Following the global pandemic, tennis saw a massive boom, creating an imbalance of players to the number of coaches. In response to this, USTA Florida launched the Community Coach program and in 2022, this program reached new heights.
By working with public parks and partners such as USPTA and PTR, USTA Florida has been able to provide over 35 trainings and countless hours of experience to high school students, community residents, tennis players and others who have a passion for coaching community tennis.
Project Manager and Director of Community Tennis, Danielle Gooding said the program has come a long way in just a year. “At first we launched the pilot program to see if there was interest,” Gooding recalled. “In just a few months it proved that there were loads of people interested in learning how to coach.”
The Community Coach Program offers classes across the Junior, Adult, and Adaptive spaces. In Junior Tennis, there are Red and Orange ball trainings, as well as school trainings so teachers and physical education instructors can have their students involved with the game. One of the newest classes is Summer Camp trainings, which help get all volunteers and coaches informed about different drills, activities, and tennis-related games they can use during their camp sessions.
There are loads of trainings catered to teaching Adult Beginners starting with basics of tennis, adult clinics, and more. Over in adaptive tennis, the program offers classes for Special Olympics coaches as well as Wheelchair tennis coaches.
If you’re concerned that you don’t have experience in the sport or as a coach, this year the program really put an emphasis on making these trainings super simple. “Lots of people thought it would be difficult to pick up, but they quickly realized how doable it is,” Gooding said.
Thanks to one of our industry partners, the program also started offering additional resources through RacquetSportsU (RSU), which supplies valuable information and instruction videos.
People that have gone through the program have come out with a new view on teaching tennis and are ready to educate the next generation of the game.
For more information about the Community Coach Program, and to participate, please visit www.USTAFlorida.com/CommunityCoach.