What will a tennis professional look like in 2025? What skills will they need? Who will their employers be and what will set them apart from the other sports professionals? Understanding where the industry is now and considering the following ideas might just assist you in positioning your career for 2025.
The game of tennis has evolved, and we have become a lot smarter about data, performance, trends, tactics, etc. So, what is necessary for tennis professionals to be competitive in the market in 2025?
One thing for sure – technology has and will continue to change the way we do business. Being agile and adaptable technologically is going to be a critical skill. In general, technology makes major changes about every five years, which means that before 2025, we can expect at least one major change. The tools we use now are likely to be upgraded, improved or totally replaced by 2025. It is best to understand the purpose of each piece of technology (both hardware and software) rather than become dependent on the tool itself.
Data collection from all aspects of the business will allow tennis managers to make decisions based on facts instead of intuition. Report generation will be point and click with the ability to select specific information and information you wish to see. All of that will be in real time, meaning data will be current right now!
How we communicate to clients and employees will take many forms. Email and some form of social media will still be present. But, this is one of the more likely places for changes to occur. The tennis professional must be quick to adapt to whatever tools become available.On-court Skills
The tennis professional of 2025 will have a clear understanding of biomechanics and fitness. The general population in the world now expect a lot more from fitness as it is seen as a way of living. Learning how to develop fitness programs that fit your clientele is becoming more essential than it has ever before. It will have to vary in ages and skill levels, but being injury free is necessary.
On-court technology has been long in coming to the average tennis pro. Shot radar is becoming more common. Additional smart court features will be a selling point for any facility. More than just playing, but having your shot select tracked, depth location and statics available could be a huge teaching tool. And the more features available, the more attractive the facility.
It will be interesting how new coach’s education will be delivered to teaching professionals. On-demand education is already being developed and delivered. Virtual reality coaches training will be the next step. This will allow the coach being trained to really feel what the trainer is seeing, just like if it was them giving the lesson or instruction.
In today’s game, a coach will find smart courts, radar, distance tracker, shot location, height and speed of a shot, video and internet capabilities, etc. In 2025, there will most probably be more.
Teaching courts will be smart with not only the ability to measure speed, but also track locations of where the student contacted the ball as well as where it bounced. These courts will also have video capacities that can be seen on the internet. Courts will be retrofitted with above-ground technology to monitor all kinds of different aspects of a student’s performance and automatically generate reports and statistics that a student and coach can discuss as part of their lesson. These tools will be another selling point of what a coach can provide the student along with video of the hitting session for the lesson. Also because of these capabilities, a student can send match video to the coach for evaluation.
Delivery of said education will come in many forms including life and on-demand presentations. Who will employ the tennis professional in 2025? Country Clubs
It is unlikely the number of country clubs will increase over the next 10 years. At best, the numbers of tennis professionals employed at country clubs is likely to be flat or slightly down. This is based on population changes as well as real estate values. Commercial Clubs
There may be an increase of tennis professionals employed by commercial clubs. The population would have shifted with a majority of young working families which will be heavily targeted by these employers. In many ways, commercial clubs can provide high-quality leisure and recreational instruction.Gated Communities & Home Owner’s Associations (HOA)
This category of employers is likely to increase and compete for the recreational and leisure activity dollars. Local communities within cities are starting to provide options for leisure and recreational activities for varying age groups. The facilities are built with the idea of a complete lifestyle and will address the needs of each family member. Tennis, swimming pools, gyms, Pickleball, golf courses, green belts/parks are just a few facility offerings with approximately a one-court (tennis court/pool) per 100 homes ratio. In the western United States, this is quickly becoming the norm, but this concept has also been adapted all over the country.Cities, Counties & Leased Facilities
Cities, counties and government-funded facilities have stagnated. Where cities once built multiple small and specialized facilities, the current trend is now to build one large, multipurpose facility. These facilities are mostly funded by bonds or additional taxes. Remembering that cities are not in the business of making money but providing recreational services to its citizens, sometimes it is cheaper for cities to lease these facilities to private companies rather than run them.
Geography will also be a factor. The north and east coasts will probably continue to be dominated by country clubs and municipalities. The southeast coast will most likely see a reduction of country clubs and an increase of gated communities and HOAs. The Midwest will likely have less country clubs, more commercial club, municipalities and some HOA-gated communities. And in the west coast, there is likely to be far fewer country clubs, more municipalities and a lot more HOA/Gated Communities.
As tennis professionals, it is best to continue to be proactive with your own professional career development. Attending educational offerings, local and national conferences keeps us aware of trends, products, tools and methods as we continue to look forward to what a tennis-teaching professional might look like in 2025.