Why Social Media is the Modern Day Newspaper

Social media is everywhere. As a small business owner, social media needs to be a critical part of your marketing plan.

My tennis business, Scarborough Tennis Academy, uses Facebook, Instagram and to a lesser degree Twitter and Linkedin to promote what we do.

I treat social media like a newspaper. By engaging their readers with quality content, newspapers can include advertising. Too many social media accounts have the wrong strategy and their ‘newspapers’ have nothing but advertising. This strategy will result in a lack of engagement and a decline in followers.

Our social media strategy centres around the following 4 types of posts. This could apply to other industries but I have given specific examples to that of a tennis coaching business or club.

Community posts: This could be a player who has done well at a tournament, a group photo of a pennant team, club open day or anything that has a community feel to it.

Educational posts: This could be an instructional type article either created or shared from a different site online. This could be a tactical, technical, psychological, physical instructional or even choosing equipment.

Entertainment posts: This can be something light and fun and can include interesting articles about the pro tennis tour, funny tennis photos or stories. Recently we have posted a video of how tennis balls are made.

Advertising posts: This is a chance to promote your business. Tennis lessons, competitions, events and more. This needs to link to your website and have an easy path for your reader to take action and book in or purchase your product and service. Sponsoring these posts can also be a good idea to increase the engagement rate and reach.

Provide value…….

The key here is to provide VALUE to your readers. Modern day marketing is about providing value NOT spam. The days of pop up advertising, banner advertising and other traditional print advertising is all but blocked out from readers’ attention. Social media should be treated as a platform to add value to your current clients as well as picking up new clients. By providing a balance of community posts, entertainment posts, educational posts and advertising posts, you will grow your readership, improve your client retention and generate new leads.



Rick Willsmore

The Art of Tennis


[email protected]





Tennis the Team Sport

Tennis is predominantly an individual sport but at a junior and club level it can be a great platform for teamwork with doubles partners, groups, squads and pennant teams, providing great opportunities to work together with peers.

Although not traditionally seen as a team sport, tennis as a team sport can provide superior opportunities to other team sports.

Below are some arguments to support that.

  • A doubles partnership requires large amounts of communication, patience and strategy. As a doubles pair, players will set strategies that will involve one player setting up the point for the other player to finish.
  • A pennant/competition team usually consists of 4 players of which every player is responsible for 25% of the match outcome. Unlike other team sports with larger groups, this means that every player in a tennis team has a large role to play.
  • Training partners through squads or other sessions can provide a true peer to peer growth opportunities. Training together with the intention to improve your own game and each other’s game, can be a great way to teach kids about helping each other.

Teamwork is a skill that is important in the workplace and in interpersonal relationships. Most collaborations in the workplace and most close relationships will be in smaller groups and more similar to a tennis team format than that of a larger team format that has 10 players upwards.

In this article on teamwork in the workplace, they mention cooperation, relationships, learning and leadership as the pillars of teamwork. Through doubles partnerships and small teams, tennis provides great opportunities to develop these areas.

So rather than looking at tennis as an individual sport, perhaps we should look at it as a platform for real world collaboration and interpersonal relationships. Working with a group of 4 forces everyone to contribute rather than just a dominant small % of players which happens with larger team sports. If done well, this small group collaboration fosters encouragement and personal growth of young team players.

TEAM – Together Everyone Achieves More


Rick Willsmore

Art of Tennis


10 Questions with Tennis Entrepreneur, Kane Dewhurst

10 Questions with Tennis Entrepreneur, Kane Dewhurst

Kane Dewhurst gained a world ranking in both singles and doubles before falling into coaching and then starting and building Vida Tennis into one of the biggest and best grassroots tennis programs in the country. Kane has gone from tennis player to coach and now to successful business owner and brand manager. As well as managing his own business interests, Kane runs business workshops for Tennis Australia to help educate and elevate tennis coaching businesses around the country.

Most of what I have learned about business has been from outside the tennis industry attending seminars and reading and learning about the fundamentals of small business. I have attended a few of Kane’s workshops and it is refreshing to have someone who continues to integrate world’s best practice into the tennis industry and educate others in the process. Kane is knowledgeable, passionate and a great communicator.

