Tennis Industry magazine


Our Serve: Creating That Collaborative Spirit

By Peter Francesconi

Walmart and Sam’s Club founder Sam Walton had a simple tip for success: “We’re all working together,” he said. “That’s the secret.”

Auto pioneer Henry Ford also knew: “Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.”

Success today is all about cooperation and being part of a joint effort. And this is true in the tennis industry.

In terms of growing this sport, one of the most important collaborations may have been forged last year when the “Coach Youth Tennis” curriculum was launched. CYT is a collaboration by the USTA, PTR, USPTA and USOC, designed to improve the quality and standards of teaching tennis to kids. Experts from these four organizations got together to create the CYT curriculum, and since early 2014, successful completion of the course is a requirement for certification by both the PTR and USPTA.

Basically CYT teaches coaches how to teach children tennis. This isn’t just something for new teaching pros; this is something all pros should know, including longtime pros who could use a course in how to deal with young students. The CYT curriculum provides continuing education credits for PTR and USPTA pros. CYT consists of six online courses that each take 20 to 40 minutes, then participants attend a three-and-a-half hour workshop.

Kirk Anderson, the USTA’s director of coach education, reports that since CYT launched in 2014, more than 39,000 online courses have been accessed and there have been nearly 15,000 unique users. At the end of 2014, more than 3,300 participants had completed the CYT process. For this year, 123 workshops are scheduled.

As important as CYT is to growth in this industry, however, the point here is the importance of the collaboration that created it. Let’s be frank: With two expert teaching pro organizations, plus the talented national and sectional USTA staffs, “working together” successfully in this industry often takes quite a bit of effort, especially when parties feel the need to claim credit and make it “theirs.” Too frequently, collaboration breaks down because groups perceive that someone is encroaching on their “turf.”

But Coach Youth Tennis is proof that, despite differences in procedures, perceptions and attitudes, we all are after the same things: increasing the number of people playing tennis, and in particular, getting more kids to realize how great tennis is. No one group can claim credit for Coach Youth Tennis — and that’s what makes this a great program, and a model for future collaboration and growth.

To truly thrive, to really work together, we need to let the collaborative spirit that created Coach Youth Tennis live in all areas of this industry.

Peter Francesconi, Editorial Director

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About the Author

Peter Francesconi is editorial director of Tennis Industry magazine.



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