A collection of original content from folks in the business of tennis and peripheral industries.
STIMULATING CONTENT FROM EXCITING PEOPLE IN THE BUSINESS
Pierre Lamarche, Toronto, Canada: Interview with Issam Jellali, Coach to Ons Jabeur
Dana Andrews, Florida, USA: Play, Learn & Grow
Emma Skingley, Billericay, England: Social Media Course - Content Pillars
Paul Saxton, Stockport, England: The Story of Tennis, a Travel Agent, and Their Struggle With COVID
Susan Nardi, Los Angeles, USA: Programs that are Engaging, Fun, and get Adults Playing the Game
Pierre Lamarche CEO+CFO
ACE Tennis Canada
The founder of Ace Tennis in Toronto, Canada is a very accomplished tennis professional both on the coaching and on the business side of our sport.
Pierre played Davis Cup for Canada and coached Davis Cup as well as Fed Cup. The former National Head Coach for Canada and Tunesia also led the Canadian tennis team during the Atlanta Olympics.
Inducted into three Halls of Fame (Tennis Canada, Rogers and City of Burlington) Pierre has founded and is heading All Canadian Sports Management & ACE Tennis.
INTERVIEW WITH ISSAM JELLALI, COACH TO ONS JABEUR
By Pierre Lamarche
“The key is the communication. Issam always tries to understand me and listen to me as a player to help me to improve. He helped me developed my game and not change it.” Ons Jabeur, first Arab woman to reach the quarterfinals of a Grand Slam tournament.
PL: Issam, how long have you been working with Ons, where and how did the relationship start?
IJ: I really started from scratch with Ons. Starting 4 years ago, it was like baby steps, she had her coaches, I had my job so I would help her occasionally when I was in Tunisia, or she was in Dubai (where I was based at the time). When we started training consistently, Covid-19 started so it was beneficial to stop and focus on game and fitness deeply.
PL: Ons has had great success since the beginning of the year, to what do you attribute these improved performances?
IJ: Yes, this is true she has had the best year of her career so far with the most WTA wins (29) and reaching her best career ranking 24. Everybody knows that Ons is one of the most talented players on the tour so it was not enough to make it with the elite players. She needed someone to work on her legs and I believe her husband Karim is doing a great job, who of course understands her strength and building patterns. We had long-term and short-term goals, which we are reaching faster than expected.
Coach Issam Jellali
PL: How has it been on the road for you away from your family?
IJ: It’s never easy to be away from your wife and daughters for many weeks in a row, it’s not an easy decision but it’s one you sometimes need to take in order to provide for your family.
PL: What are your memories of the two years you spent in Canada?
IJ: I only have good memories from the time I was in Canada and being coached by you and learning from you on and off the court. This had a huge impact on my coaching career. When I first came to Canada they didn’t know my name so everyone was calling me Pierre’s son. It was an honor for me. Pierre is always in my heart.
PL: Your brother Aref, who lives in Canada and is a great coach, was instrumental in Bianca Andrescu’s development, do you ever think of joining him?
IJ: My brother Aref is my role model, I always look up to him and consult him before I take many decisions. I owe him so much, so if everything goes as planned we hope to be reunited again in Canada.
Ons Jabeur pictured above
with coach Issam Jellali
PL: What is the goal for Ons going forward?
IJ: The goal is to keep improving. We try not to focus on the results as long as we see improvement.
For more on Ons Jabeur’s recent career success read “Ons Jabeur, First Arab Woman to Win a WTA Title” featured on CNN.
For more articles about Canadian tennis, please see the ONcourt newsletter, Canada's Tennis eZine.
Dana Andrews, President
USTA Florida Section
A graduate of the University of Georgia, Andrews went on to earn her law degree from Cumberland School of Law in Birmingham, Alabama. While completing her undergraduate degree, Andrews was a scholar-athlete and member of the university’s tennis team.
Andrews has been elected as President for the USTA Florida section for 2021/22. She previously served as a member of the USTA’s Junior Competitive Committee as well as the USTA Florida Foundation Board and as Grievance Chairman.
PLAY, LEARN & GROW TOGETHER
By Dana Andrews
It seems that every aspect of our society was affected by the pandemic and one that received considerable attention and debate was regarding children and teachers returning to the classroom. I no longer have a school-age child but can remember the days of juggling my work schedule with her school schedule. As a lawyer, I had been known to walk into a deposition with “a baby on my hip.”
USTA Florida has a vested interest in introducing the game of tennis in the schools. Through the leadership of Danielle Gooding, the Director of Community Tennis, her team of TSRs (Tennis Service Representatives), and volunteers we were able to maintain a solid partnership with the schools throughout our state during the COVID shutdown.