Rick – Kane, thanks for being a part of the Art of Tennis Blog.

What do you think is the single best part about working in the tennis industry?

Being able to have an impact on so many people who share a love for the sport of tennis. If you think back to when you were a kid, we all started tennis because it was fun and we enjoyed it. It is no different for me now, I love the sport and I love business, so it is great to be part of an industry that combines these two areas.
The tennis industry can be tough at times but it is very rewarding seeing the people connected with me achieve their personal best.

Rick – What do you believe are the key off court skills that a tennis coach needs to learn to succeed in the industry?

There are a wide variety of skills that a coach is required to have, especially with the change in technology over the past decade. I think first and foremost, a coach needs to understand his/her why, strengths and weakness and the area within the tennis industry he/she wants to become an expert in.

From there, communication is the key area a coach needs to excel in to grow their business and the game. This communication is not just face to face, but online through various means of connection. These include; website, social media, email. Communication is a key element to building relationships and this is what drives any small business. One of the key qualities of a good communicator is the ability to listen, understand people’s needs and create a relationship with an individual. These qualities help to retain people in the business and the sport.

Rick – What is your coaching philosophy and how do you ensure that your team are all on the same page with this philosophy?

Teach what’s essential, encourage what’s natural and allow for the individual.

Getting all your team on the same page starts with the recruitment process, ensuring all coaches have buy in to our vision, company direction and philosophy. From there we run a lot of internal education and knowledge sharing sessions. On top of this we have an internal online platform which has over 200 videos which cover all things relating to the on and off court delivery of our business.

Rick – Systems run businesses and people run systems. How do you ensure that your business doesn’t become so automated that it loses its personality?

This is something that was have need to constantly be aware of as our business grows. Tennis, and service businesses in general, are built on relationships and exceptional shared experiences. Ensuring each coach knows your processes and their roles in the system helps keep things on a personal level. We also put a lot of time into segmenting and tagging all people into our business data base so that we tailor the messages we send them to the programs and information that they need.

Rick – Outsourcing can be a smart way to delegate different parts of our business processes. What particular process or role do you see is the best opportunity to outsource and do you have any recommendations of how to get started with outsourcing?

I am a big believer in outsourcing. There are so many skill sets required to run a small business and if we think we are going to be able to them all to a high level, we are kidding ourselves. Getting experts in their field to help with certain tasks and jobs makes the quality and productivity rise.

The key to making outsourcing work, or just managing a large team, is having an internal platform where everyone can communicate. This includes all the tasks required, how to do them, when they need to be done by and who is going to do it. There are a lot of Task Management software out there that can help run this process. The world is so close these days with the evolution of the internet, so your team does not need to be in one place.

Rick Technology plays such a big part in today’s business world. What are 2 technologies that you couldn’t live without?

I cannot live without my Task Management software, Teamwork. At the start of each year we plan out the major tasks for the year and then continue to add and amend as the year goes on. In January this year we added 1600 tasks which gave me and the team organisation to ensure we stay on track and implement.

The second software I cannot live without is Google Apps for Business. This suite of apps connects all our team, our documentation, runs our calendars, emails, video meeting, internal websites, videos, marketing and more.

Rick – This will be a difficult question but what is the best book you have ever read that has helped your professionally?

You may think this is a strange answer for someone who is a self-confessed “learning junkie”. I actually don’t really read too many books. I read a lot of online blogs but where possible listen to the podcasts as you can consume the information so much quicker and often in down times, like when you are driving.

Rick – Marketing has changed a lot since you started Vida Tennis. What do you consider is your most effective form of lead generation in 2016?

I don’t think you can get away from word of mouth being the most effective form of lead generation. But even with word of mouth, people will then go and look you up online, check your reviews, your programs and your social profiles.
Stats say that seven out of ten new business leads come from online in all industries so I believe your online marketing needs to be planned, measured and managed. Facebook and Instagram advertising can be really targeted to a specific market and we have seen very good results over the past few years. But the online space is ever changing and the shirt towards video and more live content sees platforms like You Tube become very important.

