Become a Tennis Advocate
We all want people on our side. As teaching pros or coaches, you want your students to think positively about you, to talk you up to others who may not know you or your talents. As retailers, you want your customers to know that you’ll go that extra mile for them, but in return, you’d like their loyalty and repeat business. As facility managers, you want your players to talk up your courts and your programs, bringing others out to play.
It’s all good for your soul. And it’s good for your business.
But, as important as it is to have people advocating for you and your business, it’s maybe even more important that the sport have people advocating for tennis in their local communities — with schools, businesses, colleges, and park and rec associations.
Yes, tennis is on a high right now — participation is up, equipment sales are up, play is up. But despite the good news, too many courts are still being torn up and replaced with parking lots and strip malls, or given over to other sports or activities. Too many local, school, and college budgets are reducing or eliminating their expenditures for tennis. This sport needs advocates on the local level to turn this tide. And that’s where you can help greatly.
The USTA earlier this year began a campaign to create and help “tennis advocates” throughout the country. The USTA — but in reality, the sport as a whole — needs passionate people to organize and lobby their local park and rec departments to ensure that tennis is getting its fair share of the budgeted recreational funds. The sport needs advocates to help develop and run after-school tennis programs to introduce the sport to the next generation of players. Colleges and universities need to be contacted to establish intramural tennis programs, and to prevent courts from being lost.
You need to jump into the fight on the local level. Talk with park and rec and other town officials. Meet with school physical education teachers. Get to know the athletic departments at your local college. And get together with your local Community Tennis Association or USTA section or district, even the USTA national office, to push for tennis in your community.
Your business depends on tennis and keeping people playing the sport. You cannot afford not to become an advocate for tennis. It’s time to get out there and make your voice heard in your community.
See all articles by Peter Francesconi
About the Author
Peter Francesconi is editorial director of RSI magazine.