Becoming a tennis official
Want to have a front row seat to all the action? Want to be part of running your own competitions? Want to make a difference in your local tennis community?
Then a tennis official's role might be just for you.
There’s a whole host of different tennis official roles you can get involved with, including:
- Line or Chair Umpire
- Competition Organiser
- Court Supervisor
If you’re interested in becoming a tennis Official but don’t know where to start, we’ve got all the info you need.
Here’s a helpful guide on how you can take your first steps – who knows, maybe one day you’ll be on your way to officiate at Wimbledon!
What is a Tennis Competition Organiser?
Well, these are the people who run and organise competitions all over Great Britain at a recreational level. They can often help referees organise and deliver larger regional and national competitions.
To become a Competition Organiser you will need to attend a three-hour course – this will help you with all the basics on running local Grade 6, Grade 7 and ungraded events.
Anyone can take the course – you don’t need any experience – but you must be over the age of 16.
So, what’s on the course? Here’s a snapshot of what you can expect to learn about:
- Competition framework, ratings and rankings
- Running a competition from start to finish – competition creation to submitting results
- Formal and informal competition formats
- Creating the best competition experience possible
The course isn’t assessed and any LTA Accredited Coaches will receive three credits for taking part. You’ll also get a host of resources to help you run competitions in the future.
Great news – virtual courses are available to book now!
Our Court Supervisors make sure every competition runs as smoothly as possible.
These unsung heroes support referees in running larger competitions and look after a number of courts to ensure everyone is having the best experience possible. They will also handle any on court disputes and manage player’s behaviour.
Anyone over the age of 16 can become a Court Supervisor – you just have to complete a free online course.
During your free course you’ll cover:
- The role of a Court Supervisor
- Key skills and qualities for Court Supervisors
- Key rules and procedures for Court Supervisors
- The code of conduct
- Line call disputes
- Score disputes
At the end of the course you will be assessed by a timed exam – if you pass, you qualify as a Court Supervisor!
Game, set and match – welcome to the world of the tennis umpire.
There are two different types of umpires in tennis:
- Line Umpire – who call the lines on the tennis court
- Chair Umpire – who calls the match score and upholds the rules of tennis
Tennis Line Umpire
To become a Line Umpire, first, you need to attend and pass a one-day basic Line Umpire course.
The Basic Line Umpire course will give you an introduction to line umpiring and prepare you with all the basic skills you’ll need on court.
Tennis Chair Umpire
To be invited to apply for a Chair Umpire Accreditation course, you will need to have built experience as a Line Umpire.
These two-day courses are run twice a year and are packed full of expert information and teachings to help you become a Chair Umpire.
It includes a mix of on-court and classroom activities with an exam at the end. Pass the exam and you’re ready to Chair Umpire your first match!
Tennis referees are responsible for looking after all players at a competition and making sure everyone is following the rules of the game.
To become a referee, you must complete a two-day course as well as a mentored experience at a competition, in between.
But, before you can apply for your course you should make sure that:
- You have completed the Competition Organiser course or have relevant experience in organising competitions
- You have completed the pre-course reading (which will be sent ahead of the course)
Here’s a breakdown of what you’ll cover in the Tennis Referee course:
- Fair play
- Rules of tennis
- Code of conduct
- Refereeing duties
- Practical experience
- Shadowing (at least two) qualified referees at three competitions
- Role of the court supervisor
- Handling situations, such as on-court disputes
- Tournament organisation
- Tournament experience
As well as the assessment during the event, at the end of the course you will have to complete a workbook and an exam.
If you pass (big congratulations), you’ll be able to referee and organise Grade 4, Grade 5, Grade 6, Grade 7, Mini Tennis and Matchplay events.
Officials who are based in the United Kingdom who have relevant experience from overseas should contact us to officiate in the UK.
Officials License Scheme
Our officials licence scheme grants accreditation to officials in Britain and offers an easy way for parents, players and tennis venues to identify those who meet our professional standards.
Officials are required to have completed and passed either a Referee Course or Basic Line Umpire Course or having passed the Court Supervisor Course before they can join as well as having completed a criminal record check in the last 12 months.
Once you’ve passed your course you will be sent details on how to apply.