WHAT IS SAFEGUARDING TENNIS?
Safeguarding tennis aims to create safe and positive environments for participants to enjoy and prosper in tennis. Safe and positive environments are those within which participants can play, train and compete without fear of bullying, harassment or abuse.
The Tennis Professionals Association (TPA) and Tennis Canada are committed safeguarding tennis by delivering safe sport education and training, developing best practices and implementing current and comprehensive policies. The TPA’s safeguarding tennis initiative is aligned with the Responsible Coaching Movement (RCM) which is led by the Coaching Association of Canada (CAC).
WHAT CAN WE DO TO HELP SAFEGUARD TENNIS?
We all need to recognize the responsibility that we have in protecting our athletes. We all play a part in creating a safe and supportive environment that fosters positive growth and personal development for athletes, on and off the court. Education and awareness are the most critical components to creating a safe environment free of abuse and harassment. We can all help safeguard tennis by encouraging our tennis organizations to adopt safe sport education and screening requirements. Adopting these requirements is important because:
- We have an ethical and moral duty to protect our athletes.
- It is imperative that all persons in positions of authority be held to a high standard of conduct.
- It reduces the liability for coaches and club board members. Liability can extend to not only the perpetrator of the act, but also to an organization “sufficiently close” to make a claim of vicarious liability appropriate.
SAFE SPORT EDUCATION & SCREENING REQUIREMENTS
In accordance to CAC guidelines, Tennis Canada with the support of its provincial partners has made it mandatory for everyone that is coaching, instructing, or assisting and that is in a position of authority in all indoor and outdoor clubs in Canada to complete the following safe sport education and screening requirements:
Code of Conduct
- Online form
- Must be signed once a year
- Can be done online
- Must be completed every three years
Declaration of Character
- Online form
- Must be completed once a year
Respect in Sport for Activity Leaders
- Online education module
- Must be completed every three years
Importance of the Rule of Two
We also strongly encourage clubs to strengthen their policies and procedures regarding child safety and implement them in everyday practice. One of the easiest ways to do this is to educate all coaches and staff on the Rule of Two, which requires 2 screened and certified coaches to always be present with a single athlete or multiple athletes when in an enclosed space. The spirit of this rule is to ensure that both athlete and coach are not put in a vulnerable position. More information on how to implement the Rule of Two can be found here. Additional best practices for clubs can be found here.
HOW TO COMPLETE YOUR SAFE SPORT REQUIREMENTS
The TPA provides 3 options to help individuals complete their safe sport requirements. It is recommended that coaches complete their safe sport requirements through active TPA Certification that provides supplementary benefits and resources. If full TPA certification does not fit your needs, the Community Tennis Facilitator Training or the Online Safeguarding Education Program are also available for tennis club staff in the position of authority.
These comprehensive courses last several days and offer various levels of certification for instructors, club professionals, and coaches. Certification ensures proven competencies and is highly recommended for any individual involved in teaching tennis or running tennis programming.
Certification includes all benefits of TPA membership including liability insurance.
Community Tennis Facilitator Training
This non-certification five-hour in-person course plus online education/training includes safeguarding education, importance of quality standards to ensure retention and growth, age appropriate equipment, organizing play activities, and communicating effectively with children.
This course includes all benefits of TPA membership except liability insurance.
Online Safeguarding Education Program
This online-only option allows individuals to complete the four safe sport screening and education requirements: Respect in Sport for Activity Leaders Module, Background Check, Declaration of Character and Code of Conduct.
This option offers no specific tennis training, certification, or benefits of TPA membership.
What if I’m already a TPA member and I still need to complete my safe sport requirements?
If you are an active certified TPA coach and you still need to complete your safe sport requirements, please make sure you’re first signed into your TPA account and then use the links below to complete your Background Check and/or Respect in Sport Module for free:
The Respect in Sport training provides coaches with education to help manage sensitive situations in the correct manner and with the utmost respect for the athlete.
The Canadian government has launched Canada Sport Helpline, a national, toll-free, confidential helpline to support victims or witnesses of abuse, bullying, harassment, or discrimination in any area of sport, professional or amateur, whether by a coach, volunteer, parent, or another participant. The number is 1-888-83SPORT, or 1-888-837-7678, and the line is staffed from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. ET seven days a week.