PTR on Campus Program Trains and Certifies Full-Time Students
With a double major in marketing and business management, Ondrej Vana plans to get a job in business after he graduates in 2008 from Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia, Ark. He’ll always have a second career option, however, since he became a certified teaching pro through the Professional Tennis Registry’s “PTR on Campus” program.
“I expected to learn a lot, but not as much as I did,” says 23-year-old Vana, a native of the Czech Republic. “I know how to play tennis, but it was hard to explain it, especially because I’m an international student. But that’s not a problem at all now. I really appreciate the PTR taking the time to do this.”
Vana’s teammate, 20-year-old senior Chris Jones of Jonesboro, Ark., has been using his new tennis teaching skills at a summer sports camp at the T Bar M Resort & Conference Center in New Braunfels, Texas. “The PTR program was great for me. I hadn’t considered teaching tennis as a profession before, but it is something I see myself doing until I finish with college and graduate school,” Jones says. “The free certification was incredible, and I would certainly recommend it to other students.”
PTR on Campus trains and certifies high school and college tennis players for a career as a tennis teaching professional. In exchange for a free, 10-hour certification course, participants are asked to perform 10 hours of community service teaching tennis, preferably in a multicultural community.
Designed for full-time students 16 to 23 years old with at least a 4.0 rating, the free “PTR Teaching Essentials Workshop” (normally $95) usually takes place over the course of a weekend. Students may also purchase a PTR membership for the standard $100 initiation fee plus $25 annual renewal dues instead of the regular $125 fee (until they finish their undergraduate program). Optional liability insurance is offered for $20 for students, instead of $40.
Dan Santorum, CEO of the PTR, says PTR on Campus was created as a proactive solution to the anticipated retirement in the next five to 10 years of thousands of teaching professionals who began their careers during the 1970s tennis boom. By offering free education and special introductory prices on membership, Santorum says the hope is for program participants to ultimately fill tennis teaching jobs at parks, camps, clubs, and resorts nationwide. Until they graduate, he notes, students who are certified can teach during summers and throughout the school year to earn money that may help pay for college.
“We are graying as an organization and facing a huge void of experience,” says Santorum, noting that the average age of a PTR member (as of June 2006) is 45.74 years. “Tennis is growing, and this program is the PTR’s way of building a workforce of young teaching pros to meet that growth.”
PTR on Campus was launched as a pilot program for the University of Washington’s women’s tennis team in November 2004, at which time about 15 current and recently graduated team players became PTR-certified. Patty Fendick-McCain, a former Top 20 WTA Tour player who was Washington’s head coach at that time, says she was especially attracted to the program’s community-service component.
“As a college coach, I always felt we could do more [to benefit] inner-city tennis,” says Fendick-McCain, a two-time NCAA Division I singles champion who is now head women’s tennis coach at the University of Texas in Austin, “but I didn’t know how to connect the dots.”
Since PTR on Campus was officially announced at the 2005 US Open, colleges and universities that have hosted PTR on Campus have included Furman University, Penn State, St. Mary’s University, South Carolina State University, Texas Tech University, and the University of South Alabama.
Emilien Rabin, who was one of eight Ouachita players who participated in PTR on Campus last fall, says he gained confidence as well as teaching knowledge. Originally from Beaupreau, France, 24-year-old Rabin — who graduated in May 2006 from Ouachita Baptist — now works at the Polo Tennis and Fitness Club in Austin.
“It was good to be [among] only a few people in order to be able to ask many questions. It is also fun because you get certified with people you know,” Rabin says. “Bringing the classes to campus made it really convenient and easy.”
For more information about PTR on Campus, visit ptrtennis.org.
See all articles by Cynthia Cantrell
About the Author
Cynthia Cantrell is a contributing editor of RSI magazine.