Colorado Provisional Tennis Umpire Process

If you are not already a member of the USTA, you must join.

Download a PDF of the latest version of Friend at Court. It is a good idea to start reviewing it now and repeatedly during your training process. 

You will need a printed copy for your mentoring assignments. Once you are certified, the USTA will send you a free copy in each successive year. For this first year, you can buy a copy from the USTA. Their Customer Care Center is open between the hours of 9 am – 2 am EST. To place your order or check the status of an existing order, please call toll-free at 1-866-898-8061. You can also order online here: www.ustashop.com/product/9126/usta-friend-at-court-2018-handbook

You must complete the Safe Play training module and test which are provided by the USTA and the Safe Sport organization. Since you may be officiating at junior tennis, this is a mandatory step. Please take good notes during each step in the online training modules, because the questions at the end of each module are very specific.

While registering for the training, you need to enter the participating organization: United States Tennis Association. Please use this access code: SSFD-CST3-95CL-QBN5 

You need to pass a criminal background check which is paid for by USTA. The process after you complete the simple questionnaire can take 10 days. You can start this process while you are completing the Safe Play modules.

Much of the very practical interpretations of the rules were removed from Friend at Court in the 2016 edition. These scenario reviews will be very beneficial in your understanding of applying the rules. After a thorough review of Friend at Court and the scenarios’ materials, you will be ready to complete the Online Courses with passing necessary to be certified as a Provisional Umpire.

Those courses are:

  • Introduction to Officiating
  • Rules & Regulations 1-3
  • Roving Umpire 1
  • Referee 1
  • Roving Umpire 2

The CTUA requires that officials in training successfully complete the USTA Provisional Umpire Test. This was a long-standing policy of the USTA before its introduction of the online modules in 2016.

This test has been written from the USTA Tournament Regulations and the Rules of Tennis. As an OPEN BOOK TEST, it is designed for you to answer questions, and to become familiar with Friend at Court. There are 80 questions. All questions have short multiple choice, or True and False answers. Your answers are limited to the choices on the test. Don’t find a better answer. You are limited to answers on the test.

As you go through the test, answers are immediately graded. When you complete all 80 answers, you will know your score and result. Please provide this information to your CTUA contact.

The USTA requires that officials in training successfully complete the USTA Vision Form. Submit to the USTA a physician’s or an optometrist’s statement attesting that the official has 20/20 visions, either corrected or uncorrected in each eye.

The USTA updates this Form each year. For the current year form see below.

The Colorado Tennis Umpires Association is just that–our association of USTA-certified tennis officials in Colorado (and a little bit of southern Wyoming). Our association also has dedicated schedulers who match up the available tournaments with the officials who would like to work them. Almost all tennis events in Colorado utilize the CTUA and exclusively schedule officials through us. While membership in the CTUA is optional, our schedulers only utilize CTUA members.

The CTUA annual dues are $45, and you will receive the following benefits: mentoring by experienced officials in order to become a USTA Provisional Official; access through the web-based portal UMP to apply for and be assigned to the tournaments which you would like to work; and training/evaluating during selected tournaments which will provide feedback on your progress as a USTA Provisional Official. For this step in the process, please send a check made payable to CTUA here: CTUA, 7840 Curlew Court, Colorado Springs, CO 80920, and please mark “New Official” on the memo line.

The USTA changed the uniform for officials in 2016. You will find the Uniform Guide as an attachment. You will see that most of the gear is generic, and you can use your own gear: khaki shorts or long pants; brown/tan leather or cloth belt; white socks; non-marking sports or athletic shoes of almost any color except neon; and navy blue jacket or windbreaker with NO logos. The minimum which you will have to buy is a USTA Polo long or short sleeve shirt. Since most of our work is in the warmer months, I would recommend the short sleeve shirt. Only the USTA logo red hat with “Official” on it is allowed. However, any red hat without any logo (e.g., no Nike swoosh hats) can be worn. The short sleeve shirt is $24, long sleeve is $28, and the hat is $17.50. The various logo jackets and vests are also listed.

You will need at least the logo shirt to start the mentoring program noted below.

Begin to assemble the New Officials Information Packet of 15 documents.

You can print these items from this section of the website, and here is the link:

Once you have these materials, please review them for your two mentoring assignments. You will also be able to refer to and utilize these items during you officiating career.

The objective of our mentoring program is to provide guidance and instruction which will enable new officials to handle on and off-court situations with knowledge and confidence. New officials will be placed with an experienced official to work real match situations at an appropriate tournament: Prepare your own Rover’s Kit as explained in the Roving Checklist.

One item that is a must is a stopwatch. A good choice is a Sportline brand, and Dicks Sporting Goods usually has them in stock for $12-18.

This will be a four-hour session and includes the following: a brief review of rules or procedures drawn from the documents which you have reviewed; this will also be your time to ask questions before moving on-court; then you will be taken through normal steps as a roving official; the experienced official will handle all of the duties and responsibilities while also asking you rule questions based on the Training Scenarios; toward the end of the session, you will move off-court and review the scenarios from the day with your mentor. At the end the two of you will have a discussion in order to determine whether you are ready for the second mentoring assignment, which is a full-day assignment.

Here is a link to the Training Scenarios:

This will consist of a full eight-hour day at a USTA-designated tournament. During the first two hours, you will shadow the mentor; the next two hours, the mentor will shadow you; in the last four hours, you will work independently with the mentor observing you from off-court.

At the end of this process, the mentor will review your performance and decide whether additional training is required, or whether the new official is ready to handle assignments independently.

You will need to complete a W-9 form and send it to our treasurer, Pat Zuraski at: 7840 Curlew Court, Colorado Springs, CO 80920.

We process all payment by EFT, so you will also need to send your bank info to him: bank name, routing number and account number.

If you have successfully reached this stage, you will be added to the list of Colorado officials as a USTA Provisional Official. At that point, your mentor will review the process of working with UMP which is the web-based portal for the following: notice of upcoming tournaments sent to you by email; applying for the work assignments of your choice; and accepting the assignments when you are chosen by the scheduler.

Our standard fee will certainly not enrich you, but we find the experience rewarding. A standard eight-hour day provides $120 in compensation with $20/per hour of overtime and additional fees for mileage.

Becoming a tennis official in Colorado is the first step in a long process that could lead you to working tournaments here or all across the country.