Welcome 2 New Advertisers
Althea Gibson - Aretha Franklin?
Veterans Day - Celebrating Tennis Pro Vets
Where Are Abandoned Tennis Courts?
Tone-Deaf USTA? The Swing Tennis
Introducing New Tennis Folks
Tennis Job of the Month
Is There Really an Ugly Side to College Sports?
Sports Viewership Down
People Have More Time for Leisure and Fitness?
The Avalanche of Dropped College Tennis Programs
Brought to My Attention
New TCB Web Store Coming
What a month we had here at TENNIS CLUB BUSINESS. Pandemic, elections, fighting to keep 16 local tennis courts, playing again after 8 months of rotator cuff tear recuperation (thank you, Billie Jean King's Eye Coach!), and researching Althea Gibson. I had no idea what kind of a 'bigger than life' tennis legend she actually still is. The highlight of that research was interviewing Lenny Simpson.
Welcome 2 New Advertisers
I am delighted to welcome 2 new advertisers to TENNIS CLUB BUSINESS. First, it was CourtReserve whose founder Tim and Director of Sales and Marketing Ashley say they want to help tennis and pickleball professionals grow their clubs and programs through the latest innovative technology. Their motto: Bring your courts to life. Please read the introductory article to courtreserve.com this month.
Then we were very lucky to get the latest innovation that is 'more than just a ball launcher' to advertise with us. Slinger Bag is everywhere right now, launching from Israel (the country with an unlimited reservoir of innovative thinkers) into the whole world. Did you guys see Mehrban Iranshad's video on lobs at Tennis Con 4 last month? His presentation was about Big Offensive Lobs on Monday, 10-19. He used the Slinger Bag on the other side of the net and controlled it remotely. Worked really well. Please read our introductory article to Slinger Bag this month.
Althea Gibson - Aretha Franklin?
Lenny Simpson is such a treasure trove of information about a time when Black tennis players were still held back by societal barriers and the 'whites-only' rule of the USLTA (Now USTA). I'm glad he took my opening of our interview quite lightly (he seems to be a very generous type) because it was a little embarrassing. Before I called him I had listened to 'Aretha Franklin's Greatest Hits' on Amazon Music. So, after the opening small talk, I gingerly asked him to tell me a little about him and Aretha. Ouch. I hope you take the time to read our Feature Article 'What took you so long, champ?' and learn about the amazing history of Althea Gibson and that clay court at 1406 Orange Street in Wilmington, North Carolina.
Ever since my time working on the USTA Tennislink Team have I known what kind of a hotbed of tennis North Carolina is. And one of the reasons is the staff of the USTA District office in Greensboro. And why is that such an outstanding staff? Because they have an outstanding leader in Executive Director Kelly Gaines. This year is her 25th Anniversary at the helm of that District and I have no doubt it is her who was instrumental for the growth in North Carolina tennis. Now we know, of course, that tennis was very popular with African Americans on that special court in Wilmington. And I know there were other pockets of tennis in Black neighborhoods, like in Elizabeth, NJ, where Art Carrington grew up. I was reminded of Art Carrington's statement during a BTWL seminar in September. He said, "When I grew up, I thought tennis is a Black man's sport. All I could see in my neighborhood were Black people playing tennis. We didn't see any White people." Only later did he learn that tennis was indeed played by more White players and was actually called the "White Sport." Read the whole article here.
As far as the color barrier is concerned, I think we've come a long way but there is much more work to be done. I would be thrilled to see more Black Americans introduced to tennis and also some getting on the ATP/WTA tours. Would love to read your ideas and opinions if you care to write me.
Because November 11 is Veterans Day, we asked tennis professionals to come forward and tell us about their life in the U.S. military. We had 13 tennis coaches reply with history and many photos. Hope you'll like our article "HONORING TENNIS PROS WHO SERVED IN OUR MILITARY.'
Oh, btw, if you want to read an incredible story of a tennis pro, WWII hero, and ex-POW, check out Rod Heckelman's article 'The Greatest Veteran Tennis Teacher Ever.' It's another eye-opener. (I know I'm using that word a lot, lately. Sorry, folks.)
Where Are Abandoned Tennis Courts? Please let us know!
A bunch of tennis enthusiasts are currently creating an organization with the goal to grow tennis beyond what's currently being done by our governing body. It's too early to talk about details but they asked me to poll our readers with one question:
Do you know of any U.S. tennis courts that are very run down, in really bad shape, or abandoned altogether?
One of the tasks of that new initiative will be refurbishing of run-down tennis courts. Please submit the address and any pertinent information that you may have. Like, who is the contact for that site? Someone will get back to you if there are further questions. Thank you!
While communicating with Leslie Allen, former touring pro, Black tennis celebrity, and current Leadership Trainer & Life Skills Coach, I found an article she wrote in regards to the USTA's statement after the George Floyd unrests addressing “the tragic events enveloping our country.”In that article Leslie headlined her opinion '‘Instead of a milquetoast statement, the USTA should have used its platform to inspire more white people to be like Alice Marble’ and followed up with 'Really!! Who wrote this? Am I being gaslighted?'
