Tennis Industry magazine

 

Our Serve: Catching Adult Players

By Peter Francesconi

I recently was looking at some marketing material for a product that, while suitable for all ages, was being targeted mainly to adults and older Americans. One of the hooks is that these groups have money (lots of it).

Now, in tennis, I fully support our efforts to reach younger players and bring more kids and teens into this sport. It’s important for the future of the game, and for the future of this industry.

But, let’s look at this in terms of your (and my) business. We need revenue — now — to survive. We need people to buy equipment (the larger the margin, the better), take lessons, book court time, play in leagues, buy apparel and shoes, etc. In most instances, we have to reach adults — they have the money, they have the time, and with health and fitness such a big issue, they should have the desire and motivation to get out on the court.

What they may not have, though, is an easy and welcoming way to enter this sport, designed and targeted especially for them.

Many tennis facilities, teaching pros, and park & recs offer “adult” classes and clinics. But how many of those are designed specifically for adults, to make them feel welcome, make them progress, and keep them engaged and wanting to continue in the sport?

Here’s an idea, and it will cost you nothing: Check out Play Tennis Fast, which is designed to bring adults into tennis, and see if it can be right for your facility or program.

Play Tennis Fast was put together by the Tennis Industry Association to help grow this sport, and like most things the TIA does, PTF is free to use. It’s an option for tennis providers to help get adults engaged in tennis for the long term. If you’re a facility or teaching pro, it will help create tennis consumers for your business.

The details for PTF can be found at PlayTennis.com. Briefly, it’s a course of six one-hour lessons designed to introduce or welcome back adult players to tennis. Importantly, it uses slower balls, which helps adults achieve success quickly.

PTF has a solid foundation — based largely on the successful, global ITF TennisExpress program for adults. For PTF, the TIA also had input from top PTR and USPTA pros. The TIA is not looking for any credit (you don’t even have to use the name “Play Tennis Fast”). It just wants to get more adults playing and consuming tennis.

PTF has not been heavily pushed yet, but pilot programs at facilities in South Carolina have been well received (one saw 21 new adult players). There’s also been interest from a few USTA sections and a group of clubs in one state to offer this option to facilities as their intro to tennis adult program.

Check out Play Tennis Fast on PlayTennis.com. If it’s right for you and your business, use it to bring in long-term adult tennis consumers.

Peter Francesconi, Editorial Director
peter@tennisindustrymag.com

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About the Author

Peter Francesconi is editorial director of Tennis Industry magazine.

 

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