Cardio Tennis: Big time for your bottom line
By Joe Dinoffer
Think of some of the fitness fads over the past few decades: aerobics, jogging, home exercise equipment, spinning, Pilates, even kickboxing. People are signing up for these activities by the millions. Yes, the millions. So, why not Cardio Tennis?
If you’re not that familiar with it, here is what happens in a Cardio Tennis program, according to the information posted at partners.cardiotennis.com:
Taught by a Certified Tennis Professional, a typical Cardio Tennis program includes a short dynamic warm-up, a cardio workout, and a cool-down phase. The majority of the Cardio Tennis program is the “workout” phase, which should last 30-50 minutes. Most of this portion will include fast-paced drills where the professional feeds balls to players based on their ability and fitness level. Pros will find ways to keep players moving and challenged … all while having fun!
Picture a dozen people on two courts running through drills and stations, including hitting balls, quick-stepping through agility ladders, and more, all to the beat of dance music that would get anyone’s foot tapping. Best of all, properly run Cardio Tennis programs adapt for all levels of play, even beginners. Instead of normal tennis balls, beginners will have quick success with high-bouncing foam tennis balls or slow-bouncing regular tennis balls in short-court areas, and even trying junior racquets to ensure greater fun and control.
Compare Cardio Tennis to the boring option of riding a stationary bicycle in a sweaty fitness center, and you’ll quickly realize that the buzz and excitement for Cardio is justified. Participants will get a great cardio workout, burn a lot of calories, hit a lot of tennis balls and do a lot of running.
Cardio Tennis was recently introduced to tennis teaching pros in February at the USTA’s Community Tennis Development Workshop in Destin, Fla., and at the PTR Symposium on Hilton Head. There were also well-attended Cardio workouts at the USTA Annual Meeting in Palm Springs in March. Currently, the push is on to sign up facilities as Cardio Tennis sites, and the program will be rolled out to consumers around the US Open this summer.
So, how can you get more people on the court to give Cardio a try? Here are a few suggestions to help you market the program:
‘No experience needed’ groups
This is one of the greatest things about Cardio Tennis. You leverage the appeal of fitness but add the benefits of fun that tennis offers. After all, everyone loves striking something. Make sure to offer classes for players with little or no experience.
Large segments of our society sign up for classes in order to potentially meet someone to date. Promote beginner and intermediate singles groups, but be strict — no married people allowed!
Seniors have special needs and want you to address those needs. Just modify your movement and keep a special eye on the pace of your activity. And, of course, get a signed waiver or doctor’s release if you want to be extra careful.
‘Competitive player’ groups
Go past the promotional aspect of Cardio Tennis and realize that this is a serious concept with serious benefits to everyone, including competitive players. If you don’t have enough courts to keep everyone playing at all times, rotate people through other activities such as agility ladders, jump ropes, etc.
Opportunities to advance from group to group
Don’t forget that everyone wants to improve. The potential to move up from one group to the next can be a great motivator.
Here are some general suggestions to consider in trying out any of these ideas:
- Set a minimum required number for any class to be conducted. Set your fees based on the local market for group tennis lessons and also for group fitness classes at your local gym.
- Treat this concept as a “business within a business.” It is a serious opportunity to build your customer base and enhance your bottom line. Remember that every committed tennis player you gain is literally worth thousands of dollars in revenue over the life of his or her tennis career.
- Make sure you become an approved Cardio Tennis site. Then you will get a kit of tools to help you market your Cardio Tennis program. Go to partners.cardiotennis.com for more information. Keep in mind that only approved sites can receive these tools.
- The bandwagon is already there. You just need to jump on it. A national media campaign will be launched around the 2005 US Open. In addition to promotional information available when you become an official Cardio Tennis site, you can also reprint copies of magazine ads, put links on your own website, scan and send exciting stories about Cardio Tennis as attachments on group e-mails, or use available graphics and logos to create your own fliers.
Above all, have fun. Fitness and fun go hand-in-hand and that’s what Cardio Tennis is all about.
Cardio Tennis Drill Ideas
Here’s a drill for beginners that can even work well for tournament players: Start players on the baseline with a ball in hand. Blow a whistle. Have them run toward the net and self-feed a short overhead once they are inside the service box. Let them smash it. They will get exercise, have fun, and even start building tennis skills, all at the same time.
For competitive players, try this drill: Play “no-ad running games,” where the server has to run at the end of each point to set up and serve the next ball. The server doesn’t have to wait for the receiver to be ready. This should get the receiver moving fast as well.
See all articles by Joe Dinoffer
About the Author
Joe Dinoffer is a Master Professional for both the PTR and USPTA. He speaks frequently at national and international tennis teacher workshops as a member of both the HEAD Penn and Reebok National Speaker's Bureaus. He is president of Oncourt Offcourt Inc. and has written 16 books and produced more than 30 instructional videos.
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