By Collin Matiza
From the humble beginnings in Harare’s high-density suburb of Mufakose, Zimbabwe’s Julius Mashonganyika has now firmly established himself as one of the most respected tennis coaches in the United States.
Mashonganyika, a product of Albert Nhamoyebonde’s Mufakose Tennis Coaching Agency in Zimbabwe, received another feather in his already colourful tennis coaching cap when the United States Professional Tennis Association awarded him a Level 2 Certificate of Achievement for earning 20 credits in the association’s Career Development Programme over a one-year period.
In 2014, the USPTA also awarded Mashonganyika with a Level 1 Certificate of Achievement for earning 14 credits in their Career Development Programme of that year and the Zimbabwean coach has been rewarded again with the same honour for 2019.
This came after Mashonganyika, a certified member of the USPTA, successfully participated in the association’s continuing education programme during the whole year.
Mashonganyika has helped the association to elevate the industry’s standards for tennis-teaching professionals and earn the credibility and respect of the entire tennis industry in the United States, said USPTA chief executive, John Embree.
“As an association, we know that career development is vital to our tennis-teaching professionals and coaches.
“Through our Career Development Programme, we are ensuring all USPTA-certified members are equipped with the knowledge and skills to enhance their careers.
“To see our members taking advantage of those educational opportunities and striving to earn more than the six-credit requirement personifies a commitment to personal and professional excellence.”
USPTA members work as tennis directors, club managers, teaching professionals and instructors at public and private tennis facilities in the United States.
They serve as the sport’s primary delivery system of grassroots programmes to grow the game and are a leading influence among recreational and club players for tennis equipment and services.
The USPTA is the world’s leading association of tennis-teaching professionals and coaches. Its members continuously strive for improvement and professional development through continuing education courses offered by experts in the field.
The USPTA also provide their members with education opportunities in areas including tennis-teaching, sport science and business management.
Embree said the continuing education opportunities USPTA members receive ultimately serve to create a more positive tennis experience for the club, coach, player and community at large.
“The USPTA is proud to recognise Julius (Mashonganyika) for exemplary pursuit of professional development.”
Founded in 1927, the USPTA is the global leader in tennis-teacher certification and professional development. With more than 14 000 members worldwide, the association raises the standards of tennis-teaching professionals and coaches and promotes a greater awareness of the sport.
Mashonganyika is the first tennis coach from Africa to be a USPTA Elite Professional and High Performance coach.
And, speaking to The Herald from his base in Virginia, United States, yesterday, Mashonganyika said his main aim is to promote and develop tennis in Zimbabwe by building some tennis academies and forming clubs in the rural primary and secondary schools and also conducting tennis coaching clinics for school teachers, PE teachers and sports masters.
“We need maximum support from the Ministry of Sport and the corporate world to kick-start our tennis development programme. Without funding we can’t grow. We have several senior tennis professional coaches in all provinces in Zimbabwe who can help with the growth of our country’s tennis.”
Mashonganyika grew up playing tennis at Mufakose Tennis Coaching Agency in Harare under the guidance of Nhamoyebonde, who is the founder and the director of MTCA.