If you’re looking into what it takes to be a tennis coach, you’ve come to the right place. I have been coaching tennis for more than 10 years, so I know the ins and outs of what the job is like on a day-to-day basis. It doesn’t matter whether you’re familiar with the sport, but have no previous knowledge with coaching, or you’re just looking into the topic. The following are some of the most important things to understand about the tennis coaching sphere.
Tennis Coach Requirements
What’s required to be a tennis coach? Well, it’s a very technical sport. Thus, coaches are required to have extensive technical knowledge of the game, as well as comprehensive teaching methods. In addition to these traits, great communication skills paired with strong leadership qualities are key components of being a great tennis coach.
It takes a balanced blend of skill, experience, natural talent, hard work, and leadership to succeed as a tennis coach. Coaching players tends to be quite difficult and challenging, but on the other hand extremely rewarding. As a coach you’re supposed to transfer your knowledge, but in a finetuned way that your players can grasp and remember.
A tennis coach has to be capable of teaching his or her players how to properly play the game as well as progressively improving their skills by providing adequate advice. In addition, a coach must be a great leader and role model for their players.
Being a tennis coach isn’t always smooth sailing as it might seem. Unfortunately, you don’t get paid to have a fun time on the court. Just like everything else, it has its upsides and downsides. Here are the pros and cons of being a tennis coach.
Pros of Being a Tennis Coach
Generally, both the pros and the cons of being a tennis coach depend on your specific situation, meaning they will differ based on if you’re working in a club, running an academy, giving private lessons, etc.
However, here are some of the more common pros that most tennis coaches would agree on:
- Being able to witness the growth of your students, both as tennis players and as people.
- The specific area of work that you’re in requires you to be physically active on a consistent basis, which keeps you in a good shape both physically and mentally.
- Fairly flexible hours, although this depends on how often and where you’re working.
- If you’re a tennis coach, chances are you’re in love with tennis, therefore playing it regularly means that you’re making a living off of something you love and enjoy doing. If you love what you do then you’ll never work a day in your life!
Cons of Being a Tennis Coach
Just like the pros, the cons of being a tennis coach are subjective and highly dependent on your situation, as mentioned previously.
The following are some universal cons that, again, most tennis coaches would agree with:
- The chances of you working when most of your friends are off, are somewhat high. This means that you will most likely often work on weekends as you’re very commonly obligated to adjust to your players; especially if you hold a lot of private lessons.
- You must face the fact that not every player will share the same passion and will for the game as you. There will be times when you come across a junior that seems to have unlimited potential to become a pro tennis player, except for the fact that they simply don’t “want it” enough.
- Depending on your situation, travelling to and from different locations and working inside/outside in all sorts of weather can sometimes be tricky to manage.
- If you don’t have a decent amount of patience, then it will be tough for you to avoid frustration when your players can’t seem to grasp a concept.
Tennis Coach Career Advancement
The tennis coaching industry is multi-layered, meaning that if you commit yourself to further development, there is a definite chance of future career advancement. Most people start of at the level of an assistant tennis coach which is the lowest level. This will likely regulate you to hours upon hours of “feeding drills” meaning you will be expected to drop hit hundreds of tennis balls to specific parts of the court. Meanwhile your players will practice various strokes while being instructed by the head pro. On the other end of the spectrum, the highest attainable level in a tennis career is being the head professional coach (or head pro) at an accredited club or training center. An incredibly difficult to obtain feat is to become a personal tennis coach to a professional player.
A proper tennis education is of key importance for your career path because it provides you with the needed knowledge which is guaranteed to improve your understanding of the game itself, thus shaping you into a complete tennis coach. This includes both the initial certifications you will have to attain, as well as continuing tennis education programs to keep your coaching techniques up to date.
How Much do Tennis Coaches get Paid?
The average tennis coach salary in the United States is $53,214. It typically ranges between $48,705 and $58,678. If you become a head pro, then this can increase to around $65,000 depending on the facility you’re employed at. Fortunately, benefits are almost always given to tennis coaches who work on a full-time basis.
How to Become a Tennis Coach
If you’re looking to start off your career as a tennis coach it is important to note that thorough background knowledge is necessary. First and foremost, you need previous experience playing tennis, followed by proper education, licensing and certification.
That being said, if you were a great player competing on a high level, it will significantly boost your chances of becoming a great coach due to extensive knowledge of the game that you’ve acquired.
The next step would be getting formal education and certification. The education can be presented in the form of interactive courses which provide you with insight of the game from a coach’s perspective. Another form could be seminars and tennis coaching conferences. The higher the level of your education and practical experience the more likely you are to become a world-class tennis coach.
If you intend to coach tennis in the United States, then you will want to become a USPTA Certified Professional. Requirements to achieve USPTA certification include:
- Be at least 18 years old
- Recommended to have 6 months of full-time coaching experience
- Pass the on-court and written segments of the USPTA exam
- Complete the Coach Youth Tennis online course
Read our full guide on how to become USPTA Certified here. My recommendation is to find a tennis club you enjoy playing competitively at. After getting to know the coaches and members, (and once you have demonstrated that you’re an above average player) ask if you can volunteer some time to help coach beginner level junior players. This can eventually turn into a low paying yet skill-developing position; I’m making this recommendation because it’s exactly how I got into the tennis coaching world in the first place!
Coaching Tennis isn’t for Everyone
Becoming a tennis coach is not an easy task, but seeing your players improve and succeed is an incredible feeling making it all worth it. A tennis coach is of great influence to their players; therefore, they must be a positive role model and someone they look up to. Being a tennis coach carries a great responsibility because the environment that you create is reflected by your players, thus being a positive influence is a crucial factor in the players’ success.
However, you need to be aware that you may not make as much money coaching tennis as you would in a more “business oriented” field. You will have to weigh the pros and cons, and a huge part of your decision should be based off of your values. I wish you luck in your career exploration, whether you decide to coach tennis or not!