In-Depth Look: Athletic Trainer for the United States Tennis Association
Robert Walls, MS, ATC, CES, PES, FRC.m is an Athletic Trainer (AT) for the United States Tennis Association.
How long have you been practicing as an AT?
I’ve spent 19 years working in the athletic training profession.
Describe your typical day:
On any given day, I could have 1 to 30 athletes scheduled for treatment while they are in the area. We have tennis players who are consistently traveling so there is no consistent schedule.
The tennis season goes from end of December to November and there are several levels of tournaments. I travel roughly 20 weeks a year, from local to worldwide. In a typical tournament, I will take care of any tennis player from the United States. This includes players in qualifying rounds all the way to the final player in the tournament.
What do you like about your position?
I love having the ability to use my manual skills on players and staff. I also love being able to collaborate with the top physicians and physical therapist worldwide. There is always new techniques to learn, which can help give my patients the best possible outcomes.
What advice do you have about your practice setting for a young AT looking at this setting?
My advice to young ATs getting in to the field of athletic training is to network. Work hard and learn as much as you can. Manual therapy is great to make yourself more practical in the field.
My advice to new ATs in professional tennis is to watch and learn! There are some great treatments out there and lots more to learn. Also, make sure to ask as many questions as possible. It’s the only way to learn.