Tennis Industry magazine

 

Your Serve: The Case for POP

POP Tennis is easy to learn, uses similar skills as tennis and can help bring adults into the sport.

By Peg Connor

One of the ongoing challenges for tennis has been the perception that it is a difficult sport to learn. That it takes a long time to get new players to the point where they can actually play with confidence. And, that once they are playing, players must be matched up with others of similar ability to ensure a competitive and enjoyable game.

Tennis facility owners, directors and teaching professionals are well aware of the challenges they face in attracting and retaining new adult players to tennis. Meanwhile, the increasing popularity of pickleball is pulling both players and court infrastructure away from tennis.

What if there were a sport that combined the ease of onboarding players and the equalizing play of pickleball with the similar strokes and tactics of tennis? Such a sport currently exists, and it is called POP Tennis.

Played on a 60-foot court using low-compression balls and a light, shorter, easy-to-maneuver paddle tennis racquet with no strings, POP Tennis is a very social game that has the potential to increase racquet sports participation among adults.

Why should you consider offering POP Tennis? For many reasons:

POP Tennis is complementary to tennis. The skills, strokes, scoring and rules of POP Tennis are similar to tennis; the only difference is POP Tennis has one underhand serve. Current tennis players can easily play both POP and tennis. New POP players will have an easier time transitioning into tennis. Teaching pros can offer many of the same drills and games in POP Tennis clinics that they offer in tennis clinics.

Onboarding time is minimal. Tennis facilities can offer a one-hour POP Tennis introductory session to new players, and they will be able to jump on a court and play immediately. This means an immediate increase in mixer/league/tournament revenue.

Many facilities are already equipped for POP. Many tennis facilities already have low-compression balls, and 60-foot courts/blended lines and can be found using the court locator function on PlayTennis.com. Lining clay courts with 60-foot lines using a line sweeper is a snap. The USTA also offers grants for facilities looking to add 60-foot courts or lines, which are also used for youth tennis.

Event management is simplified. The equalizing nature of POP Tennis eliminates the need for matching abilities among players, easing set-up and management for event organizers. Play among friends and family becomes possible, increasing the social aspect and enjoyment of the sport.

As a tennis purist, I was initially skeptical about POP Tennis. But once I had a chance to play it, I had an absolute blast. More importantly, I started to understand the business opportunities for tennis facilities and teaching pros based on the feedback from players coming across my court.

Today, I see how POP Tennis can move the needle and help bring people into this sport — and help your tennis business at the same time.

Peg Connor has been involved in tennis ever since her first lesson at age 10. Her roles in the tennis industry have included that of certified teaching pro, collegiate coach, USTA clinician pro tour events manager and executive for a major racquet manufacturer. She also is consulting with the POP Tennis Association. Contact her at Peg@poptennis.com.

We welcome your opinions. Please email comments to info@tennisindustrymag.com

 

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