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ADDvantage magazine
Create Your Path to New Players
by Michelle Brown, USPTA Elite Professional
I think every club has a program for recruiting new adult tennis players. How they find your tennis program may be different everywhere.

Many tennis pros count on their members to reach out to them. Maybe you reach out through public programming via a parks and recreations program in your community. Both of those rely on a person seeking out places to learn to play. Everyone is a potential tennis player!

How can we reach a person who doesn’t even know it’s an option to learn to play tennis?

This question came to me as I was trying to fill my daytime teaching hours in order to maximize my on-court time.

Seek out clubs and online groups you may already belong to:
I reached out to a couple of the “mom” groups on Facebook and just asked…who is interested in learning to play tennis? I talked a little bit about me, the club and the day/time I was offering the group. I was able to give them a special rate (member/nonmember) and a short six-week program. They liked this short-term commitment. It’s just enough time to have fun and see some progress. I provided racquets to those who wanted to wait and see if they liked tennis.
 
Advertise to current members, potential members and friends of friends:
These programs are a great way to use slow court time. Just make sure it doesn’t run into bus pickup time or an early release day/time.

Make them feel comfortable before they ever touch the tennis court:
I used a simple sign up with questions to level the playing field. Ask what their experience with tennis has been. Keep the responses light.

For example:
A. I’ve never seen a tennis ball before
B. I’ve hit against a garage door
C. I’ve played in high school, but haven’t touched my racquet since...
D. I played a lot in the past, but am looking to get the rust off my game

When you explain that you will be organizing new groups to ensure that everybody is similarly leveled, it helps people decide to give it a try. When trying something new, people don’t want to look silly, especially around other moms or friends. Doing this work on the front end shows a potential tennis student that you care.
 
Get staff in your club involved.

Ask the staff at the club nursery or the front desk if they will help you find potential people for your new group. Offer them an incentive for every person they bring you. It could be as simple as a smoothie from the club café or an Amazon gift card for each person they refer and get signed up. It takes a little bit of work, but it is worth it!

Sharing my love for tennis makes me positively happy. There are many ways to do outreach, this is one that has worked well for me. How have you been able to connect and bring in fresh faces to your tennis programs? I would love to hear what has worked for you. More to come on this subject as it is always evolving. For more information please visit positivelytennis.wordpress.com .

About Michelle Brown
Michelle has worked in the tennis industry since 2000 after getting involved with her daughter Jordan’s tennis lessons. She focuses on the red ball level and adult beginners. Prior to moving to the New England Division area, she worked for the USTA in Florida overseeing all junior tennis programs from red ball to Tennis on Campus. She enjoys teaching and has just as much fun as those learning to play tennis.