During the months when USTA Florida was unable to meet face-to-face with administrators and PE teachers, the TSRs and staff in the office kept the lines of communication open virtually. It was important the schools did not feel “abandoned” after the organization had been introducing ways to teach the sport to new players at the school. It was also important for our organization to understand what the 2020-2021 needs were for the schools. In talking with teachers, it became apparent that another virtual class was not of interest. However, during that time, we were able to provide information to the teachers about programs that would provide physical activity for the students.
Because of the dedication of the staff and volunteers to keep the partnership with the schools ongoing during the pandemic, we are now in a good position to re-educate our school providers as to how to run a tennis PE program and make it a part of their ongoing curriculum.
In working with the schools, it is our goal to show anyone that you do not have to be a professional to introduce the game of tennis to children. Through Net Generation, a curriculum is available that is being used nationwide to outline a six-week program of progression to introduce the game to children who may not have another opportunity outside of what they are exposed to at school. That is such an important part of this program. Also, the equipment necessary to implement the program can be provided at no cost to the school when certain criteria is met. The children progress to different levels to a point where they could be involved in a team challenge with players within the school or even have different school(s) challenges.
For now, we are told schools will be fully reopened in Fall 2021, and USTA Florida is making efforts to re-introduce the curriculum to the schools this summer. The beauty of introducing the game in schools is that this can occur in a school’s gym, parking lot, or basketball court. You do not have to have a tennis court!
Our goal is to introduce the students to a game that is COVID safe, no impact, and can be played with friends, siblings, parents, and even grandparents. I first started hitting with my mother and was eventually able to progress to a Saturday morning match with my dad. I met some of my closest friends through the game, and this is what we want to share in the schools. My daughter had the opportunity to play for her middle school and high school which was a great way to introduce the “team” environment and camaraderie.
We say that our goals are to grow the game and to share the game with everyone. I see partnering with our schools as a perfect “match” to achieve these goals. I hope we get an A+!
(This and other great content can be read in USTA Florida Weekly eNews. Scroll down to sign up so you get it in your Inbox.)
Marketing Communications Specialist
Emma Skingley is a marketing and communications specialist. She has extensive experience advising tennis coaches and businesses on how to effectively market their business.
In addition, Emma is also a PTR qualified coach who also is on the committee of a tennis club just outside of London. She is the owner of Smash Sports Marketing and has a new course teaching tennis coaches how to manage their social media content planning in a simple to use, and effective method.
We asked Emma about her connection to Andy Dowsett and she wrote us: "Andy Dowsett - I've known him for over a decade and he is to blame for getting me into tennis! He subsequently was my tutor for the PTR 10u course in 2018. I've collaborated with him on his SYSTEM-9 to develop his website, online courses, books in addition to his general marketing. We wanted SYSTEM-9 to not only teach coaches how the S9 method can improve their coaching, but also give them information and courses on how to run their business, and especially their marketing in an effective way."
Asked about her new course which she published under the System-9 umbrella. "It's all about teaching tennis coaches and tennis businesses how to plan and implement their social media *easily*. All they have to do is just follow my step-by-step directions and they will have good-looking, engaging social media content, planned in advance... so no desperate posting or panicking over what to post. There are lots of courses out there on how to run social media, but I wanted to develop a course aimed specifically at tennis coaches, with relevant examples. I've also been managing social media accounts for many years and so the methods I teach in this course are the methods I use daily. Nothing is complex and everything is simple to implement."
CONTENT PILLARS, MY FAIL-SAFE CONTENT GENERATION TRICK!
By Emma Skingley
I know how difficult it can first seem to continually create social media content. However! It’s not as hard as it first seems. I have a method I use time and time again and it involves Content Pillars.
Content pillars represent relevant topics for your target audiences. Each of your pillars could be comprised of different types of content such as blog posts, videos, images, or even something as simple as your tweets. Content pillars are, in effect, the foundation for your social content.
Why You Need Content Pillars
The benefits of developing your own content pillars are three-fold:
Organization – Instead of just creating content on-the-fly, distinct content pillars help you create a calendar that covers the necessary topics for your brand.
Targeting – Defined pillars serve as a guide for crafting specific content for specific people (hint: so you don’t ignore part of your target audience).
Ideas – Developing fresh content is difficult, but content pillars automatically give you relevant and specific topics to include.
Content Pillar Ideas:
Social proof – We rely on the input of others in order to make a decision. It’s like peer pressure and is the reason we choose a busy restaurant over an empty one. 90% of people read online reviews before choosing a product or service so it’s important to collect and share customer testimonials.
Personal – this is where your followers get to know more about you as a person! You can be as selective as you want about what you share but your personality, likes, interests, and experiences are the things that make you relatable and allow your audience to connect with you. Remember to include pictures of yourself! I know… you don’t like being in front of the camera… it’s the same for me! But for most small businesses there is just no way around this – part of building that know-like-trust factor is showing your face now and again.
