As Tennis Canada continues to prioritize safe sport, coaches across the country are seeing the benefits. In an effort to safeguard the sport, many of them are joining the Tennis Professionals Association (TPA). In fact, as of November 2019, 75 organizations and year-round facilities in Canada employ fully active TPA members only.
One of those members is Aditya Madhavan.
At 31-years-old, Aditya coaches at the North Vancouver Tennis Centre in British Columbia. Originally from Chennai, India, he moved to Canada at the age of 24. His path to becoming a coach in this country isn’t necessarily one that’s well-trodden – although his reasons for taking up the role, including his passion for the sport, are a familiar tale.
“In my years as a research student, I taught classes and grew more aware of what students across the board connect with from a coach,” he began. “After I started to play again, from the interactions I began to have with other players, it became apparent that I was able to connect the sport with people in a way that boosts their play.
“At about that time, I figured I should probably look into getting certified and start coaching professionally. Ultimately, though, I became a coach to help make tennis a safe, enjoyable and accessible sport for all those who are curious and interested in it.”
Earlier this year, CBC News and Sport released a three-part series on safe sport. Their investigation found that at least 222 coaches who were involved in amateur sports in Canada have been convicted of sexual offences since 1998, involving more than 600 victims under 18. Read the first part in the series by clicking here.
Joining the TPA requires applicants to submit a completed background check (free for all members), a declaration of good character, an acknowledgement of the code of conduct along with a small fee, which goes directly back into coaching development.
New for 2020, as part of the safeguarding requirements, the TPA membership process also calls for applicants to complete the Respect in Sport for Activity Leaders module, which is free for full-certified coaches and provides them with ‘personal development’ points.
So, what did Aditya think of the process? “It was very straight forward,” he answered. “Signing up for the TPA takes less than five minutes.”
There’s no denying that safeguarding is vitally important – but it’s also key to remember that’s not all there is to the TPA. Members receive an array of benefits, from insurance to new equipment for their clubs. Having signed up just in the last year or so, Aditya has seen first hand just how rewarding membership can be – not least in ensuring his credibility remains at an all-time high.
“There are so many reasons for a coach to be a part of the TPA,” he said. “The TPA allows access to the cutting edge of tennis development in Canada, and beyond. Career opportunities, equipment discounts, tennis news, liability insurance and so much more.
“Most importantly, it is necessary as it provides a coach with credibility each time they step on or off the court. Without the TPA, any individual can claim to know and coach tennis and that lowers the credibility of genuine hard-working coaches in the country.”
But not only is it essential to Aditya that he is TPA certified, it’s imperative to the people he coaches too.
“I feel it is very important for them [to know I am part of the TPA],” he commented. “That way they know that I come from an organization that fosters the growth of the sport in a safe, effective and fun way. Without the backing of the organization, that level of trust is tough to gain in today’s environment.”
To sign up for the Tennis Professionals Association, please click here.
The Canadian Sport Helpline has been launched to provide a safe place for victims and witnesses of harassment, abuse and discrimination to speak in confidence to a neutral third party and get the help they need.
This professional listening and referral service is available from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., seven days a week, by phone or text at 1-888-83SPORT (77678), and by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.