ITF Introduces New Coach Certification Program
August 13, 2020
The International Tennis Federation has announced that it is launching a new initiative to certify coaches through the ITF certification programme, with the aim of increasing the number of qualified tennis coaches at all levels of the game across the world.
While the ITF has been delivering coach training and development programmes for more than 20 years, this will be the first time that the ITF itself will be certifying tennis coaches. Previously, coach certification has been carried out by national tennis associations through the support of the ITF.
While the ITF will continue to work closely with all of its 210 member national associations, ITF coach certification will allow tennis coaches in nations where coach certification programmes are not already established. It will also set international minimum standards in coaching levels, complimenting the national coach-certification programmes already approved by the ITF through the Recognition of Coach Education Systems programme.
From today all coaches who successfully completed ITF certification courses will be permitted to refer to themselves as “ITF certified coaches” of a certain level in addition to the certification already achieved through their respective national association.
The need for the ITF to certify coaches was identified within the ITF’s development strategy for 2017-20, one of the aims of which was to increase the number of appropriately qualified tennis coaches globally. The initiative will also create more opportunities for women to develop and qualify as coaches, an important objective of the ITF’s Advantage All gender equality strategy.
The ITF Global Tennis Report, published in 2019, identified that while there are approximately 164,000 active tennis coaches, over 90 per cent are based in just 30 nations. Sixty-five per cent are based in Europe alone. As of August 2020, almost 40 nations have achieved ITF recognition for their coach education systems. The ITF’s coach certification programme aims to increase both the quantity and quality of tennis coaching around the world, and particularly in nations that may not have established coach education programmes.
With coaching and development both key parts of the ITF2024 strategy, the ITF has invested in coaching in recent times. In addition to the coach certification programme, the ITF Academy platform was launched in 2019, and contains more than 1,200 content items in the library and over 80 online courses in the education section – much of it has also been made free to use for the duration of the shutdown caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, with new online courses released every week.
ITF Executive Director for Tennis Development, Luca Santilli said: “Having access to high-quality tennis coaching has been proven to be a highly significant factor in both increasing participation in tennis and in successfully training high-performance players. We have been pleased to see coaches around the world use our resources on the ITF Academy this year, with a 413% increase in the number of registered users on the platform. We are delighted to launch the ITF coach certification programme, the next step in our coaching strategy, which we are confident will improve coaching standards across the world.”