Scott has been an Executive Director of Tennis with 30 years’ experience at private clubs, public facilities, and resorts.
Scott is considered an industry leader in first-class facility management, junior and adult coaching, and program design and implementation.
As CEO, Premier Tennis Consulting providing innovative and profitable solutions for clubs/facilities and professional tournaments. He has been involved in some of the largest and most prestigious facilities in the U.S. and many of the worlds’ leading professional tennis tournaments.
Continuous Improvement for You and Your Team
by Scott Mitchell
If you are like me, you started in this industry teaching groups, privates, camps, and more. You spent 90% of your time on court with lessons and the other 10% recovering for the next day. At some point, many of us realized that we would soon get older and we may not want, or be able to spend 40,60,80 hours per week on court. So we began to think of things that are interesting that we could add to our experiences and still stay in the industry we love so much. Many of us looked at management aspects or involvement in one of our amazing tennis providers, or you enjoyed stringing and tinkering with racquet frames. Whatever your additional desires, you then spent time learning and gaining experience in this aspect.
It’s important for all of us to continue to look at ways to develop our craft, on and off court. The more aspects of our industry we are exposed to the easier it will be to eventually find the avenue that best suits your career desires. I know many of us that are long into our careers have looked ahead and found our career pathway and we took time to develop additional skills. We not only looked at new programs, drills, teaching methods, but we also looked at our teaching organizations (USTA, USPTA, PTR) to see what additional continuing educational opportunities they offered that would help guide us.
Unfortunately, I am not seeing enough of our new professionals looking to grow their off-court skills as they do their on-court skills. Most enjoy working with high-performance juniors and continuing to hit and play through the week. We certainly need coaches that will follow that pathway but we also need coaches that cherish the time with our adults, our seniors, and developing the kids under the age of 10. As a facility, looking to hire professionals to their team, many are looking for coaches that bring a wide variety of experiences to the club. Not only that they coach one segment of our customer base. If coaches can work with kids, adults, run events, and tournaments they are much more valuable to the club than those coaches that only coach high school players for instance. It’s not to say that coaches that work with high school players aren’t important, but they may not be as valuable to the club as someone that can do a variety of programs.
If you are new to the industry I encourage you to spend time building your experiences in a wide variety of areas in your facility. Spend time, as I did asking to be involved in round-robins, exhibitions, kids clinics, adult clinics, and even in the marketing/sales office to see how that operates. You may not always get paid at the moment for the extra experiences you are getting but you will be paid in the long run when you are getting offered positions at clubs that you never thought you’d be able to.
If you are a manager of a club, be sure to spend the time with your staff as you did with yourself. Be sure they are getting the experiences with large and small groups, tournaments, events, how to do an event budget, and more. If they improve and gain experience, it not only helps them but it helps the club immensely.
I am a huge advocate for continuous improvement for everyone at a facility. As managers, be sure you are supporting continuing education at the club. Give them plenty of opportunities to learn and grow during their time with you, but also away at conferences or workshops. We need to encourage our staff to develop as a coach and have a wide range of programs that they can teach or lead. It will not only give them great, new experiences with a variety of facility elements but it will also keep them fresh and engaged. I would encourage all managers to find time to discuss your individual team's career aspirations. You might find that you have quite a few on staff that would be interested in learning more about our industry and not only spend their time on court. It is time for all of us to continue to develop and adapt to continue growing ourselves, and our sport.
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