I agree with most of what Leslie is saying and respect her for it.
But, read it yourself: Tennis champ Leslie Allen takes USTA to task over ‘tone-deaf’ statement
As far as the USTA is concerned, maybe someone should share this article with them: NBA's Silver: Fans will not see BLM, social justice messages on courts, jerseys next season.
Jack Broudy's New Venture - The Swing Tennis
Being a believer in Jack Broudy's 'Figure Eight' methodology and using the previous version of his Swing Board on a daily basis, I wanted to find out what his new venture 'The Swing Tennis' is all about. I watched him teach at a club in Southern California and was duly impressed. See if you like it, too, a combination of teaching methodology and products that make sense. Read the article here.
Introducing new tennis folks
During the course of a month, we are fortunate to get to know tennis lovers and professionals from all over the world. With this new article series, we want to introduce them to our readers. If you are so inclined, say hi to them. Also, some of them may be looking for job opportunities. If you know of one, get in touch with them. Chances are, you'll find an outstanding person!
Interestingly, I had asked twice as many females than males to introduce themselves but only one reached out. Hmmm. (Good for you, Natalia. I wish you all the best working for Sloane Stephens!)
Tennis Job of the Month
We have started it again. And Mark Wylam of Sports Pros Connect is a great person to work with. Every month we'll feature a different job you mind find interesting. This month it's a tennis job in Germany. Woohoo. Who doesn't want to work in Germany? Yep, as a native German, I know it's a good place to live and work for a while.
Is there really an ugly side to College Sports?
A reader sent over an article by the Brookings Institute. He said, 'Brookings, a liberal think-tank, published the following article about college sports. The headline title (The Ugly Business of College Sports) and the title of the article speak volumes about much of the research that comes out of Brookings.' That article is an eye-opener, folks. I had no idea how college sports worked although I learned last month about massive 6-figure salaries being paid there.
But, read for yourself: The COVID-19 pandemic is revealing the regressive business model of college sports
And then came the hammer! The same reader also sent me another eye-opener of an article. Read it here and shake your head in disbelief. MISMANAGED MONEY, NOT COVID, KILLED ‘NON-REVENUE’ COLLEGE ATHLETICS.
Sports Viewership Down
No comment. The chart speaks for itself.
(I must admit that I don't remember who
sent me that chart.)
People have more time for leisure and fitness? And how about saving $758 million per day?
(as seen in Morning Brew)
Only 28% of U.S. employees expect to return to their workplaces by the end of 2020, according to a recent Conference Board survey.
Commuting is costly. Off the top of my head, expenses include gas, wear on the car, and potentially tolls and parking. But commuting has other costs, too. Unless you have a Tesla, your car is a grade-A carbon emitter. Studies show your mental health suffers when you sit in traffic. And what about the most precious commodity of all: time. What could you be doing with those 27.1 minutes you’re not focusing on the road?
The pandemic has revealed what happens when fewer than a third of employees go to the office. So far, we’ve learned...
The savings are real. Upwork found that $758 million is saved each day when former car commuters switch to remote work. That’s led to total savings of $90 billion since the pandemic began.
The Avalanche of Dropped College Tennis Programs
Dick Gould sent me the below list although he's not really sure where it's from. Possibly from the ITA. He thinks this is only a sign that many more programs will be dropped in the next 6 months . . . (Stanford dropped 11 sports with no warning 2 months ago.) This seems to be an 'arms race' that has totally gotten out of hand.
Updated College Tennis Programs Eliminated Since Fall 2019
NCAA DI - 22 programs:
Akron (OH) – Women only
Appalachian State (NC) – Men only
Arkansas-Pine Bluff (AR) – Men & Women *
East Carolina (NC) – Men & Women
Florida A&M (FL) – Men only
Missouri-Kansas City (MO) – Men only
Northern Colorado (CO) – Men & Women
Southern Utah (UT) – Men & Women
UConn (CT) – Men only
USC-Upstate (SC) – Men & Women
Valparaiso (IN) – Men only
Winthrop (SC) – Men & Women
Wisconsin-Green Bay (WI) – Men & Women
Wright State (OH) – Men & Women
NCAA DII - 14 programs:
Alabama-Huntsville (AL) – Men & Women
Concord (WV) – Men & Women
Fayetteville State (NC) – Women only
Notre Dame (OH) – Women only
Robert Wesleyan (NY) – Men & Women
Sonoma State (CA) – Men & Women
St. Edward's (TX) – Men & Women
Staten Island (NY) – Men & Women
NCAA DIII - 15 programs:
Beloit (WI) – Women only
Blackburn (INL) – Men & Women
Centenary (LA) – Men & Women
Concordia (IL) – Men only
Delaware Valley (PA) – Men & Women
Earlham (IN) – Men & Women
Fontbonne (MO) – Men & Women
Knox (IL) – Men & Women
Sage (NY) – Men only
NAIA - 2 programs:
Taylor University (IN) – Men & Women
JUCO - 8 programs:
Broward (FL) – Women only
North Central Texas (TX) –Women only
Laredo (TX) – Men & Women
Polomar (CA) – Men & Women
Spartanburg Methodist (SC) – Men & Women
10/8/20 UPDATE: Additional Drops (9)
Univ of Mass (Dartmouth) – Men and Women
Iowa – Men
Minnesota – Men
LaSalle – Men and Women
George Washington – Men
Holy Family Univ – Women
Eastern Shore - Women
BROUGHT TO MY ATTENTION (scroll down for information on how to reach us)
No 2020 NTRP Year-End Ratings
A tennis friend who knows what he's talking about let me have it: "How about the dumb asses (the brain trust of the USTA) don’t understand that even computers need to be programmed. It’s also a shame some staff that have a very short history of the USTA and are not knowledgeable about nearly 50 years of history and the rationale to adjust ratings from time to time. Harry Marmion (former USTA President) decided the USTA League Committee and staff were better equipped to make decisions on ratings, not the BOARD. Lessons learned....."