Rick – What would you consider to be the biggest direct competition to tennis lessons and grassroots tennis programs?

The tennis industry has many competitors from all the various other sports. But more than that it is anything that a family will spend their “leisure” dollar on. Families on have a limited amount of disposable income for activities and more and more kids these days are spending far too much time inside on technology.
All of us in the tennis industry need to continue to raise the bar, engage and deliver quality programs so we keep people in the sport. Tennis is culturally and historically significant in Australia and the majority of people try tennis at some stage in their life. The key for tennis business and more importantly the tennis industry, is that we engage with the consumer in ways that they want to consume tennis, so we can retain them in the sport.
It is great to see kids try lots of different sports and continue to live healthy, active lives. I just hope we, as the tennis industry, can deliver a great service and keep them in the sport for life.

Rick You have expanded Vida Tennis to now include Vida Mind, Vida Fitness and Vida Footy. You also have other business interest including My Tennis Solution. Can you tell us more about that and how people can stay connected socially with you?

Yes as the brand has grown so have the opportunities to venture into different areas. We have a great team that runs and implements the various business areas.

If anyone is interested in connecting with me I can be found on Facebook on any of the business pages and I do post a lot of articles on these pages. I have also been lucky enough to do many presentations across Australia with Tennis Australia, so I am sure I will be back in most states in the future. I am always keen to connect with like-minded people, so if anyone is interested drop me a line.

Thanks for your time Kane and catch up again soon.

Rick Willsmore

Art of Tennis

Coaching as a Career

We all know that the top tennis professionals make millions of dollars. In 14 years as a professional, Novak Djokovic has made over $100 million.

Go Pro !

So the most appealing career through tennis is becoming professional. The problem is that you really need to make it into the top 150 to enjoy the rich rewards that can come from being a pro tennis player. 

So if you cannot make it to this level then you to look into alternative areas such as coaching, management and administration of the sport.


Good players definately are not assured of being great coaches. Coaching is about being able to influence a player or group of players. You need a great knowledge of all parts of the game and you need to be able to communicate that clearly and in a way that sticks in your pupils mind and game.

Coaches will normally either work at a grassroots club level working with beginner and intermediate juniors and adults. At club level the focus is on participation and coaching can help the club keep up a healthy membership. Coaches can be self employed or an employee of a coaching business

Some club programs will also include talent development and performance programs but normally most performance coaching will be done at independent tennis academies, state and national bodies along with as a tour coach.

A fulltime tennis coach should be able to earn between $40000 upto $100000 yearly depending on where they work and whether or not they are an assistant or head coach.

Coaching can be a dream job with the opportunity of being active and helping other people with their passion makes for a very rewarding, high quality of life. The downside of coaching is the hours can be inconsistent and you will nearly always have a split shift of work with morning lessons and then after school/work lessons.

Coaching isn’t the only career option for a tennis player. Tennis players find themselves in marketing roles, participation and development officer roles along with competition and tournament administration.

Coaches who develop their business skill will find themselves as the Director of Tennis, Program Manager and other leadership roles within their own or established tennis businesses.

I personally started tennis coaching part time when I was 15 when I was asked to coach a couple of groups at my local tennis club. I kept at it part time until after dropping out of university, I decided to enter the tennis industry as a fulltime tennis coach and I moved from Adelaide to Darwin to take up a job.

My first fulltime coaching role involved me cleaning courts, serving at the bar and cafe, cutting palm fronds off the surrounding trees, running competitions, doing school tennis days in remote areas out of Darwin and generally doing whatever the Gardens Tennis Complex and Tennis NT needed from me. I loved it and could not believe it was a real job…..

15 years later I still coach 20 hours a week and run a team of 10 coaches as Director of Scarborough Tennis Academy which I started 10 years ago. Playing tennis gave me these opportunities and I am grateful for the sport and the industry.

Finally as a tennis coach, the most annoying and very common question when meeting new people and discussing what I do for a job?

“So what else do you do? is that part time?”


Rick Willsmore

Director of Tennis

Scarborough Tennis Academy



Thoughts on playing, coaching and the business of tennis.