June 2012 -- It's always helpful to hear what's working for others in the industry. In that vein, here are the experiences of two tennis-teaching professionals who could inspire you to infuse new life into your own Cardio Tennis programming.Kevin VanHaitsma, USPTA, Michigan Athletic Club:
How we doubled our Cardio Tennis participation
Like many clubs, we have been offering Cardio Tennis for the past five or six years and it is one of our most popular classes. But the big question was: How can we continue to grow participation?
We knew we would need new players to add into our program. In a struggling economy, with overall membership levels down over the past few years, new players were tough to come by. Our goal was to find a fresh market of players that we had not tried to tap into before.
We decided to partner with our personal training department. They hold their signature weight-loss challenge, "I Lost it at the Club," for our members in January and February. The program gives points for different activities, and has prizes at the end of the eight weeks for the most points collected, and also for the most weight lost. Cardio Tennis became one of the activities they could choose, and they received the maximum number of points. Our Cardio Tennis classes cost $9 for members and $15 for nonmembers. We dropped the price to $5 for anyone in "I Lost it at the Club" for the eight-week period.
While we were hoping to get a few more players, the results far surpassed our expectations. We more than doubled our participation from the year before. We started maxing out all of our classes, even adding additional courts to certain classes to handle the number of players. We went from 153 players in January/February of 2011 to 351 players in January/February of 2012. The following chart shows our Cardio Tennis participation over a 14-month period.
In looking to expand not only Cardio Tennis, but any class, I would highly recommend finding ways to partner with different departments and/or organizations. Why limit the tennis department to just the "tennis" members? Find a way to partner up and potentially double the participation!
Bill Riddle, USPTA, National Cardio Tennis Speaker, Bluegrass Yacht and Country Club, Hendersonville, Tenn.:
Cardio Tennis and the "small club"
With Cardio Tennis in its seventh year, a question still asked is, "Would Cardio Tennis work at my small club?"
There seems to be a misconception that you need to be at a larger facility or one that offers fitness alongside tennis for Cardio Tennis to be successful, but that is not the case. Cardio Tennis works at any size facility and is an ideal alternative if you are a tennis-only club. Now your members/clients can get their cardio fitness fix at your facility instead of going to an alternate site to use cardio equipment. Plus, Cardio Tennis is far more engaging and social than any piece of cardio equipment. (Nobody gives you a high-five when you are on the treadmill or elliptical.)
Additionally, there seems to be the concern that a facility needs multiple courts, a large staff or a huge membership base to make Cardio Tennis work - once again, not the case.
Most of us would consider a small club to be one that has four courts or less. Common objections might include:
- I don't have court availability for the program. All the more reason to offer Cardio Tennis! If available court time is at a premium, offering Cardio Tennis classes will accommodate more bodies per court hour, which is a win/win for both you and the membership.
- The music will bother the membership. We can't begin to stress enough that the music does not need to be at a high volume for a successful session. As long as you inform those present that there will be music and explain the importance of training while listening to music, you will find that most clients will enjoy the music on the other courts. The volume level overall in most cases should be just enough for those on the cardio court to hear.
- I'm the only professional on staff and I don't have time in my schedule. Again, instead of doing a high-percentage of private lesson programming, encourage clients to add Cardio Tennis into their weekly schedule; this gives them another opportunity to be on the court with you for an hour. Cardio Tennis is by no means a substitute for private coaching, but is necessary as a train-for-tennis component for anyone who wants to be a complete and better tennis player.
- My smaller membership numbers will not fill classes. If you take a Cardio Tennis Training Course, follow the Cardio Tennis business plan, educate the consumer and use the marketing tools, getting six to eight players per class is easy.
- Because my facility is small I can only offer one Cardio Tennis session per week. All too often we hear a facility (big or small) is offering just one Cardio Tennis session per week and then bails out, saying it just didn't work. (Of course that doesn't work; 90 per cent of your clients will not be able to make the Wednesday, 9 a.m. class.) Honestly, I was one of those pros many years ago and then saw the light and enjoyed the success when we began offering Cardio Tennis five days a week. It really is one of those "build-it-and-they-will-come" type of situations.
Offering a variety of days and times each week entices the participants to buy into the program as it fits their need for flexibility. Offering a few morning sessions with a couple of night sessions and a weekend time can and will assist you in building a successful Cardio Tennis program. Mid-day Cardio Tennis (power lunch) can also work very well. Remember, most people don't go to the gym to ride the recumbent bike only on Tuesday mornings from 7 to 8 each week.
Also make sure you are giving your membership the option of "private" Cardio Tennis, where they form their own groups for a day and time that is convenient for both them and you. This is also a win/win for everyone; the pro now has a guaranteed hour, abilities will be more similar, the players are with their friends and you can charge more because it is "private" Cardio Tennis.
As an Authorized Provider of Cardio Tennis you will have access to the new "Cardio Tennis Interactive." This unique web-based health experience is designed to help participants get even better results, stay engaged with the program for longer periods of time, and increase the enjoyment of the health benefits associated with Cardio Tennis.
With each online health and wellness account, participants will be able to:
- Track their exercise, nutrition, goals, and results
- Download their Polar Heart Rate Monitor data directly into their account to track results (or manually enter the data; heart rate monitor not required)
- Participate in Fitness Challenges that will be specific to Cardio Tennis
- Receive customized programs designed for enhanced Cardio Tennis enjoyment, maintaining or improving fitness, weight loss and more
- Gain reward points for using the site, participating in challenges and more that can be used in the Cardio Tennis Rewards Store
This will create an online connection for every Cardio Tennis participant to have an even more amazing Cardio Tennis experience. There will be two, eight-week challenge programs that will run within Cardio Tennis Interactive™. For more information email email@example.com.
In addition, creating new classes, filling current classes to capacity, and increasing overall interest and participation is a breeze with the new Cardio Tennis Invitation System. Go to www.cardiotennis.com for more information and view the webinar.
Another plus is that with the newly introduced TRX Cardio Tennis your clients can now get their cardio as well as their strength, power, balance and flexibility training all in one workout. Visit www.cardiotennistraining.com for more information on TRX Cardio Tennis Training Courses.
Now, more than ever, Cardio Tennis is adaptable, scalable and flexible. The only boundaries are the limits within one's own creativity. If you've never done Cardio Tennis, now is a great time to get started. The program has evolved considerably since its inception in 2005 and is very precise and scientific.
If you are in a rut, have never been to a Cardio Tennis Training Course, or if you took a course between 2005 and 2008, register for today's Cardio Tennis Training Course. It will inspire and motivate you and will improve your overall coaching skills for any type of coaching you do.
If you have any questions or need assistance with Cardio Tennis, please email me at Michele@cardiotennis.com.