A Major Link in the Chain
Sometimes I worry that teaching pros get sick of hearing about various programs touted as the best thing for the future of the game. If a group such as the USTA, TIA, PTR, or USPTA is putting money and resources into a program, they’re surely going to push it to the industry (and we’re going to cover it in RSI, too). But I think after a while, those in the industry just start tuning it out. They’ve heard it all before.
So I know I risk turning you off when I again mention the newest industry program designed to boost tennis participation. But please bear with me for a minute or two.
You’ve heard about QuickStart Tennis (initially called Project 36-60) in past issues of RSI and in other industry publications. Briefly, QST is a play format that involves using smaller racquets, lower bouncing balls, smaller courts and modified scoring to bring and keep children ages 10-and-under into the game. Some of you may have been doing this sort of thing for years, so you can’t really say this is completely new and revolutionary.
There are some clear advantages to what QST has to offer. For instance, you can get many more kids on court at one time, which means you can make more money per hour and per court. Also, you’re building a future revenue stream, as kids hopefully continue in tennis, continue to play at your facility, continue to take lessons and join leagues, and continue to buy equipment. And you might just hook their parents on playing tennis, too.
However, let’s be honest. There are and will be challenges for facilities and teaching pros. QST may require an investment in smaller racquets, transition balls, nets, and court lines, not to mention the marketing you may need to do to get people into the program. The hope, though, is that the benefits will far outweigh the potential challenges.
But here may be the really “revolutionary” part. With QST, there is now a clear pathway for people to play tennis for decades to come. QST gets kids into the game. The USTA Schools Program keeps them playing in phys ed and after school (together with Junior Team Tennis). The High-School No-Cut program keeps them playing through high school in a team environment. The phenomenally successful, and growing, Campus Tennis program keeps them playing on co-ed teams in college. And Adult League Tennis takes over from there. There’s tennis for everyone at every age, nearly from cradle to grave.
Don’t ignore QuickStart Tennis. See how it can work for you, and also check out the rest of the programs. All of these links create an unbroken chain of tennis that will, we all hope, keep people in the game, and keep you in business.
See all articles by Peter Francesconi
About the Author
Peter Francesconi is editorial director of RSI magazine.