Tennis Industry magazine



One Teaching Pro Group or Two?

Great job on the “Teaching Assistance” article in the June RSI. It was very well written and brought to light all of the opinions, facts and views of both organizations and industry leaders. You were very diplomatic and skillful in not taking sides or leading to any conclusions before action is taken.

Kirk Anderson
New Fairfield, Conn.

Compliments on your “State of The Industry” articles. Very well done. As a teaching pro, the story in the June issue is of particular interest. But I do think a comparison between golf and tennis is not as significant as it sometimes is made out to be.

The whole “access” issue separates the two sports. What do I mean? I can print business cards, go to a public tennis facility and advertise myself as a “tennis teaching pro.” How many golf courses can one just show up and start teaching or advertise that they are a “golf pro?” Not many, if any at all. Right or wrong, anyone can call themselves a tennis pro.

Furthermore, I do not see the PGA trying to promote one standard teaching method for the sport. Should the USPTA and PTR decide to join forces, they should take a similar approach. Focus on ways to grow the sport, make it more fun, etc. Minimize or eliminate a “teaching method” as a point of emphasis.

[Name Withheld]
Southern California

Your recent efforts to candidly discuss tennis participation challenges are much appreciated. In particular, I really liked your piece concerning a possible merger of the USPTA and PTR. Great work!

Kevin Theos
Tennis Service Representative, Alabama

Teaching Pros: Plan for the Future

In March, I attended the USTA Semi-Annual meeting in Dallas, where USTA Executive Director Gordon Smith shared some interesting statistics. Did you know that by the year 2040, 50% of the U.S. population, under 18, will be 50% white and 50% non-white? In the year 2010, babies born in the U.S. will be 50% white and 50% non-white.

My point in sharing those stats has nothing to do with our population makeup. It has to do with the next generation of industry leaders being proactive to their surroundings. I’ve been spending a great deal of time recruiting young people to teaching tennis. The average age of a tennis teaching pro is 46. That’s a depressing statistic since our game is growing in participation, but soon we will not have anyone to teach it.

As I speak to groups of teaching pros, I emphasize to them the need to be current. Generally, I find most teachers are on the court 30 to 35 hours a week and for the most part, totally disengaged from the operations of their clubs and also their members. If a teacher is 35 now, I believe he or she can teach 30 to 35 hours for maybe 10 years before burnout, injuries and boredom set in.

To avoid this, I recommend teachers take time to learn a second language (Spanish would be a good bet) and take some accounting and computer classes. Learning a bit about other cultures also could be your ticket to longevity in the business. Survey your club today and envision what the cultural makeup will be in 10 years.

Change is inevitable, and if our game is to continue its growth curve, then we as an industry must embrace change and not fight it.

Denny Schackter
Tennis Priorities Company (



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