Yesterday, Universal Tennis Rating (UTR) announced its new partnership with the Professional Tennis Registry (PTR), the international coaching certification organization started by Dennis Van der Meer and based in Hilton Head, South Carolina. The goal of the partnership is to “grow and enhance professional development resources for tennis teaching professionals and coaches.”
“I am really excited about PTR’s partnership with UTR. As the Head Women’s Tennis Coach at Georgia Tech, I believe UTR has truly enhanced our program, and college tennis overall,” said PTR President, Rodney Harmon. “PTR is committed to offering the best resources for our members, and I believe that UTR will be an invaluable tool for our professional coaches to grow the game at the local level.”
And today, UTR announced a partnership with the United States Professional Tennis Association (USPTA). Founded in 1927, the USPTA is the global leader in tennis-teacher certification and professional development. With more than 14,000 members worldwide, the association raises the standards of tennis-teaching professionals and coaches and promotes a greater awareness of the sport. The USPTA is the first tennis-teaching certification organization to receive provisional accreditation from the United States Tennis Association (USTA).
“Our mission is to elevate the standard of tennis-teaching professionals and coaches. As such, we want our members to have access to the best resources to develop professionally,” said John Embree, USPTA CEO. “The Universal Tennis product platform is proliferating and is increasingly valuable in helping professionals improve tennis quality, enjoyment and participation in their local communities.”
Under the agreements, Universal Tennis Rating (UTR) Powered by Oracle will become the official tennis rating of both PTR and USPTA. Universal Tennis will enable all PTR and USPTA teaching professionals to use its technology for free, providing the tools and products to fundamentally change the way tennis is played at clubs and municipalities worldwide.
Starting this summer, PTR and USPTA members will be able to access UTR’s database, which has 6.5 million match results from more than 700,000 players from 200 countries. Members can use UTR’s platform to register and communicate with players, create profiles and groups, develop tournament draws, post and submit scores, and compare players from around the world. Members will also be able to leverage UTR’s event management system to schedule and run tournaments, camps and clinics, and facilitate level-based play. The organizations will also partner on strategic marketing initiatives to support the growth and development of tennis and teaching professionals around the world.
Universal Tennis Chairman and CEO Mark Leschly had this to say about the two new partnerships: “PTR and Universal Tennis are fully aligned in our missions to offer tennis players, pros, coaches, and organizers a universal language and standard for tennis. We’re excited to partner with the USPTA to grow tennis here in the United States and abroad. Tennis professionals are key in establishing a love of the game and facilitating play for players of all ages and abilities.”
So, what does this all mean for Tennis Parents? My hope is that these two partnerships will lead to better education for junior coaches about what UTR is – and what it is not – and how to use the rating system to help our junior players reach their highest potential. As we all know, there seems to be a lot of confusion around what UTR can do, including people trying to figure out how to “game” the UTR system to better position their players for tournament selection, tournament seeding, and college recruiting. Through partnering with the two major certifying organizations, maybe UTR can eliminate this confusion and ensure that its system is used as it was first intended: to aid in overall player development.
UTR Chairman and CEO Mark Leschly is my guest on next week’s ParentingAces Podcast. The episode was recorded before these new partnerships were announced, but tune in anyway (!) and hear from Mark about what’s in store for UTR.