3 things that tennis clubs should be doing (OR should plan on doing)
Tennis clubs are volunteer run. The demand on the time of the committee members is already enough just to keep things ticking. The accountability on these club committee roles is normally fairly low and so there is a risk that clubs forget to work ON the club, not just IN the club.
So much research has shown that the modern tennis player favours the ‘pay to play’ non commitment style of tennis participation. They want the process of playing tennis to be as effortless as possible and with as low a commitment as possible and ultimately want to play at a time that suits them.
They also have SO MANY options competing for fitness, leisure and socialising of which tennis fit all of these categories.
Yoga, Pilates, 24 hour gyms, Ninja Warrior, Box Fit, Surfing, Golfing, Skating, Netflix, Gaming and many many more options compete for fitness and leisure. Meet up groups and other clubs, online groups, online gaming, dating and more can all be substitutes for those playing tennis for social reasons.
So what can tennis clubs do to stay relevant? And stay interesting?
Change all membership from YEARLY to MONTHLY OR FORTNIGHLY.
Most tennis clubs are $300 to $500 per year paid upfront. No one pays upfront anymore for anything. Gym memberships, Netflix and Stan subscriptions and the list goes on. Tennis Clubs urgently need a regular payment which comes out automatically. Automatic renewal. A re-joining fee for those who stop their membership and then restart it to prevent abuse of the system. But even if members join for 5 months instead of the normal 12, the increase in members will outweigh that.
Compare $420 per year with $35 per month or $17.50 per fortnight
Better use of the network of tennis players.
The Baby Boomers and some Gen Xers used to get their tennis network from social tennis on Friday nights or Saturday and Sunday’s. BUT where Gen Y and Z don’t roll the same way anymore and work all types shifts over a 7 day period, they definitely still want and need the tennis network.
Clubs need to invest in software options such as Universal Tennis Rating or other tennis match arranging app’s. Then players from the comfort of their home can scroll their clubs membership list and arrange matches with people around their level at a time convenient to them. These types of software would also have a ‘social’ component to it as well as getting to play tennis.
Double Down on those Tennis Traditions
Where I am all for innovation and change when its needed, part of the charm of tennis is some of its ‘old school’ appeal. Its actually what gives tennis a different flavour. A bit of Wimbledon Whites.
Traditional Club events should be nurtured and polished.
This could be your Club Championships or Annual Mixed Doubles Day, Open day or your major social events. Members should be educated on the history of your club teams and tournaments and the social events not just be so/so but be great enough that members SHARE photos and information about the tournament or event.
Tournament and Events are a great opportunity for promotion and marketing. Your members can become mini ‘influencers’ by sharing it on social media and the club can showcase why a tennis club is a far better option than a gym membership or competing fitness, leisure or social activity.
Owner and Head Coach
Scarborough Tennis – Sports Academy