Grow the Game

Overall Participation Is Up, But Frequent Players Dip

The news that tennis participation in the U.S. has exceeded 30 million players for the first time in more than 20 years reflects favorably on the unified “pathway” designed to improve the health of tennis and the industry for all stakeholders in the sport, says TIA President Jon Muir. New players made up 7.1 million of the total, while the majority of players — 14.8 million — consider themselves “regular” players, four to 20 times a year.

But of concern is a drop in “frequent” players — those who play tennis at least 21 times a year. That figure went from 5.62 million in 2008 to 5.3 million in the latest survey. “We have to increase the number of frequent players, to ensure a healthy sport for all,” says Muir. “Frequent players drive the tennis economy, and even though the overall participation news is good, it comes at a time when sales of tennis equipment, like many products at retail in the current economy, have been lagging.”

Getting more players on the path to becoming frequent players is a key focus of the TIA and USTA, along with a “roadmap” to support growth in the industry for all stakeholders. Priorities also include focusing on the growth of equipment and soft-goods sales at retail, and ensuring consistent and clear messaging for the sport targeted to both mainstream consumers and the industry.

Nominate your facility for the Top 50 Tennis Welcome Centers Award at

Industry Snapshot

Tennis Welcome Centers: 2,665

Cardio Tennis: 1,697

QuickStart Tennis: 1,355

Consumer Queries: 4 million monthly

Searchable Events: 100,000

Online Court Reservations: 1.2 million

Get Kids Moving

Cardio Tennis for Kids is a group play activity featuring action-based tennis drills and games for children ages 6 to 12 of all ability levels, emphasizing movement and fun using music and pedometers. Importantly, CT4Kids is a great complement to the QuickStart Tennis format and can be incorporated into a club’s current junior programming. Using age-appropriate equipment, the CT4kids environment develops tennis and athletic skills and improves health and fitness. It’s designed to invigorate children’s tennis programming and will provide an option to help fight childhood obesity.

The official debut of CT4Kids will be on Feb. 18 at the PTR’s International Tennis Symposium on Hilton Head Island, S.C. The three-hour CT4Kids workshop will be conducted by National Cardio Tennis Program Manager Michele Krause and members of the National Cardio Tennis Speakers Team. The workshop will consist of both classroom and on-court sessions.

TWC Spotlight: Dunigan Family YMCA

The Dunigan Family YMCA in Evansville, Ind., has been named a Top 50 Tennis Welcome Center for the past three years … and it doesn’t have any tennis courts. How is that possible?

It’s all thanks to the efforts of Siobhan Belloli, also known around town as “Coach B,” who convinced YMCA officials to let her turn the large gymnasium into a makeshift tennis court and run various tennis programs that everyone can afford.

Belloli has taught tennis all over the world and has won numerous awards for her community tennis outreach programs. “I want as many people as possible to have the opportunity to get involved in the sport,” she says.

If you would like to be highlighted as a Tennis Welcome Center of the Month, contact and tell us how your club or facility is leading the charge in the growth of the sport.


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