Recruit, Retain & Celebrate Sports Officials
How To Become A Tennis Official
Tennis participation is exponentially increasing, and with it, the number of events that require certified Officials. Tennis is a year-round sport played across the country, allowing Officials to create flexible schedules at a variety of levels including the junior, adult, wheelchair, collegiate and professional levels. Tennis Officials have a responsibility to ensure a positive experience for the sport.
Why real officials love what they do
Big games, the roar of the crowd, the anticipation, getting ready for the game beforehand. There is a feeling there that I really enjoyed as a player, and officiating has provided me with that same feeling again.Taylor EbsaryBuffalo, NY., current boys official.
You gotta get into this, this is a great way to get active, make great money, meet nice people and have a really good timeAlexandria MezzanotteForest Hill, MD., current girls official.
Things To Consider
The majority of USTA (United States Tennis Association) events are community-level events that have Roving Umpires and Referees working them. Roving Umpires oversee one or more courts and their hours may vary depending on the size of the event. Referees are responsible for overseeing all aspects of play, ensuring competition is played fairly. Additional disciplines in tennis officiating include Chair Umpires, Line Umpires, and Chief Umpires. Chair Umpires are responsible for conducting one match in accordance with the ITF Rules of Tennis and USTA regulations. They may work a few matches a day depending on the size of the event. Line Umpires are responsible for calling all shots directed at their assigned lines. Chief Umpires are responsible for organizing logistics for officials and assigning them.
No matter the level of play, tennis is a fast-paced game, and officials are expected to analyze situations, interpret rules and make decisions, often in a split second. Officials may work a variety of hours at an event so a critical component is mental preparation.
As part of required and optional education resources, the USTA provides a mix of online and in-person training offered at no cost. The online training can be done at your own pace.
At minimum an official must have:
- USTA Uniform shirt*
- USTA Uniform hat*
- Khaki shorts/pants
- Flipping coin*
- Tape measure*
- Friend at Court (rulebook)*
- Court bag
*Newly-certified officials receive a welcome kit with the starred items above to set them on the path to success.
USTA Officials may be paid at either a daily or hourly rate, depending on the location. Rates can vary widely depending on the level of the event and the location where you are working.
The USTA offers a free mentoring program to connect tennis Officials across the country. The customized mentoring program focuses on matching Officials based on their individual goals and preferences. The program has something to offer for everyone and we encourage Officials of all levels and disciplines to take advantage of this opportunity. New Officials, veteran Officials, and all those in-between can benefit from being a mentee. In many cases, mentors in the program will also be mentees themselves.
Upon completion of the USTA Officiating certification, officials generally begin their journey at junior, adult and/or wheelchair events. The majority of these events are assigned at the local level and can range from one-day events to over a week-long events. Your local section chairperson will be in contact with you to assist with assignments.
Once you are certified as a USTA Official, you can become certified through the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) for collegiate officiating. The ITA oversees officiating at the NCAA (DI, DII & DII), NAIA and junior college levels. The annual requirements include paying a membership fee, passing an open book test, and attending a webinar covering rules specific to collegiate competition. For more information, please visit www.wearecollegetennis.com/officials or email email@example.com.
Opportunities at the professional level may become available once you have gained adequate experience and proficiency in the rules. Professional tennis is governed by the ATP, WTA and ITF. The USTA pathway helps tennis Officials develop toward obtaining certifications at this level.
National Association of Sports Officials
You may also consider joining NASO, the only nation-wide officials support organization. As a member-driven community; NASO exists to unite, celebrate, develop and protect all officials so that they can reach their goals and take pride in their contributions to the benefits that sports provide society.
Learn more about NASO at NASO.org.