February 2009 -- Cardio Tennis is entering its fifth year and continues to excite coaches and consumers, generate revenue for facilities, and catch the interest of the media. Cardio Tennis is "the third way to play tennis."
When this program was launched in 2005 at the U.S. Open it was already a good product. Since then it has evolved, matured and been refined even further.
Why is Cardio Tennis a better product now than it was in the first few years? The National Cardio Tennis Speakers Team has always strived to be creative and continuously take the product to the next level. Some of the areas where we have learned, improved and placed a lot of educational emphasis include the following:
- The use of games in the cardio segment of the class (transition balls)
- Engaging coaches and consumers in the use of heart rate monitors
- The use of sport or power ladders
- Improvement of professionals' feeding skills
- Expansion to a variety of market segments
These improvements have made it a much more attractive program for both professionals and consumers.
In the early years of Cardio Tennis our surveys told us the pros were spending about 70 percent of the cardio portion doing drills and only about 30 percent playing games. Through education we encouraged pros to switch those numbers around since it is the games that keep consumers coming back for more.
Use of low-compression balls
The challenge for the pros is doing games with players of mixed abilities; the answer to this challenge is the use of low-compression balls as they are the great equalizer. Low-compression balls during games also keep the court safe and help to keep any two players from dominating the points. It is important that you educate consumers about the benefits of using this type of ball and show that it's not just for starter players. Low-compression balls allow for longer rallies and, therefore, keep players in their zone. If some are having a first experience with this ball or they do not move well, let them play two bounces; this way everyone succeeds and has a good time. The use of foam balls is recommended in warm-up and cool-down exercises.
Heart rate monitors:
The heart rate monitor is the tool that elevates the fitness profile of the Cardio Tennis class and substantiates Tennis - for the health of it!"????
How to use a heart rate monitor and its benefits is a topic thoroughly discussed in all advanced Cardio Tennis education and USPTA Cardio Tennis specialty courses. In the early days of Cardio Tennis it was thought to be too much of a financial investment to get involved with heart rate monitors. We have learned that the key is for pros to have their own, use it while leading the class and be proficient with it. It can be good customer service to invest in a 10-pack of heart rate monitors to loan to your clients and if you can do this, great. All it really takes to "sell" the HRM is for the consumer to witness the pro pulling his or her own file at the end of the workout; once they see the workout data and calorie burn they will get excited and want one for themselves. Polar offers Cardio Tennis coaches special pricing of $70 for the F6 model and $102 for the F11 on a one-time, personal-use purchase. This is a minimal investment into one's personal health as well as a smart business investment. You can also open an account with Polar and stock some in your pro shop. Now that you have the consumer excited about the product you can easily make the sale. For details on Polar pricing e-mail Christy DeLucia at Christy.DeLucia@polar.fi.
The ultimate sideline activity:
The ladder is a "must-have" court accessory for a Cardio Tennis class because, first and foremost, it is fun!
- All ages will go through the exercise ladder (many participants will not get on the ground to do push-ups or sit-ups).
- It gives players a place to go after they have hit the ball instead of running in circles.
- It is training them on different footwork patterns so they can be better prepared for "emergency situations." And as we know, tennis has a lot of "emergencies."
From the beginning there was major emphasis on the feeding skills of the tennis professional, as it is critical to be able to feed to an individual's ability level and fitness level so each person gets the appropriate workout. The USPTA National Cardio Tennis Feeding Shootout has done wonders for raising the profile of the technical aspects of great feeding and raised the overall standards. This year marks the fourth annual competition and this format is a tough one! Please visit www.partners.cardiotennis.com to view the competition format; you'll want to practice this one before your division convention. The division winner receives $100 and will represent his or her division at the World Conference in Florida.
Cardio Tennis is a product that works well for many market segments including starter players, seniors, advanced and also CT4kids. It can be an add-on to the QuickStart Tennis Play Format or USPTA Little Tennis®. You can use it as a fundraiser, a social mixer or a warm-up for events or tournaments. For an incredible workout try Cardio Tennis on the beach!
Based upon the strong branding of the Cardio Tennis product, it is important any facility running the program is an official site. How does one become an official site? It is a very easy process; just follow the steps below.
Go to www.GrowingTennis.com and click on the "Cardio Tennis" tab. You will need to register your facility first before moving on to the Cardio Tennis application. Part 1 of the application will have you watch the 30-minute educational video and at the end there will be a personal code. Use the personal code to take a short test and fill out the application. (New Cardio Tennis facilities will be required to pay a one-time registration fee of $100.) Once you have submitted your $100 application fee you will receive the following benefits:
- An Official Cardio Tennis Marketing Kit ($100 value), including a 6-by-4-foot banner, heart rate range poster, James Blake Cardio Tennis poster, 25 Cardio Tennis brochures, Cardio Tennis marketing and media CD, Cardio Tennis music CD, five Cardio Tennis magnets and postcard
- A facility listing on the official Cardio Tennis Web site and the sites of industry partners, including the USTA for consumers and your members to find and sign up for your programs.
- Discounts on music for your Cardio Tennis program at Power Music and ClickMix
- Discounts on Polar heart rate monitors
- Access to 11 free Cardio Tennis drills on tennisdrills.tv and a discount membership to gain access to more than 600 drill videos
- Password protected online marketing and media tools to expand your Cardio Tennis program as well as extra educational material
- Monthly GrowingTennis E-Newsletter
- The opportunity to receive additional Cardio Tennis publicity through the TIA's public relations partner, The Sherry Group. (A small ad can cost several hundred dollars or more. An article from a participating journalist in your local paper is not only more impactful but free. It's great exposure for your CT program and invaluable publicity for your facility.)
- An opportunity to have a Rally for the Cure partnership
- Free subscription to RSI magazine and other business benefits
- Opportunity to request co-op marketing funds to help offset your start-up costs
If you have any questions or problems regarding the online registration process please contact Josh Myers at the TIA office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks to all of you and the USPTA for supporting the Cardio Tennis program.