Scott Mitchell

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. 

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He is married to Ashley a former Florida State University player and ACC doubles champion and they have 3 children, Brady-11 and girl/boy twins, Brooklyn and Cason, 8 years.

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It is Time to Plan for Your Summer Camps

 

Yes, it is time to plan for your summer camps, adult programs, and even for the fall! June 1st should be your focus to go live, even if this isn’t the time it will happen. Over the last month, I have received countless calls and emails from pros and clubs wondering if they should be planning for summer programs. My short answer, yes. It is always easier to postpone or cancel altogether then to scramble last minute if things in your area open and get back to being on court. This is already beginning to happen but it’s not too late to begin.

What we do know is things will be different. We just don’t know how different and what we will be able to do the first few weeks, months, or even the first year. We are getting a better idea but there is still some unknown. What I am telling clubs is to begin, if you have not already, planning for camps. A few clubs I am working with are putting together a few different scenarios of “what ifs”. What if we can open but we are still needing to keep a safe distance or limited numbers in our programs? What if we can’t have 6,8,10 kids in a group but more like 4-6? What happens if we usually see 200 kids during the week, but now student to pro ratios must be 4:1? What if our pricing models don’t support the lower ratios? What if we can’t have 200 kids from 9 am-12 pm but need to stagger our times? All of these are great questions and there are plenty more. So, yes, begin planning as these questions will carry into the fall as well.

We know that when we are able to open things back up slowly that the revenue for most clubs will probably be 60% of what they had previously, maybe less. We know that families won’t be spending like they did in the first 2 months of the year. Families that were going to send their kids to camp for 6-8 weeks might only be able to afford 1-3 weeks. They will also look for the best prices and the most activities for their child. Which means, they just might not look at a one-sport camp like tennis. People will look for value and activities that are numerous, which means it’s time to plan. What will set you apart from other camps this summer? What will make you different and rise to the top? Try not to look at your camp as you once did, but maybe more like an all-sports camp or a new Activity Camp with lots of cool things for kids to do all day while they are with you. Bottom line is, think outside the box at this time of planning. Why not?  You can always fall back on what you know and do best. My feeling is we have a huge opportunity in front of us if we can adapt. We can reach a new demographic of customers if we just change a little.

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If we know that ratios of our programs will adjust, then start to plan on how you are going to staff these. How many courts will be in need, what additional areas can I do activities, and how many staff members will I need. As you can imagine, hiring has been a big discussion point and it is obviously hard to have interviews at this point. The first step may be to look to previous employees or councilors that you have had in past years and see if they are available.  When looking at current staff, and the change in ratios, you will have to look at your budget and decide what you are going to be able to pay. You might not be able to pay as you once did because of ratios but also the camp prices may need to be adjusted to drive participation. We know the pros need hours so have a discussion of what you will be able to afford to pay this summer.

With the smaller groups, you will also need to look at the space around and in your facility. You need to look at not only court space but off-court space, classrooms, grass areas, and such. As you begin looking for different areas that you can space out your camps and kids, you will also need to look at different activities. As mentioned above, this year’s camps may not be a tennis only camp but an activity camp. As you look at spaces in your club, look to see how many groups of 4-6 kids you could have in that space. Once you have that figured out, then what activities could you provide in that space? It might be simple like face painting, ty-dye shirts, but there are a lot of options to review and plan for.

As you begin planning on what summer camps might look like for you, just know this summer will truly be different for everyone. You want to be able to capture a wide demographic of kids, many that have never been to your camps before. You might have one chance to introduce these kids to your camps, but if you do, you just might have them for many years to come. So quickly gather your team and begin the planning process before time runs out. You know that your competitors are and may already be marketing that great plan.

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