HI FROM PRAIRIE VILLAGE, KANSAS
On her LinkedIn page, Cate writes, "I help sports industry pros grow their online network"
My name is Cate Crandell from Prairie Village in Kansas.
Cate Crandell spent the last 15 years building service-based businesses by showing up authentically online. She grew a business in the event industry from one location to 11 nationwide, went viral on Instagram for unique visual storytelling, and led the marketing department for a top-producing real estate team. In 2022 she left her corporate job to fully immerse herself in the racquets industry to help pros grow their personal brands to fill their courts. As Communications Director for the fastest-growing certification program for Directors of Racquets Sports at the University of Florida, she has her finger on the pulse of online certification for professionals of racquet sports.
My take: All the best to you, Cate. I heard good things about UF-DORS. If any of our readers want to connect with her, Cate Crandell is on LinkedIn. Btw, the next article was submitted by Cate Crandell. Good topic!
FILL YOUR COURTS THROUGH PERSONAL BRANDING
By Cate Crandell - catecrandell.com - linkedin.com/in/catecrandell
The word “brand” is often immediately associated with a logo, a website, and a company. Yet there’s another type of brand you may not have heard of yet: personal branding. Personal branding gives you control over your income and schedule by filling your courts. Unless you’re a robot, there are many things about you that make you unique (and even then, AI is developing a personality, but that’s a topic for another day). So… what is personal branding, how do you do it, and why does it matter?
What Is Personal Branding
Personal branding is who you are, what you stand for, and what makes you unique. It follows you everywhere you go, which is why it’s the key to filling your courts without relying on someone else’s marketing to do so. Even celebrities have personal brands outside of their paid product endorsements and partnerships. They talk about entrepreneurship, fitness, anti-bullying, and family. They’re all top players, yet what they do off the court is what makes them stand out.
How Do You Create a Personal Brand?
Just be you. There’s work involved which I promise will save you time later. The more clear you can get as to who you are, what you stand for, and what makes you unique the easier it will be to come up with things to talk about which then has you connecting to the right people. This involves defining the topics you know well, your values, your story, and your passions and hobbies on and off the court.
Why Does it Matter?
People buy from people they trust; not companies. When you talk more about who you are, you’ll begin connecting to more people. Soon you’ll find people in your classes who feel like they know you - even though they don’t - because what you’ll be sharing in person and online is relatable. Since people will be coming to your class for you, you don’t have to rely on a marketing team. And, if you’re building your personal brand online, you’ll be able to reach more people thanks to the power of social networking. As the owner of your personal network and contacts: no one can take it from you.
By taking the time to clarify who you are and what matters most to you, you'll find yourself naturally connecting to like-minded people... and then building relationships. When you start doing these two things, people will start coming to you. While they don't actually know you, they'll feel like they do. With your personal brand, you will build trust by authentically showing up as YOU, sharing valuable information, and making connections. Connections start discussions, bring in referrals, and fill your courts.
Connect with me on LinkedIn to receive free tips on building your personal brand and telling better stories online. www.linkedin.com/in/catecrandell
BLACK TENNIS HALL OF FAME CLASS OF 2023
Induction ceremony on Saturday, September 23
Congratulations to the following individuals for being inducted into the Black Tennis Hall of Fame Class of 2023:
Dr. John Andrew Watson, Jr, Pioneer & Contributor
Cecil Hollins, Contributor
Eddie Davis, Regional Legend
Edward John Davis, Regional Legend
Ronald Landfair, Regional Legend
(Bios of Inductees)
Event information and ticket sales will begin on June 1st for the September 23 Induction Ceremony in Richmond, VA.
My take: Excellent choice of candidates. But - wait, no women?
USTA STATEMENT OF GUIDANCE
Mike from NGI Sports posted this in NGI News
The USTA recently released an update for their approach to tennis and pickleball facilities with the intention to develop, expand and renovate public facilities and spaces to accommodate the growing demand for tennis and pickleball play.
The recent poll taken indicates that while tennis remains the most popular racquet sport in the United States, tennis and pickleball are currently experiencing significant participation increases throughout the country and that the demand for both tennis and pickleball courts is expanding exponentially.
Participation Statistics from the USTA
Tennis: A total of 23.6 million players in 2022, a 33% increase of 5.9 million players since 2019 (TIA)
Pickleball: A total of 8.9 million players in 2022 (SFIA)
Three options for construction mentioned in the update reference a lot of the trends already being seen in the industry for the past few years - new construction and the desire for sport-specific sites, or dedicated courts for just Pickleball or tennis. Nontraditional spaces such as indoor warehouse space, parking lots, basketball courts, etc. are being converted into tennis and/or pickleball sites. The third option, and probably currently the most popular, is to have lines for both pickleball and tennis on the same court surface.
