ADDvantage magazineby Michele Krause, USPTA, National Cardio Tennis manager and speakers team director
Cardio Tennis: unique solutions to potential challenges
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.