Gary Horvath is a USPTA master pro, founder and past president of the USA Professional Platform Tennis Association, charter member of PPTR, a certified coach with USA Volleyball and a long-standing member of the Wilson Advisory Staff. 

Tennis Club Business
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His experience as a tennis pro has covered the entire spectrum from grassroots to college tennis. In addition, Gary Horvath has conducted extensive business and economic research that has largely supported the state of Colorado's economic development efforts.

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SHOW ME THE MONEY!

Welcome advice for making money on the court

By Gary Horvath

Hats off to the leaders of the Eastern, Florida, Hawaii, Midwest, New England, Pacific Northwest, and Southwest USPTA divisions for hosting a virtual conference on November 9-10 with the theme, Making Money on the Court.

 

Common Theme of Presentations

The common thread between the presentations was that financially successful teaching professionals are disciplined and innovative. Their staffs are well-trained and they run customer-centric programs. The following sections include summaries of the eight presentations

Len Simard - Hiring and Staffing for Success-Your Most Important Asset

As VP for Operations NCRC, Simard indicated that clubs are more productive, provide better customer service, and have lower employee turnover costs if they focus on hiring, educating, and retaining workers.

 

Tennis professionals should realize their role in the employee candidate process. Ongoing communication, including listening skills, is a critical part of the process. They must teach leadership skills in all phases of employee training, whether they mentor a desk clerk or a teaching professional. Simard recommended the book, Permission to Screw Up by Kristen Hadeed.

 

Tennis professionals must understand generational differences. For example, a majority of the workforce and the memberships at clubs are millennials and Gen Xers. In 10 to 15 years, the Gen Zers will replace them. The generations have different priorities.

 

On a slightly different note, Simard thought a recession in 2023 would have minimal impact on the tennis industry. The demographics of tennis players include higher wages and greater net worth. They will probably delay their travel and play tennis at their home club in an economic downturn.

Mike Woody - Four Programs You Must Have to Grow Tennis

As a VP for Genesis Health Clubs, Woody has identified four programs that every facility should have:

  • Adult Try and Learn League – Players will have a chance to sharpen their skills against players at a similar level.

  • Ten and Under programs – Juniors will learn to play the sport in a fun environment.

  • Free lesson Initiative or New Player programs – The goal is to introduce newcomers or welcome back players who have not played for a while.

  • Cardio Tennis – Players can cross-train in Cardio Tennis/fitness activities.

 

Woody emphasized that fully-trained professionals should teach at all levels, including the junior classes and the free programs. A mandatory focus is to ensure that learning is fun.

 

Finally, Woody cited metrics he uses to estimate the value of tennis professionals and members.

  • Every full-time professional should generate $100,000 to $150,000 in revenue.

  • Activity on each court should generate $100,000 to $200,000 per year.

  • Each new tennis player is worth $2,000 to $5,000 a year.

  • Each new family could be worth at least $6,000 to $15,000 annually.

  • One new client who takes one private every three weeks could generate about $7,000 per year (at $85 per hour).

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Butch Staples - How to Maximize Your Return on ROGY Junior Programming- Potentially your Best Profit Center

Butch Staples, National Sports Director for Midtown Clubs, said that teaching professionals must understand the concepts of tennis real estate and pricing.

 

Real Estate

The weekly program participation depends on how the real estate is used, particularly for junior tennis.

  • The fence-to-fence sq. ft. for a traditional outdoor tennis court is 7,200 sq. ft.

  • A single red court is 628 sq. ft., and four will fit on a full-sized court.

  • An orange court is 1,260 sq. ft., and two will fit on a full-sized court.

  • A green court is 2,160 sq. ft.

 

Lesson Pricing

Private and group lessons are a critical part of the program at any club. Tennis professionals must weigh customer satisfaction against revenue generation.

  • Private lesson prices are $85 to $100 per hour.

  • Group lesson prices (six participants) are $25 to $30 per person and $150 to $180 per hour.

 

Metrics

Staples used three basic metrics for measuring the success of his programs.

  • The number of participants per week.

  • The number of participants per court per week.

  • The number of participants per coach per week.

Meika Ashby Successful Tennis Programming to Increase Revenue

While other presenters talked about specific programs, Ashby, Director of Junior Development at The Oaks at Boca Raton, provided a five-step, fail-safe overview of the process she uses for running programs.

  1. Start with a big idea and define its purpose and objectives.

  2. Understand your ratios for the number of pros and courts for your event or activity. This information will determine the revenue generated from that activity.

  3. Identify your target market. Know the types of activities they like, the ideal times to hold those activities, and the preferred price range.

  4. Establish the financial structure for the program. Identify the sources of revenues, costs, and breakeven points.

  5. Use social media to reach the target market and achieve the required attendance.

 

Tom Daglis – 31 Money-Making Tips for Tennis Professionals

Daglis, an Executive Search Consultant, presented a list of time-tested events and activities to generate revenue. The presentation would have been even stronger if it had included marketing expertise from social media gurus such as Amy Choyne and Tracy Almeda-Singian.

 

Dominique Lemperle and Nancy Meyer – Pickleball can be a Money Maker

Lemperle, Esplanade Sports Court Director, and Meyer, Pickleball Professional JW Marriott, enthusiastically talked about the challenges they are overcoming to build a foundation for pickleball in Florida and Arizona.

  • Lemperle works at a facility with 450 pickleball players, 100 tennis players, and numerous bocce ball players. She has developed guidelines to accommodate players at different levels in all sports.

  • Meyer has held pickleball events to raise money for local charities.

  • Both helped support the sport in their community by helping their peers create programs. In some cases, they guided groups who needed to set up temporary courts for special events.

Their hard work, discipline, and creativity have allowed them to monetize pickleball. They made a statement that pickleball is here to stay.

Matt Previdi - The Complete Coach - Why stringing your players' racquets will increase profits and help your students improve faster

The presentation title added to the intrigue of what Previdi (Balboa Tennis Club Staff Pro) would discuss. Some of the highlights follow.

  • Everyone in the tennis business is knowledgeable about different industry segments, whether they are the grounds crew, the racquet stringer, or the director of racquet sports. Their unique perspectives and contributions to the sport should be valued.

  • Some players on the pro tour view their racquet stringers as gods and goddesses because they have unique knowledge about racquets ad strings. Tennis programs should have knowledgeable stringers who educate players about racquets and strings. Proper stringing can reduce injuries, improve performance, and increase the fun factor.

  • Tennis professionals should learn all aspects of their occupation and share that knowledge with their staff to include best practices for management and teaching.

  • Listen to your customers. They know better than anyone else how you can best serve them. There is a lot you can learn from them.

  • Seek knowledge from your peers in the industry. The body of knowledge is constantly changing.

  • Share your knowledge.

 

Brian Park - Developing Mental Habits and a System, Apeak Tennis

Park, CEO of Apeak, discussed how the content in his tennis app incorporates mental toughness concepts from the transformational research of Jim Loehr. Time will tell whether this app will help professionals differentiate themselves in their ability to teach mental toughness.

 

Concluding Thoughts

The tennis industry is fortunate to have these and so many other knowledgeable leaders who are willing to share their knowledge. If you have questions about their presentations or the summaries provided, please feel free to contact them.

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