Whatever game you choose to play, indoor or outdoor, NGI Sports has the right surface to provide the player with a consistent bounce while giving the facility a long-term surface option.
FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT NGI SPORTS AT
800-835-0033 OR VISIT www.NGISPORTS.COM
My take: NGI is a longtime advertiser in TCB and one of the most experienced court builders in the country. With the motto "engineered for sport," their tennis division posted on the NGI website: Experts in Overlay Renovation Technology®, NGI Sports offers all-weather, synthetic grass, and clay surfaces to help players work harder in all conditions. I am proud of our advertisers and their success!
WTC3 with impressive numbers
The WTC3 crew writes, "WTC is a tennis thoughts factory. As you know, our main purpose on WTC3 by GPTCA/SI 2023 is to create a bridge between many of the most influential and relevant top coaches, legends, leaders, scientists, Grand Slams Champions, Top players, and experts in the world bringing their acknowledges, experiences, successful cases, sports sciences studies, data analysis and much more, that each coach will find on this crucial event. Tennis as life is always in motion, that’s why each tennis coach with an own self-actualization model will find on WTC3 how to learn."
+ 69 Main Speakers presenting.
+ 27 Special Speakers on 9 WTC3 Live Panels with different topics
+ 83 WTC3 Presentations to be watched by attendees in different formats.
+ 4565 minutes of knowledge to learn how to improve your tennis project.
+ 15 NextGen Tennis Coaches Program presenting on 3 Meet the Speakers Panels
+ 29 Nationalities of speakers
+ 91 Nationalities of attendees
+ 7 Workshops in special topics
+ Top organizations supporting WTC3 like: ATP, WTA, USPTA, NTF´s, and many others. Also, GPTCA Board and Team fully involved. Thanks for all of them.
+ 8 months of preparations with 8 SI people working on WTC development.
My take: Very good work, as always, Fernando and team.
DOUBLES ONLY PODCAST
Will Boucek's Tennis Tribe hits it out of the ballpark
Will Boucek's Tennis Tribe website states, "Play smarter doubles. Win more matches. Learn doubles strategy from an ATP & WTA strategy analyst. Will Boucek works with the top 10 doubles teams in the world and delivers those lessons to club-level players."
His Twitter page states:
Home of the Doubles Only Podcast. Doubles lessons for club players. Tennis racquet & gear reviews. All Things Tennis… But Mostly Doubles #WatchMoreDOUBLES
Will's Doubles Only Podcast had really interesting episodes lately. Click on an image below to listen to the podcast.
Also: Interviews with Joel Drucker, Dan Kiernan, Rajeev Ram,
And Podcasts "How to use movement to win in doubles", "Barbora Krejcikova & Katerina Siniakova", "How to Poach on a Return in Doubles",
My take: The above list is not even all that Will produced in April. Amazing. Will is a friend of TCB and I applaud him for great Podcast work!
SERENA WILLIAMS SERVES NEW MULTIMEDIA COMPANY, NINE TWO SIX PRODUCTIONS
No stranger to the entertainment industry, the tennis icon is launching a production company — naming Grand Electric alum Caroline Currier as president.
The Hollywood Reporter writes, "Serena Williams is getting serious about her entertainment career, launching new multimedia production company Nine Two Six Productions. The multihyphenate tennis legend, who announced her retirement from the sport in 2022, makes her producing ambitions even clearer after the considerable success of Oscar-nominated feature King Richard. Her company’s launch coincides with a first-look TV deal at Amazon Studios and the appointment of Caroline Currier as president.
Photos: 926 Productions
The article continues, "As Williams says, Nine Two Six Productions’ intentions are to bolster women and diverse individuals through four-quadrant storytelling that appeals to a broad range of age groups and genders. Multiple projects are already in various stages of development, including the forthcoming soccer documentary Copa 71. The previously announced project, which recounts the blockbuster 1971 Women’s World Cup, counts both Williams and Currier as executive producers."
My take: As one of Serena's biggest fans, I can't wait to see what comes out of Nine Two Six Productions. Good luck!
Btw, in case you're wondering about the company name: Serena's birthday is September 26.
THE AUDIENCE FOR WOMEN'S SPORTS IS SURGING. RICHER MEDIA DEALS COULD FOLLOW.
