The International Tennis Federation has announced that it is launching a new initiative to certify coaches with the aim of increasing the number of qualified tennis coaches across the world.
Under the previous model coaches were certified by national associations so this will be the first time that the ITF will be certifying coaches themselves. Certifications can still be achieved at national level but coaches who complete the ITF certification programme can now show that they are an “ITF certified coach” which proves they have met the international minimum standard for coaching.
The 2017-2020 ITF development strategy identified the need for ITF certified coaches and also the need to create more opportunities for women in the sport. The ITF Global Tennis Report was published in 2019 and identified over 164,000 active coaches but over 90% of these were based in just 30 countries with 65% being based in Europe alone. As of August 2020, almost 40 nations have achieved ITF recognition for their coach education systems with the ITF hoping that this number will increase so that the quantity and quality of tennis coaches increases.
The ITF Academy platform was also launched in 2019 and during the shutdown of tennis due to the Covid-19 pandemic much of the content and online courses have been made free to access. 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.”
You can read the ITF statement here.