Morning Brew gave us a great roundup of information about California's AB5 and where we stand. Worth the read. https://www.morningbrew.com/daily/stories/2020/08/23/start-talking-uber-lyft-ab5-gig-economy?utm_source=morning_brew
A tennis pro reacted to the USTA's announcement of partnering with Genesis Health Clubs (see this month's Press Releases): The USTA is working to support corporate tennis. From 1985 to 2010 we learned that the commercialization of tennis created silos and stagnancy. It appears we are now creating the era of corporate tennis. This is reminiscent of the era of the discount tennis wholesalers. Good buy little tennis clubs and businesses. Are they ushering in the era of the mega facility (like the SCTA 40 court facility)? Juniors can no longer ride their bikes to the corner parks, they must be driven to the 40 courts mega facility? Will this make tennis more of an elite sport or open it to the growing minorities?
Have to admit I enjoy reading the monthly Pickleball Magazine and witnessing the growth that sport is experiencing. Check it out here.
There are, of course, growing pains. Alize Tym is writing about some in this month's article GROWING PAINS IN PROFESSIONAL PICKLEBALL.
New ITF 'Rules of Tennis' App
Apparently, this app was already released in April. I downloaded it on the iPhone and it works well. Looks simplified but explains the rules including the latest amendments.
From the ITF website:
The app is available for free and has been released as part of the ITF’s wider education drive which earlier this week saw resources on the ITF Academy educational platform made available for free.
Changes at Tennisletics
I want to applaud Tennisletics founder Aleks Szymanski for being quite forthright about the changes he's planning for his site amid COVID challenges this year. He explains all in this blog post: 'The Times They Are A-Changing.'
What's going on with PlayYourCourt?
Scott Baxter was sending out an email that stated 'If you've been thinking about joining the PlayYourCourt Community, go do it right now before our price doubles tomorrow at midnight.' And, you guessed it, the prices didn't double. A reader asked me, "Is the announcement of prices being doubled a gimmick to get sign-ups, are they trying to make up for lost business caused by the pandemic, or is business so good they can afford to raise their prices?"
If you have information worth mentioning in this BROUGHT TO MY ATTENTION forum, please contact Pat via email. Leave name and phone number if you want us to get back to you for further clarification. Anonymity is guaranteed. Thank you!
Amy Pazahanick - for not only running her ever-expanding tennis operation with bravura and charm in the world's hottest hotbed of tennis but also for marketing herself as the star she really is. Check out the kind of publicity she gets in Atlanta.
Steve Riggs - for his decades of contributions to tennis in Southern California, particularly in Irvine, Orange County. From playing in Germany while in the Airforce to running 98 public tennis courts and 10 pickleball courts in Southern Cal's tennis hotbed, Steve has made tennis his life. (Well, comes right after his beautiful family, of course.)
Courtside San Francisco - for being such a lively monthly blog about tennis in the Bay Area.
Lenny Simpson - for being such a good communicator and for having a great sense of humor.
Racquet Sports Industry magazine - for recognizing public parks in a big way because public parks are critical to the growth of tennis.
Brandon Holt - for capturing the Oracle ITA Masters event in San Diego. Tracy Austin's son and former USC All-American Brandon hoisted the 2020 Oracle ITA Masters By UTR trophy for the second time.
Women’s Sports Foundation and espnW’s Sports 4 Life Program - for impacting more than 60,000 girls of color over 7 years.
NEW: TENNIS CLUB BUSINESS Web Store Coming
Great things are in the hopper at TCB. We are putting together a web store for tennis professionals with goodies and services from many great sources from North America to Slovenia. Stay tuned, folks. The launch will be in mid-November. Woohoo!
Thank you for your continued readership. Don't get too stressed out come Election Day and have a nice, quiet Thanksgiving.