The NCAA women’s basketball tournament, Women’s World Cup and others seek to turn rising ratings into much bigger broadcast fees.
The Wall Street Journal writes, "When WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert was at the Masters recently, an unusual topic of conversation bubbled among golfers and fans: women’s college basketball. The LSU-Iowa NCAA women’s title game had just drawn a record-shattering 9.9 million TV viewers, twice the total from a year earlier. In the years to come, the stars of that game, like LSU’s Angel Reese and Iowa’s Caitlin Clark, will be eligible to play in the WNBA—just when the league expects to have a new media rights deal in place.
Over the next few years, four major women’s sports rights packages will be up for new rights deals: not just the WNBA, but also the NCAA’s women’s college basketball tournament, FIFA’s Women’s World Cup and the National Women’s Soccer League."
Photos: From left to right: Brazil forward Marta, the WNBA’s Sabrina Ionescu, Angel Reese of LSU and the NWSL’s Alex Morgan. PATRICK T. FALLON/AFP/GETTY IMAGES; MICHAEL REAVES/GETTY IMAGES; KEVIN JAIRAJ/USA TODAY SPORTS; JEFF HALSTEAD/ICON SMI/ZUMA PRESS
The article continues, "FIFA now estimates that rights to the 2023 Women’s World Cup are worth $300 million, according to a person familiar with the matter. That’s partly attributable to simply assigning the tournament a portion of the revenue from the deals in which it is bundled with the men’s World Cup. A spokesperson said FIFA doesn’t provide public estimates for potential rights deals."
My take: This development can only be positive for women's tennis. I predict that within a year, media rights deals with the WTA and all Grand Slams will follow.
BOBBY RIGGS AND THE CURRENT USTA’S BOARD DILEMMA
By Javier Palenque
AT THE BOBBY RIGGS Racket & Paddle Club in Encinitas, California, you’ll find a museum devoted to the club’s iconic tennis star namesake. There’s a bronze statue of Riggs, his US Open and Wimbledon trophies, and memorabilia from his legendary 1973 Battle of the Sexes match against Billie Jean King. What you’re unlikely to find here these days is anyone playing tennis. The facility, which once housed seven tennis courts, has transformed into a premier pickleball playground, with 22 pickleball courts, just three of which double as tennis courts for the occasional private lesson.
If you prefer to listen to the article click here
HEAD has partnered up with Mondo, the experts in flooring solutions and official supplier of the World Padel Tour, to develop the sole of the new Motion Pro padel shoe. Offering 360º movement, maximum cushioning, as well as an explosive grip, you will play like never before on the padel court. Read more here.
My take: I like most of HEAD's products like my Prestige Pro stick and Revolt Pro shoes. Can't wait to finally try to play Padel one day. Maybe even in HEAD Motion Pro Padel shoes. Who knows?
MALE OPINION ABOUT WOMEN'S TENNIS NEEDS TO CHANGE!
I hope I'm not alone in my opinion (An article I recently wrote for our Patreon patrons)
I am a fan of women's tennis. Here, I said it. But I can't tell you how many times during a week when speaking with men working in tennis as teaching pros, coaches, or organizers, I have to listen to derogatory remarks about WTA games. That ranges from "Every male college player can beat the top WTA women players" (as happened yesterday by a teaching pro friend) to "Women's tennis is a waste of time and should not be part of a Masters 1000 event" (a well-known tennis director of a very well know Masters 1000 venue a few years ago) to "If they want equal prize money, they should play best out of 5 sets like the men" (another teaching pro.)
Here are my thoughts on those misogynistic statements:
"Every male college player can beat the top WTA women players"
So what? Why is this even a topic? That match-up will never happen because it makes no sense. Who in their right mind wants to even see such a match? If you say this to me, I immediately disqualify the rest of your statements as not up to my own standards.
"Women's tennis is a waste of time and should not be part of a Masters 1000 event"
Wow! Here is a man whose employer made a lot of money with WTA events and with other women's tournaments and championships. I know he was just repeating what a large number of high-profile male tennis directors think about women's tennis. Shame on him for making such a statement. When I called him on it he dismissed my opinion as unqualified because I'm not a teaching pro and I didn't play college tennis like him. Amazing, isn't it?
