October-November -- Tennis professionals are having a lot of fun and success with Cardio Tennis as well as making money. Cardio Tennis is a wonderful program, but there are a few "challenges" one can encounter when it comes to the use of music, attracting the fitness market, using heart rate monitors, and working with starter and advanced tennis players. Unique solutions to these challenges will be addressed in the next few articles.
Consumers need to be educated on the program, its purpose, outcome and equipment, and this is the job of the tennis professional. Consumers need to know you understand workout principles and healthy heart workouts. As the saying goes, "Failing to prepare is preparing for failure."
In order to help the Cardio Tennis professional to be as prepared as possible, in this segment I would like to tackle some of the challenges of using music and attracting fitness members.
Most of us love music and we know it is fun, but some members complain about it in terms of loudness, type and interruptions. First, let the members know you will be using music and educate them on why music is a big component to working out. This can be accomplished through newsletters, signage and the welcome desk. Remember, your first line of defense is your front-desk staff; make sure they are trained, educated and have experienced the Cardio Tennis class.
For example, if a member is calling in for a court time let them know that Cardio Tennis will be on the court next to them. This way they can choose whether or not they want to make the reservation for that day/time. If you do permanent court time you might consider offering a discount for the court next to the Cardio Tennis court. As time passes I think you will find that those members playing near the Cardio Tennis court start to enjoy the music too and look forward to it! In fact, there are a number of facilities that are installing speakers on the tennis courts, both indoor and out, and playing the music throughout the day; how’s that for liberating our sport!
Keep it low-volume.
Although it is fun to really blast the music, it is easier on everyone if you keep it at a decent decibel. This helps you as the instructor to be heard more easily and it doesn’t overwhelm the players on the other courts.
Schedule at low-volume court usage times.
Research shows the prime time for Americans working out is 5 to 8 a.m. and tennis court prime time is 9 a.m. to noon. Schedule your Cardio Tennis classes in the early morning to accommodate the "workout" crowd and since the courts are often underutilized during this time you can crank up the music. It is a win-win situation as you are catering to a potentially new customer base and making use of the early-morning court time.
Use personal music devices such as iPods, etc.
Most people today own some sort of MP3 player and since there is little to no instruction in Cardio Tennis (with the exception of drill explanation) this would allow each player to be tuned into their own music.
Try different kinds of music - keep it within their genre.
There are many music genres to choose from on powermusic.com including country, classical, adult contemporary and oldies, all mixed to 130-150 BPM, as well as top 40, hip-hop and Latin. Powermusic does offer a discount on music CDs for official Cardio Tennis sites. Please visit partners.cardiotennis.com for more details. Other music sources include workoutmusic.com and danceclassicshowcase.com.
Placement of the sound system.
Place your music system on the side of the court where the players will spend most of the time and keep the volume low. You might not hear the music but at least the customers can. There are numerous choices now for MP3 docking stations. Members of the Cardio Tennis national speakers team like the Sonic Impact at si5.com. It sells at a good price, is small enough to pack in a suitcase, but puts out good volume, and has a hardcover case that provides protection and makes it easy to direct the volume.
Get key members involved or tough customers to buy into the program.
Key club members and skeptics can become influential supporters of Cardio Tennis. When a coach at a country club in North Carolina started Cardio Tennis he was getting complaints from one of the golfers (the courts were close to the course). As the golf member was complaining to him through the fence about the music the coach calmly said to the golfer, "Your wife, who is here right now, seems to really like the music and the class." Guess who was at the cardio class the next week?
Offering quiet Cardio Tennis is an option when everything else you have tried just doesn’t work.
Leading a quiet Cardio Tennis class places more pressure on the pro to amp up the enthusiasm and energy levels, but it is definitely an option and has proven successful at many facilities.
There will always be some traditionalists but focus on selling the great features of music.
- Music creates an exciting mood and a party atmosphere!
- Music is an attraction to new players and many returning players; it can help them to get more enjoyment out of our sport.
- Research shows people will work out with 30 percent more intensity if they are exercising to music.
- Music is played at World TeamTennis matches, other professional tennis events and on changeovers at the U.S. Open.
- Have you ever walked into a fitness center and not heard music?
A huge target market for Cardio Tennis is the fitness market. The fitness industry continues to grow and dominate traditional sports participation. Unlike many other traditional sports, tennis has Cardio Tennis to spark the fitness junkie’s interest. Our industry’s focus should be on getting those fitness people on the tennis courts. The two biggest challenges we get from that market are:
1) I do not pay for group exercise classes so why do I have to pay for Cardio Tennis?
In a typical fitness/tennis club environment the two departments are managed under two different budgets, and tennis professionals and fitness professionals get compensated differently. You need to share with clients that Cardio Tennis requires the right pro who has been trained in a special skill set. It also requires more equipment than a traditional tennis class, such as heart rate monitors, music, transition balls, sideline tools, etc.
If the fee issue becomes too challenging for fitness members you may want to look at the long-term benefits to your program (like a regular aerobic class) and offer free classes. If the fitness members are participating, engaged and loving Cardio Tennis they will eventually get involved in other lesson programs, buy equipment and clothing, and add tennis to their membership.
2) I’m not a tennis player so I won’t be able to do it.
This statement comes from both the fitness enthusiast and the beginner player.
Inform them that if they have some hand/eye coordination and are willing to try something new, Cardio Tennis will be an exciting, engaging, calorie-burning way to exercise. In fact, Cardio Tennis is "more gain, less pain."
Cardio Tennis is for all ability levels, specifically those who are new to the game, because it doesn’t matter where or how you hit the ball. In fact, in many classes you don’t even have to hit a serve. This alone will appeal to many of those people. And they will naturally improve and learn just by being out there and moving.
New players often think they will burden or hold back participants. Again, educate them that the class is for all levels and the use of transition balls will equalize the playing field and create a safe environment. The coach is trained to feed according to skill level and fitness level, which ensures everyone gets a great workout and has fun in the process.
Cardio Tennis is not outcome based, it is more performance based with the goal for each player to get his or her very best workout. The emphasis is not on competition, although games should be played in all classes based upon the fun factor games provide. You can play games with or without keeping score.
Cardio Tennis is based on play first and learn as you go along. Initial reports are that those who start with Cardio Tennis pick up the game quicker and get better faster because they experience real-life movements right from the start.
In the next article I will offer solutions to heart rate monitor challenges as well as challenges involved with starter and advanced players. If you have experienced a specific challenge not mentioned please e-mail me at email@example.com.