Tennis Industry magazine


Cardio Tennis: Numbers Game

Don’t have the numbers yet for an ‘ideal’ Cardio Tennis session? You can still create a great CT experience for your players, which will quickly grow your classes — and your profits.

By Ted Murray

Cardio Tennis is ideally designed for six to eight players per court, since it’s very social, with games-based sessions. With six to eight, it’s also easier to integrate any differences in ability levels of your participants.

But sometimes, you may end up with five players or fewer, especially if you’re just starting your Cardio Tennis program. Or, you may be like me — I try to keep my class running outdoors throughout the Colorado winters, and I have a few die-hards who show up no matter what, even if it requires shoveling snow from the courts! During these winter months, though, I seldom have more than four participants a session.

So, does having five or fewer players mean you can’t run a Cardio Tennis session? Not at all. You simply need to adapt to smaller numbers — and in fact, this ability to adapt can be your key to growing your program.

For example: Let’s say you’re teaching at a resort and have a drop-in program, but you stick to a “rule” that you must have at least four people in the class, thinking that at $15 per person, you can make the equivalent of a $60 private lesson. On Monday, a couple shows up, but is disappointed because, with only two people, you cancel the drop-in clinic. On Tuesday, a family of three comes down, but again the clinic is canceled. On Wednesday, another couple is disappointed. The end result? A lousy program, and no one returns.

But, if you had welcomed all of them, then by Wednesday you would have had a dedicated class of seven participants. And by the end of the week, for five hours on the court, you would have taken in at least $420 from those seven participants — and probably more once they rave about the program to their friends and other guests.

So being able to adapt and run Cardio Tennis for smaller groups can prove beneficial for your business.

Of course, whether for eight people or four, to be Cardio Tennis it must still incorporate six key components:

  1. The three segments: Warm-up, Cardio (games and drills), cool down
  2. Music
  3. Heart rate monitoring
  4. Use of Cardio balls
  5. Agility ladder: the ultimate Cardio Blast
  6. The right professional to lead the class

You’re the Key to Success

Success in small group Cardio Tennis depends almost entirely on you, the professional. Not only do you need to set the tone with your high energy, but you will almost always have to play in on a number of the games and control the pace with your own playing skills.

The segments of the class that require the least amount of adjustment are the warm-up and cool-downs. Since most warm-up and cool-down activities are based in pairs, this is quite simple.

Because the bigger challenge with small groups is knowing the appropriate games to play, a pro will often spend the majority of time focusing on drills. While this may make sense, it will limit the fun and engagement of the class. It also might seem easier for you as the pro, but remember, it’s not about you. The curriculum for Cardio Tennis is 70 percent games-based and 30 percent drill-based. You should stick as close to this as you can.

The key to the drill portion is to ensure there is no running for the sake of running. Everything in Cardio Tennis has a purpose, and that includes touches on the ball. Make sure players are hitting lots of practical shots.

As in all Cardio Tennis, the agility ladder should be used when appropriate, however with smaller numbers there might not be time for the ladder. You don’t want to completely kill your participants! It is really easy to blast them way over their target heart rate.

Remember, this is safe Cardio Tennis — not boot camp! Allow your players to recover to their target heart-rate zone before moving to the next segment.

Program Creativity Pays

How do you come up with creative and stimulating games? We’ve done that for you. If you’re an Authorized Provider, you have access to more than 50 Signature Cardio Tennis Games and the Cardio Tennis TV channel. Often a good segue from drills to games is live hitting or cooperative competition games. (A great game for four, for example, is Brazilian Bingo, where you have cooperative hitting until one of the two balls is missed and then it becomes a competitive doubles point.)

Any number of champion/challenger options is available as well. Many Signature Cardio Tennis Games for six to eight players can be tweaked for five or less just by playing half the court. Games like Desperate Housewives, Intense, and Recover Doubles can all be played half court with four or fewer players. Games like Rainmaker, 32, and 7-Up can be played with five. Keep in mind when you have five or less for games, Cardio Blasts will not be as prevalent.

We typically do not recommend playing games with serves in Cardio Tennis because it slows things down. However, with a small group, there is now an opportunity. For example, this cooperative/competitive game incorporates the serve, return and volley: Two pairs cooperate to reach a target number of points before the other pair. One player on each team serves and volleys. If the pair is successful in hitting the serve, return and first volley crosscourt they get one point and the person who received now serves the next ball. Everyone stays engaged and active while practicing a valuable doubles skill in a controlled environment.

When you use the Signature Cardio Tennis Games and some creativity, you will keep your classes safe, engaged, active, and most important, having fun, no matter how few or how many participants you have. When your energy and enthusiasm increase when only a few people show up, you’ll soon find your classes will grow, and in no time your problem will be when to add more classes or keep the wait-list people happy…. unless you happen to be teaching in the snow!

Become a Cardio Tennis Authorized Provider!

To access all Signature Cardio Tennis Games and activities, CTTV, the Cardio Tennis Triples Playbook and the Cardio Tennis Games Competition Playbook, register as an Authorized Provider (AP). APs receive many benefits that can help grow their business, including exclusive equipment and product discounts, access to Cardio Tennis drills, marketing and promotional materials, research, and much more. To register as an AP, see the schedule of Cardio Tennis training events held throughout the country and much more for providers, visit

Ted Murray has been on the Cardio Tennis Training Team since its inception in 2005. He has lived and taught in eight countries while coaching juniors like Leander Paes and Gigi Fernandez, owned a tennis & fitness club in Florida, and is the co-author of the book Tennis Unlimited. His most recent book, a tennis novel, is Tennis from the Heart: Pursuing the Dream. You can contact him at or visit him personally in Boulder, Colo.



TI magazine search

TI magazine categories

TI magazine archives


Movable Type Development by PRO IT Service