"If they want equal prize money, they should play best out of 5 sets like the men"
That argument is as old as John McEnroe. Besides, do the men who say this think that the majority of today's TV audience enjoys long drawn-out matches? How about the very young people who find tennis boring anyway? Do you think they want the women to play 5-hour matches? Think again. I say, "Why don't the men change to best out of 3 sets" matches? You'd make Grand Slam tennis matches shorter and more interesting for millions of current and future viewers. Doesn't that sound fairer than the stupid argument I hear so often?
I'd say we need to educate some of the men out there and tell them that women's tennis has every right to be acknowledged as interesting, competitive, and fun to watch. I'd love to see male teaching pros be more accepting of women's tennis and show a little more courtesy to female players.
TENNIS UMPIRE GIVEN LIFETIME BAN FOR MANIPULATING THE SCORING OF MATCHES
Sport Bible writes, "A tennis umpire has been slapped with a lifetime ban for committing one of sport's cardinal sins. The official-in-question has been found guilty of manipulating the scoring of tennis matches – managing to do so with a handheld device. Yes, some sort of handheld device while watching the match from his chair.
Tennis officials first caught wind of the scandal in 2019 with a bloke named Fabián Carrero landing on their radar.
Less than four years later, Carrero has stood trial and been found guilty of 16 breaches of tennis' anti-corruption program.
My take: Good! Betting on tennis is here to stay. Those creeps need to be weeded out and punished.
HERE TO SERVE: TENNIS PARTICIPATION
Softball questions and questionable numbers. Hu?
I listened to the latest podcast from the USTA Florida Section and had to shake my head listening to the so-called "experts" talking about participation and surveys and exuding confidence about numbers they either don't know are bogus or are told to portray as true.
You guys know that I really like the USTA Florida section as opposed to that sorry SoCal section where league department shenanigans just never seem to end.
Lovely Laura Bowen, the section's ED served a bunch of softball questions to Mickey Maule (USTA Managing Director, Industry Engagement and Sales) and Bryan White (Executive Director, Tennis Industry Association). Mickey, who I up to now have held in pretty high regard, must have chuckled for not being challenged on anything he was saying. It sounded like he got marching orders from his boss Craig Morris and you know what that means, haha. Bryan White? Oh man, don't get me started. I guess his boss Jeff Williams spoon-fed him the kind of nonsense Craig Morris, Lew Sherr, and the USTA Board like to hear. White seems to know little about tennis. He is the Chief Growth Officer* for his main employer BOSTRUM and he has many more roles. Like, Executive Director for the Illinois Speech-Language-Hearing Association. His former jobs included ED for the National Paper Trade Association and for the Automotive Oil Change Association. His credibility factor for me: I give him a 5 out of 10.
I mean, Sports Marketing Survey have a pretty good racket going for many years now feeding the TIA and the USTA with data their clients want to hear. It's almost comical. Let's look at some of the things that were said on this podcast.
That ever-so-elusive demographic no one seems to be able to capture but everyone is always touting as relevant. Bryan revealed that the relevant question in the survey had always been "Are you interested in playing tennis?" Naturally, lots of people said yes. Then, in 2020 some brilliant survey experts thought it a better idea to ask "Do you intend to play tennis this year?" Naturally, that number went way down because sitting on the couch saying I'm interested is one thing. But then to sort of commit to actually doing it? No siree! So for 2021 they went back to the "interest" question and tried to make us believe it was to be "more in line with golf surveys." Ha, I was born but I wasn't born yesterday. When numbers are low we need to massage them, right? Let's ask questions where we know the numbers will be higher knowing quite well how easy it is to lie sitting on the couch watching TV and drinking beer.
Then came the kicker: Latent demand is greater than total participation. Hu? When I told a friend, he replied, "Really? If so, how are people finding out about tennis? Certainly, not from watching the Tennis Channel."
Well, I meet a lot of adult players every week. Many of them are longtime USTA League and/or World TeamTennis players. No one (do you hear me, Bryan?), no one plays tennis less than 2-3 times a week. Deducting about 20% for rainy days and sickness, that's more than 120 times a year. THAT'S your core player. If I want to be generous, I'd say once a week or 45 times a year, is OK, too. But counting people that play more than 10 times a year as Core? Are you serious? That's as bogus as the entire survey. Makes those core player numbers look so good, doesn't it? I wonder who at the USTA insisted on this massaging of the numbers. Kamperman? Smith? Both?
They said core players declined slightly. Could that be because many boomers are leaving the sport and retiring or gravitating to Pickleball? So, in Florida, they say, casual players decreased by 2% and core players increased by 2%. Their conclusion: Florida converted casual players to core players. I think, assuming that they conveniently mistook unique players with participation numbers, it's more realistic to think that both groups decreased and went to Pickleball but many core players now play on more teams like everywhere else in the country.
