USTA Player Development Coaching Fellowship

USTA Player Development’s Postgraduate Fellowship Program in Professional Coaching can kick-start your coaching career.
March 20, 2018 11:03 AM

By Christina Aguis

Have you ever thought of becoming a coach? Are you having trouble kick-starting your coaching career? Look no further than USTA Player Development’s Postgraduate Fellowship Program in Professional Coaching. 

It is an 11-week, high-level coaching program at the USTA National Campus geared towards recent college graduates. A three-week classroom setup begins the program by familiarizing participants with the National Campus and the USTA’s coaching philosophy in a high-performance working environment. 

Fellows meet many of the coaches at the National Campus and learn how Player Development operates before getting paired up with a mentor. Depending on the coach, some fellows may immediately travel with their new mentors.

Katelyn Stokes, a member of the 2017 fellowship class, shadowed USTA National Coach Lori Riffice and traveled with her to Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and Alpharetta, Ga. Her favorite part about traveling was getting to know the coaches personally. 

“When you’re not on the road, you come back here [to the National Campus] and have some down time,” Stokes said. “You can go out and watch the pros practice and talk to them and some of their coaches. We can go in the strength and conditioning offices and ask what they are doing. Everyone is open."

Another member of the 2017 fellowship class, Jeremy Efferding, said that his favorite part of the program was being paired with the mentors. 

“They are high-level and incredible coaches,” said Efferding, who shadowed Stephen Huss, Sylvain Guichard, Eric Nunez and several others. “I got to learn from some of the best coaches in the world and get their expertise. I picked their brains on a daily basis.” 

The fellowship also provides a range of education programs and can cater to the interests of each participant. The program teaches coaching at all levels, including 12-and-under, juniors, college and transitioning professionals. 

Stokes and Efferding both benefitted from the USTA’s growth mentality, which was crystallized in Carol Dweck’s “The Growth Mindset,” a book given out to all fellows. 

“When you come in here the environment is positive and different,” Stokes explained. “Everyone has the same goal and it’s all about growth. As a player going into the program, I walked out with a fresh pair of eyes for the game.”

Efferding agreed. “It’s an organizational philosophy that the USTA has as a fundamental mindset.” 

“You can always grow and get better. Where you’re at now isn’t always where you’re going to be,” Efferding said. “If you stick to the process, then the results will follow and you can always improve.” 

Efferding still refers to his copy of “The Growth Mindset” in his role as an assistant coach at Georgia Tech. 

Both Efferding and Stokes enjoyed successful tennis careers before transitioning into coaching. Stokes played Division I college tennis at Howard University in Washington D.C., and decided to go through the program when she realized that an office job wasn’t for her after she graduated. 

“Once I graduated, I got an office job first and that was the worst, so I had to go back to tennis,” she laughed. “I went back and played professional and USTA Pro Circuit tournaments and then I got into coaching. I just figured that this was a great program for young coaches to get that recognition and credibility because it’s really tough, depending on which area you want to coach in.”

Efferding, a former ITA All-American at Texas A&M and a former professional player, joined the program after an injury. He heard about the program from his former coach, Martin Blackman. 

“I was going through a back injury and he said, ‘While you’re recovering, try the fellowship program out and see where you can see yourself in the future.’” 

Anyone interested in following the path of Stokes and Efferding in the Postgraduate Fellowship Program is encouraged to submit an application.  

To learn more, visit the USTA Player Development homepage and apply online at USTA PD Fellowships.

The ideal candidate is someone with a genuine passion for coaching, college or team tennis experience, coaching experience and advanced knowledge of the game. 

The USTA houses fellows in apartments near the USTA National Campus.