Tennis coaching is possibly one of the most rewarding professions out there. Coaches learn valuable life skills such as personal financing, leadership, public speaking and time management. They are able to maintain a positive work-life balance as they are in charge of their own schedule. In this blog post, I will discuss the different pathways you can take to become a tennis coach. We will journey together from the beginning coaching level i.e. coaches assistant, all the way to a Level 5 Masters Performance Coach. Finally, at the end of the blog I will post a pdf document of some fun games you can try out with Red, Orange and Green ball players.
Play and Stay Assistant
To start your journey as a tennis coach it is advisable that you get in touch with a certified coach that you already know and would be comfortable working with. If you don't know anyone who is a coach, you can find coaches on the Tennis Ireland website. You must complete various online learning tasks and log at least 20 hours assisting a certified coach. When all of this is completed you will be presented with your Play and Stay Assistant certificate. After recieving this qualification you will be able to assist qualified tennis coaches in teaching the game in clubs, schools and parks. Subject to the agreement made with the coach you are assisting, you may be paid for this work. You will also be eligible to become Associate Members of Tennis Ireland Coach Ireland, the official representative body for Tennis Ireland coaches.
Tennis Assistant 1 & 2
The various different modules in the Tennis Ireland Level 1 Coach Education Programme will enable you to further your career as a coach before obtaining your full Level 1 qualification. Upon completion of the first Module, you will be able to assist a qualified coach with the implementation of the Red Ball Programme in your club. Completing the second module will qualify you to assist a Tennis Ireland qualified coach with the implementation of Red, Orange and Green Ball Programmes in your club. Once again, subject to the agreement made with the coach you are assisting, you may be paid for this work.
After fully completing the Tennis Ireland Level 1 Coach Education Programme, you will be presented with your level 1 coaching license. You will no longer need a certified coach to be present when you are conducting a lesson. With this certification, you are qualified to work with and develop beginner to intermediate players of all ages. You can also train regional standard performance players under the age of 9.
The Tennis Ireland Level 2 Coach Education Programme enhances your career further as you can now conduct lessons and train with intermediate to advanced players of all ages. You can also work with performance players under the age of 12 which is very rewarding work as you see the constent progression made by these talented prodegies.
A person who has completed the Tennis Ireland Level 3 Coach Education Programme is qualified to work with and develop players at all levels. This means that you can coach performance players at any age. The Level 3 qualification is extremely attractive to clubs looking for a new head coach and also performance players which is a point where most coaches want to get to in their careers.
Let's say you have your sights set high and coaching with national junior champions is not enough for you, then obtaining a level 4 coaching license is the right decision for you. You no longer can gain this qualification through the Tennis Ireland pathway, instead you must go through LTA (Lawn Tennis Association) which is the governing tennis body of Britain. The Senior Performance Coach (SPC) qualification is for coaches who wish to gain the required competencies and knowledge to develop international level 14 & under junior players. The SPC can train and develop a coaching workforce capable of delivering the LTA and Tennis Ireland performance strategies.
Level 5 Masters Performance Coach
The Master Performance Coach Course is for coaches who are passionate about improving players and who want to make a commitment to their development as a performance coach. Again this qualification can only be obtained through LTA. Ideal candidates are those coaches who want to truly transform and improve their players and who are committed to developing their own coaching. The aim of the course is to provide coaches with a transformational coach education experience that will equip them to be successful developers of players ranging from 11 years of age to under 18 National / International level juniors. The course will develop coaches with a high level of versatility in working with performance players.
As tennis fans, players and coaches, we must always strive to improve different aspects of our tennis careers. Developing a clear step by step pathway for various aspects of your career creates an incentive to achieve your goals. The coaching pathway is a great example of this, there are clear steps that you must take to get to the top level. Even after obtaining your level 5 coaching license, you can still further your career by working with adult professionals. So what can we learn from this? Well we realise that we all start at the foot of a mountain, where you are now. We can see the top of the mountain (our end goal) but we don't know how to get there. The hardest part of our journey to the top is navigating our way up the treterous slopes, so we have to plan ahead taking one step at a time. You can apply this to any goal that you want to achieve in life. When you finally get to the top of the mountain take a moment to pat yourself on the back, then find another mountain to climb as there is always goals that you can set yourself in life.
I will mention that my information for this blog has been taken from the Tennis Ireland website and the Lawn Tennis Association website.