Your work/behind the scenes- Show your followers what you do and how you do it. Documenting the behind the scenes happenings shows customers that your business is not static, it’s a journey and opening up invites them to come along with you. Remember people buy from people. Examples here could include showing how you prep for your junior groups, the planning that you do at the beginning of term, how you choose your
Education – teach your followers something simple that would be of interest to them. This can be as simple as a quick tennis technique tip or more in-depth, such as a post-match stretch routine. It’s all about providing value and showing that you are an expert. Feeling brave? Then try a video post.
Inspiration can be a motivation quote or even just something that will make them laugh (and hopefully share!).
Write out some example posts to use that fall under these content pillar categories and see how much fresh content you can generate!
PS. If you want help with your graphics, I’ve templates for tennis coaches available on my website. Plus, I’ve also released a course for tennis coaches which shows what you do next with your content pillars; how to write engaging text, what kind of graphics to use, how to make the most out of hashtags.
Check out the shop and courses page on my website for more information: smashsportsmarketing.com
Owner, City and Arena Travel
Hello, I am Paul Saxton owner of City and Arena Travel. Born, bred, and still in Manchester, it's a tough place to leave !! I have been involved in sports travel for almost 25 years and have been the owner of City and Arena Travel for 7 years. My job is to make people's dreams come true !!! Taking your seats at your first Grand Slam, a European break, Monte Carlo, Rome, Madrid, etc, taking in the ATP 1000 events and combining with all the destination has to offer. Down under for the year's first Grand Slam
THE STORY OF TENNIS, A TRAVEL AGENT, AND THEIR STRUGGLE WITH COVID
By Paul Saxton
On the 31st of October 2019, my client plus his tennis mad wife on a birthday treat weekend headed to Paris for a couple of days watching the Rolex Paris Masters.
Little did I know then, that they would be the last clients to take an overseas trip until, well so far tennis fans that have booked their places for Roland Garros 2022, almost a three-year gap!!
In between there is a shipwreck of canceled tournaments, delayed Championships, or the sight of the cream of the tennis world playing in front of not much more than one man and his dog.
And tennis, like any other sport, needs it fans in the stands
Even a relatively sedate tennis audience creates atmosphere with their clapping, shouts of encouragement, and their oohing and aaahing as the ball speeds across the net.
It's not only the tennis fan who has suffered of course but the players also. A crunching volley from Federer, inch-perfect down the line backhands from Nadal, amazing retrieves from Novak, all met with nothing more than a smattering of applause.
Andy Murray's almost jaw-breaking, primeval roars of celebration as he takes a vital point look and sounds so much better at a packed Wimbledon or Arthur Ashe stadium, rather than one which bounces and echoes around a near-deserted court.
Also, let’s not forget that not all tennis players are multi-millionaires residing in Monaco, most will rely on tournament prize money for their livelihood. These are the players that have struggled the most, maybe some have had to give up the game, which would be heartbreaking, dreams of lifting up a Grand Slam in the Big Apple or Melbourne gone forever.
All of the above is of course bad news for everybody involved in the world of tennis, players, officials, organizers, sponsors, and last but certainly not least, the avid tennis fan.
Devotees of the game have had to settle in the main for armchair viewing because as we know to our cost the world of travel has been turned upside down, put in the fast spin cycle of a washing machine, and finally steamrollered the way Tom used to do to Jerry or was it the other way around?
The resulting, almost total shut down of airline travel has meant that as crowds have started to be allowed back inside stadiums, many simply cannot attend due the severe travel and health restrictions
I wonder how many visitors from the US have missed their annual trip to Europe for Paris and London Grand Slams or the big ATP 1000 tournaments in Monte Carlo, Madrid, Rome, etc.
How many saw their once-in-a-lifetime opportunity go up in smoke, all the dreaming, planning, and anticipation, all for naught.
While the maelstrom has swirled around our favorite sport, there is another group of people who have well and truly had the carpet pulled from under their feet!!
Your humble travel agent, of which I am one.
For me, them, it was, still is, and will continue to be an uncertain World. Personally speaking from a business point of view, Covid has been a total nightmare, disaster, horror movie, I could go on and on.
Effectively, two full seasons of tennis travel have been torn away, add that to all the other sports that have been similarly affected and the job title of Sports Tour Organiser has certainly lost its shine.
And so, Ladies and Gentlemen, next time you are planning an overseas tennis trip, any sports trip, any trip, please contact your local travel agent. They will do you a great job, save you a load of your precious time, and will be there to deal with any complications.
