Our Serve: Keep the Message Simple
In March, I attended the “Future of Tennis Summit” held during the Indian Wells tournament, where the dialogue and ideas on increasing tennis’s visibility and participation were terrific. But for me, there was one simple moment that clearly defined what this industry needs to do.
During the final panel discussion, about how to move the needle on the adult frequent player market, PTR CEO Dan Santorum was asked why he plays tennis. He said simply, “For my health.”
We tend to overcomplicate so many things in this industry. But the plain, simple truth is that tennis is a healthy activity for everyone — and too often, we bury that uncomplicated message.
I’ve said before that as an industry, we need to do a better job of promoting the health and fitness aspect of tennis, because it will bring people into the sport and create frequent players. We need to stop ceding this health and fitness messaging to other sports and get together on an organized tennis and health campaign.
Health and fitness is the most important thing when it comes to people playing this sport. Yes, we all know the health benefits of the game, but communicating that to the general public? We just haven’t done that well.
And this leads into something else I’ve said before: This industry already has a successful program geared to health and fitness — Cardio Tennis.
People want to lose weight. Cardio Tennis does that. People want to burn calories and get in shape. Cardio Tennis does that too. People want to improve their tennis skills. Cardio Tennis also does that. People want to have fun and socialize. Guess what program does that? This is not complicated.
Cardio Tennis was created just nine years ago and already has 1.5 million players, according to independent research. It has already proven itself, so why is this program not running rampant throughout your facility, your parks, your USTA section, the national USTA office?
You’re going to hear more about Cardio Tennis in this magazine, with regular short pieces about how it can impact your business and participation. In this issue, the Your Serve (on page 36) by longtime teaching pro Ted Murray is about some of the possibly overlooked benefits Cardio Tennis offers both consumers and the industry.
The TIA, with limited resources, has done an amazing job with Cardio Tennis so far. But it’s time we all stepped up here. It’s not hard to think of creative ways to use Cardio Tennis to achieve your facility’s or organization’s goals. Cardio Tennis creates frequent players. It brings in new players. It can create members for your CTA, your facility or club, and the USTA.
Cardio Tennis can solve many of the problems this industry faces. It’s really not that complicated.
Peter Francesconi, Editorial Director
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About the Author
Peter Francesconi is editorial director of RSI magazine.