Tennis Canada prioritizes safe sport as one of its major initiatives and is proud to announce an increasing number of coaches across the country are becoming Tennis Professionals Association (TPA) members in an effort to safeguard the sport. As of March 15, 2019, an impressive 45 organizations and year-round facilities employed TPA-member coaches exclusively.
There are currently 2,200 coaches nationally who are TPA members in good standing. And those coaches have a message for their colleagues: join them in keeping our sport safe.
Click here to view the list of fully-compliant organizations and year-round facilities.
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.
HEADStart Tennis Academy in Lantz, Nova Scotia ensures all its coaches are fully-compliant TPA members. Co-Owner Jamie Power believes it is impossible to place too much emphasis on employing certified coaches. He commented:
“At HEADstart Tennis we pride ourselves on having fully-certified coaches and active members of the Tennis Professionals Association. We believe that all reputable facilities should ensure this to lend to the credibility of our own certifications and professional standards.”
Wayne Elderton, Tennis Director at North Vancouver Tennis Centre, agrees. He said: “Who would risk engaging with a non-certified accountant, or a dentist that has no insurance, or a lawyer that is not in good standing with the legal board? To be part of a highly credible professional association adds to every coach’s professionalism.”
The purpose of the TPA is to grow the sport and profession of tennis throughout Canada by providing certification, professional development and services to its members. All that is required to sign up is a completed background check (free for all TPA members), a declaration of good character, an acknowledgement of the code of conduct and a small fee, which goes directly back into coaching development.
In return, its members receive an array of benefits, from insurance to new equipment for their clubs. Gary Caron, Director of Athletics at Granite Club in Toronto, Ontario, commented:
“Anytime the benefits outweigh the costs it is an easy choice to make and becoming a TPA member gives you so many benefits from liability insurance to unlimited PD resources, discounted equipment and great networking opportunities.”
Aside from the safeguarding, benefits and avenues for employment it opens, coaches are also becoming part of the TPA because it gives them a sense of pride. Danny Da Costa, CEO of Osten & Victor Alberta Tennis Centre, feels that being a member of the association ensures he is looked up to by his colleagues and the individuals he coaches. He added:
“I am proud to be a TPA member as I want to support the Canadian tennis industry, Tennis Canada and the advancement of tennis in Canada. As a club leader, I want to ensure our organization operates as a world-class tennis centre with Canada’s top tennis professionals. I want to be a role model for our clubs and club leaders to follow suit in supporting the game.”
But it’s not just the existing TPA-member coaches and club leaders who see the value in the association. Many parents of children who are members of tennis clubs across Canada understandably have zero-tolerance when it comes to the individuals teaching their loved ones.
Tulla Bateman is a Tennis Canada employee and a mother who currently enrols her child in tennis programming. She is adamant there is no excuse for any coach to refrain from enrolling in the TPA and praised the organizations and year-round facilities that settle for nothing less from their employees. She said:
“As both a parent of a child in tennis and a member of a summer club executive, ensuring the safety of children is a top priority. My child, and all the children at our club, are entitled to a safe environment in which to play tennis. It’s important that the coaches being trusted with their safety all have valid background checks, relevant certification and have completed a code of conduct, as TPA-member coaches have.
“The more tennis facilities across the country that employee fully-compliant, TPA-member coaches the better. I would hope that any coaches that aren’t TPA members take the necessary steps to become part of the association for the sake of our children and their parents’ peace of mind.”
Parents across the country concur. One in particular, who wishes to remain anonymous, commented on the positive impact the sport has had, not just on their daughter’s athletic abilities but on her life as a whole. In their opinion, without the high-quality guidance and support she received from their club’s TPA-member coaches, that wouldn’t have been possible. The parent, based in Toronto, Ontario, said:
“Having a coach that is a TPA member is a minimum safety blanket that we wanted for our child. Tennis has been an important aspect of our daughter’s life, and high-quality coaching has been paramount to her success, both on and off the court.
“Given the amount of hours she spent with her coach, and in training squads with other coaches, relationships were built over time, and it was important to know they had the qualifications and personal attributes to help navigate adversity, and also expectations.”
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.
(Feature photo: Mauricio Paiz)