communication skills. It is not a qualification but you cannot become a coach without it.
Get a Level One Development Coach Award (DCA). This is a 14-day course spread over five months. It includes skills- and knowledge-based training on coaching, tennis and personal development. To gain a place on this course you need a one-day First Aid Certificate, a recommendation from a tutor and a Criminal Records Enhanced Disclosure Certificate.
Obtain a Coach License. This involves gaining 45 credits over the course of three years. Credits are gained through practical coaching experience and continued personal development through training courses. Clubs and schools rely on this license to show they have quality coaches.
Get a Level Two Club Coach Award (CCA). This course lasts for 12 days over four months. Six core modules are taken on coaching, presentation and business skills and then the coach selects between a "performance" or a "development" strand. Performance focuses on high-level coaching at club level whereas development includes facilities and club management.
Gain a Level Three Tennis Development Award (TDA). This is a 21-day course spread over six (or more) months. It trains coaches working with beginners and improvers in development techniques.
Get a Level Three Performance Coach Award (PCA). This allows coaches to train performance and excellence players. It is a requirement for National Training Coaches and involves a 21-day course over a 12-month period.
As a tennis assistant you can still gain coaching experience but you need to be supervised by a qualified coach. The more coaching experience you have the easier it will be to progress through the levels.
The Lawn Tennis Association has recently introduced a required playing standard for coaches. Make sure you can meet this standard before beginning your coaching career.
Tips and warnings
- As a tennis assistant you can still gain coaching experience but you need to be supervised by a qualified coach.
- The more coaching experience you have the easier it will be to progress through the levels.
- The Lawn Tennis Association has recently introduced a required playing standard for coaches. Make sure you can meet this standard before beginning your coaching career.