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College tennis coaches teach student-athletes the fundamentals of the game, and guide them through practice sessions to help them develop as players. According to the Intercollegiate Tennis Association, more than 15,000 college students play tennis at all levels at more than 1,200 member colleges and universities. Getting your first professional college coaching opportunity can be a challenge. Generally speaking, most college tennis coaches begin their careers as assistant coaches. You can prepare for a career in college tennis coaching by demonstrating strong leadership ability and the desire to motivate young adults to achieve success on and off the court.
Join your high school tennis team and to learn to play the game competitively. Sign up to play on a community tennis team if your school does not have a team, or you have already graduated from school. Practice regularly, and watch other professionals play to get to know the game well.
Register on the National Collegiate Athletic Association Eligibility Center, or on the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics website, to find out about about certification to play tennis at the college level. Ask your coach to help you with the certification process. Apply to colleges and universities with good tennis programs and facilities. Plan to actively participate a college tennis club if you don't play NCAA or NAIA level tennis.
Earn your bachelor's degree with a major in physical education or a related field. Work in a tennis facility or instruct tennis students in area tennis programs to gain experience. Document your work experiences and accomplishments.
Join the Intercollegiate Tennis Association if you play NCAA or NAIA tennis or on a qualifying two-year college team. ITA student membership includes benefits such as opportunities to play in summer circuit events and information about internships in the ITA website Career Central database. Interact with other college tennis players and coaches through the ITA social network.
Apply to take the U.S. Professional Tennis Association exam to become a certified tennis professional. To qualify for the USPTA exam, you need to be at least 18 years old and hold a qualifying National Tennis Rating Program level. Membership in the USPTA offers education opportunities that can help you specialize in an sub-field of tennis that may be useful to your career as a college tennis coach.
Talk to your tennis coaches about your career goals and ask for their advice on finding job opportunities in college coaching, and assistant coaching. Begin actively applying for jobs in your final year of college. Ask your coaches and professors who know about your coaching abilities to recommend you to prospective employers.
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Athletes, Coaches, Umpires, and Related Workers
- Intercollegiate Tennis Association: About the ITA
- National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics: NAIA Eligibility
- U.S. Tennis Association Tennis on Campus: Overview
- U.S. Professional Tennis Association: Professional-Level Requirements
Based in Reston, Va., Lydia King has been a writer and editor since 1996, working with diverse subject matter including law, government contracting, philosophy and career guidance. She completed a Bachelor of Arts in history at National University, where she is pursuing a Master of Arts in English and comparative literature.