How to become a tennis coach (with definition and steps)

Updated 12 April 2023

Tennis coaching is often a very rewarding career, especially if playing tennis and being active are some of your biggest passions. Tennis coaches may work with children during PE lessons, after-school clubs and private lessons or with adults and even professional players. Understanding the route to become a tennis coach helps determine whether this career path is for you. In this article, we define what a tennis coach does and share a step-by-step guide on how to become a tennis coach, with a list of their main responsibilities.

What is a tennis coach?

A tennis coach is someone who teaches tennis techniques and provides training to students. Tennis coaches work on a one-to-one basis or with groups of students to teach them how to play tennis properly. Their role often includes demonstrating techniques, organising games and holding competitions. Tennis coaches handle many responsibilities and require many skills to work successfully.

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How to become a tennis coach

Here's a step-by-step guide on how to become a tennis coach:

1. Make sure you have the correct foundations in tennis

The first step is ensuring you have the foundations to become a tennis coach. Ensure you have a passion for tennis and are physically active. If you have tennis experience and connections, these may help you progress into becoming a coach. To gain appropriate experience, you might start playing tennis regularly at the local tennis club or volunteering to assist in after-school clubs or private lessons.

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2. Research available courses

The next step is researching the courses you may pursue to become a qualified tennis coach. Check whether specific clubs require a degree qualification to become an assistant coach, as this depends on the goals of the club and the levels of the students you want to teach. If you want to teach tennis to children in schools or clubs, make sure you have a valid DBS check to demonstrate your suitability.

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3. Gain the Level 1 Coaching Assistant qualification

The first available qualification from the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) for those over the age of 16 is the Level 1 Coaching Assistant qualification. This qualification is a three-day course that provides an introduction to tennis coaching. This course is specially designed to develop your organisational and communication skills. After completing this course, you're qualified to teach beginners tennis as you have key knowledge of protection, health and safety for children.

During this three-day course, there's a three to six-week break designed to offer practical experience. This includes working alongside a coach and attending workshops to improve your knowledge and skills. Depending on what centre you use, the cost of this course may vary. Find out the exact cost by researching the closest centre to you.

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4. Gain the Level 2 Community Coach qualification

After completing the Level 1 qualification, the next step is to achieve the Level 2 Community Coach qualification. This five-day course builds on your skills and knowledge from Level 1 and enables you to build your coaching foundations. This means you learn how to lead coaching rather than assist coaching. This course teaches you to observe and analyse players' performance, provide advice from mental, physical and technical standpoints and deliver well-structured lessons.

After completing this course, you receive training in organising competitions and safeguarding, meaning you're accepted as a holder of the LTA Coach Accreditation. With this qualification, you may lead LTA Youth and Cardio Tennis courses as a tennis instructor.

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5. Complete the Level 3 Tennis Coach qualification

To progress from a tennis instructor role to that of a tennis coach, complete the Level 3 Tennis Coach qualification. This 12-day course builds upon your knowledge, strengthening your ability to coach beginners in group and individual lessons. During this course, you may also gain a thorough understanding of business management and the competitive tennis structure. The course also qualifies you to manage the work of tennis assistants and instructors working alongside you. There are three assessments attached to this qualification, including:

  • Practical assessment: This assessment takes place when you're leading a group lesson of tennis students. You're assessed on your teaching ability, demonstration of skill and maximisation of safety.

  • Portfolio: The portfolio of your work, study and training undergoes assessment via LTA Learn.

  • Video assessment: This assessment is a video recording you produce of yourself teaching an individual tennis lesson. Make sure your video demonstrates your teaching ability, interpersonal skills and technical knowledge.

6. Gain the Level 4 Senior Coach and Senior Performance Coach qualifications

The LTA aims these two courses at those who want to work as a head or lead tennis coach. The Senior Coach course develops your on-court teaching ability, allowing you to provide strong coaching to players of all ages and abilities. You gain specific knowledge about the best ways to approach training with regard to different genders and ages, and you're able to plan long-term player development.

The Senior Performance Coach course is typically tailored to those who want to help junior players perform internationally. This course provides knowledge about managing and preventing injuries during play and teaches the most effective ways to teach doubles and singles tennis.

7. Consider completing the Level 5 Master Coach qualification

This course is the highest LTA level course and is especially aimed at coaches who want to work at the highest level of the sport. Through on and off-court sessions, this course allows you to deliver high-quality on-court sessions and design unique coaching programmes for players. This course typically takes one to two years to complete, with nine months strongly devoted to course contact time with players.

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8. Apply for available roles

The final step is to find a job to apply for. Consider local job boards or reach out to your local sports centres to find vacancies for tennis coaches. Write a detailed and engaging CV, listing your acquired skills and qualifications that make you the best candidate to teach tennis as a coach. Refer specifically to your strengths as a tennis player and the levels or ages you wish to teach.

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What are the responsibilities of a tennis coach?

Tennis coaches manage a wide range of responsibilities, such as:

  • Maintaining safety: One of the biggest responsibilities of a tennis coach is to maintain physical safety at all times, especially when working with children. Teaching the correct technique also falls into this category to prevent player injury.

  • Nurturing a passion for tennis: Tennis coaches nurture and strengthen a player's passion for tennis. You do this by making lessons enjoyable, allowing players opportunities to develop and compete while building their skills and experience.

  • Teaching the technical skills and rules of tennis: Teaching the technical skills and rules of tennis to players is perhaps the core responsibility of a tennis coach. Ensuring players learn to play the sport correctly is a big step towards encouraging passion and ability.

  • Adapting lessons: When working on a one-to-one basis, tennis coaches adapt their lessons to suit the player. This may include considering their age, ability and fitness level.

  • Organising competitions: Tennis coaches also organise competitions and register players who wish to participate. Competitions are a great way to provide players with on-court experience and an opportunity to boost their skills.

  • Creating development plans: When tennis coaches have regular clients, they also create plans for future lessons. By doing this, tennis coaches gradually improve the player's abilities and develop their skills.

Please note that none of the companies, institutions or organisations mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

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