Most of all, you will put a smile on their faces 😊
Director of Tennis, First Break Tennis Academy
Carson (Los Angeles), California
Susan is a tennis professional certified with both the USPTA and PTR specializing in creating and expanding many innovative development programs for juniors 10 and under as well as developing high-performance players. She creates development programs that ignite children’s passion for the sport and giving them a solid foundation in playing the game.
She coached at the Van der Meer World Training Center on Hilton Head Island, SC, and worked with high-performance players. Coach Nardi was the Head Coach at Capistrano Valley High school where numerous players went on to play college tennis on scholarships. She is the only female to be the Head Coach of the All-Army Tennis Team.
In addition, she was the first Tennis Director and Head Coach of Achievable Dream in Newport News, VA. She also was the Junior Tennis Director at the Griffin Club LA where she was responsible for implementing the only Evolution Kids Tennis Program in the western United States.
Currently, Susan is the Director of Tennis at First Break Academy: a for impact organization in the underserved community of Carson, CA.
Programs that are Engaging, Fun, and get Adults Playing the Game
By Susan Nardi
Have you been to your local park’s tennis courts lately? If you have; you know the courts are packed. People are playing the sports in record numbers. Most of them are beginners or people that had played in the past but haven’t played in a while. What can we do, as coaches to attract those players into programs and keep them playing? Below are several ideas that I have seen coast to coast that works. Places that have utilized one or several of these have large numbers of adults playing 2 or more times a week. The programs cover a broad range of ideas from newbies to getting them into that 3.5+ level.
Get Acquainted Tennis Club
This program started in 1979 in Charlottesville, VA. With the local CTA and tennis pro Ron Manilla. The concept is simple. Every Saturday morning one local pro runs the 90 min program. The first 45 mins is an instruction/drill where the last 45 mins the players are put into matches. Whether you are new to the area, traveling to town, or want to find people to play with as a beginner, this is the place to go. Yes, local pros do come and donate their time to this. Why? The number of lessons they pick up out of this is huge! I would go by and volunteer for community service hours while in high school. While in college when I had a free Saturday, I would go down to help. Always picked up lessons, as well as started a few group classes from this. The program runs on a local high school court in town. There is no charge for the program. The effect of this program and the area’s Pepsi Mobil Tennis which started the same year has been tremendous! The 1970’s tennis boom has never stopped in Charlottesville.
Dave Smith (High School Coach and pro extraordinary) from St. George, Utah, runs an amazing program called Super Saturdays. Dave starts the program with a free 90 min clinic. Then afterward you pay $10 to play a Fast Format Singles Tournament. Matches are best 2 out of 3 sets with each set starting at 3 games all. If you win, you stay in your flight; however, if you lose you drop down to the next flight. Dave has this all set up where there are 4 flights, so you are at a minimum guaranteed 4 matches. He gives prizes to the winners. Local players love it. It takes approximately 3 hours to run the tournaments. Local high school juniors play with adults which adds a lot to the diversity of the group. The program runs once a month. Typically, you will have 80+ people playing on 4 to 6 courts at his high school. Dave uses the money as a fundraiser to support his high school teams.
From the early 2000s to 2015 the only growth in tennis participation was Cardio Tennis. It is the most fun hour you will ever have doing a workout! The program has a set formula that guarantees success and member satisfaction. Does it take a little bit of time to learn how to do it correctly? Yes. The Queen of Cardio tennis Michele Krause's course will run you step by step through how to do the class. All you need to do is follow the formula and it works. Up to 8 players in a class and the cost is $25 -$40 for the session. When I was at a local club, our Tennis Director ran a Cardio Tennis Event called Triples. Based on one of the games in the class. All levels would sign up for the monthly Friday night event at $40 a person. At least 3/4 people were put on a team to games up to 21 using an orange ball to play. The winning team bumps up a court while the losers bump down. This was a 90 min event with 6 to 8 courts playing with a pro on each court. Normally, they had 50-60 people playing in this fast pace, highly social event. For more information on anything Cardio Tennis, talk to Michele Krause, the Queen of “Hit to Be Fit.”
In Southern California, Live Ball is king! 90 -120mins drill classes are running multiple times a day on courts all over. Facilities love it as you will have 8-12 people on a court playing this fast-paced doubles game that uses yellow balls. You have 1 doubles team that is the champs while the other side is the challengers. The challengers must win 4 points before the champs win two. If the champs win, they stay and face new doubles challengers. If the champs lose, they are replaced with the team that defeated them. The pro alternates whom they feed the ball to on the challenger side. Players in Southern California are playing multiple times a week at $30 to $50 a class.
Those are a few of my personal favorites from across the United States. The key is asking your clients what they are looking for from their tennis experience and go out and provide that for them. They will be happy, your local pro shop is happy selling equipment, courts are filled and your lesson schedule is booked. The biggest winner of all is tennis.
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