They talked about the TIA survey and its sample size of 36,000 and a two-year rolling average. I asked an expert and he replied, "A two-year rolling average has value, but it can distort the data by taking the volatility out of it. You won’t see turning points. That is the value of good data. It sounds like they are having fun trying to find answers to questions that may or may not exist. It sounds like they are little boys playing with their toys. The key thing is the quality of the sample, not whether it is 18,000 or 36,000."
My take: The entire podcast shows me again: No one has a clue what the numbers really are. Everyone wants to massage and interpret them to look much better than they think they are but know they aren't. (Reminds me a little of that brilliant sketch from the Carol Burnett Show). They can slice and dice the data all they want. It doesn’t mean anything unless there are more courts and more coaches. What are you guys doing to build more courts while you are so eager to be in bed with golf? Oh btw, the podcast lasted 45 minutes and they went out of their way not to mention Pickleball. I wonder why? It seemed that golf was in every 3rd sentence but no P-word.
So, this entire podcast was a huge Kumbaya show as if all is great in tennis. Our readers know better.
*Btw, Bryan White, as mentioned above, is Chief Growth Officer for BOSTRUM. I looked up the definition of CGO: "Reporting directly to the CEO, the chief growth officer is a senior-level executive responsible for managing the growth of an organization. That growth can either be measured in revenue, users/buyers, or other internal KPIs, depending on the company and its needs." So, I wonder where there's a conflict of interest? Can you see it?
IS LIABILITY INSURANCE STILL RELEVANT?
Can USPTA or PTR force a member to buy Liability Insurance with the annual dues?
This is a conversation that stayed with us in April and it's getting more important by the day. The issue: the annual fee members pay the USPTA/PTR includes liability insurance. However, since so many tennis pros by law have to become employees, this insurance is already in place via the business they work for. So, the question is, can USPTA/PTR force you to purchase a service that you may not need?
Can the pros waive the purchase of liability insurance if they had personal coverage and showed proof of it?
Another question: What are USPTA/PTR doing with pros who are teaching multiple racquet sports? The pros would want to be covered in all sports. It seems like the insurance would say that was okay if they had a higher premium. Alternatively, they could say you can only be on one court at a time so it doesn't matter if you are on a padel, pickleball, squash, paddle, or tennis court.
My take: Should this be defined and posted on the USPTA/PTR websites? What do our readers think?
TRANSGENDER ISSUES GETTING MESSIER
Two reports in addition to the actions of Budweiser
that caused so much backlash
Do trans women need sports bras?
Nike ad causes backlash: “It’s a male takeover"
Womens Tennis Blog reported: "Nike‘s decision to hire trans woman influencer Dylan Mulvaney for a sports bra advertisement has been attacked by a number of female athletes as a misogynic move and a sad mockery of biological women. In the tennis world, Martina Navratilova, a member of the LGBTQ community herself, is traditionally most vocal about the limitations that should be imposed on trans athletes to keep the competition fair and she expressed her disagreement with the new Nike campaign.
Followed by 1.8 million people on Instagram, Mulvaney tagged “Nike Women” and promoted the brand by wearing black leggings and a white sports bra. According to Daily Mail, the 26-year-old Mulvaney could be paid up to $150,000 per social media post.
“I guess Nike couldn’t find a female athlete to sell sports bras…” tennis legend Navratilova wrote on Twitter and added a shoulder shrug emoji. “Getting paid for it at the exclusion of females who actually need one.” Read the article
Biden proposal would bar schools from enacting outright bans on trans athletes
AP reported, "Schools and colleges across the U.S. would be forbidden from enacting outright bans on transgender athletes under a proposal released Thursday by the Biden administration, but teams could create some limits in certain cases — for example, to ensure fairness.
The proposed rule sends a political counterpunch toward a wave of Republican-led states that have sought to ban trans athletes from competing in school sports that align with their gender identities. If finalized, the proposal would become enshrined as a provision of Title IX, the landmark gender-equity legislation enacted in 1972. Read the article
My take: I am for women's and girls' sports and applaud Martina Navratilova. My solution: Give Transgender people their own sports platforms but don't let them steal the trophies real women and girls earned.
Since the USTA has announced they would let Transgender Women participate in women's teams in league tennis - no questions asked - I can't wait for that to happen. Tens of thousands of women and thousands of men will leave USTA league tennis for good. A lot of people will make sure that word gets out.
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