June 2011 -- I have always been involved with tennis – as a student, junior player, collegiate player, and on to instructor and coach. To me there are always new things to learn and new ways to improve your game. Creative approaches that introduce players to tennis are integral to growing the sport, and one dynamic discovery is Cardio Tennis.
I have been a huge fan of Cardio Tennis since my introduction to it in 2006. I started teaching Cardio Tennis two nights a week and a Saturday morning class at a public facility in Oklahoma City.
When I moved to another club in Oklahoma City there were no Cardio Tennis classes, so I immediately established two evening classes and eventually added a Saturday morning class. My classes filled up quickly and each week my “regulars” showed up, excited to be on the court. The positive effects of Cardio Tennis were very evident. Cardio Tennis energized the students, who loved the class and even brought their friends along!
When I first moved to Woodside Health and Tennis Club in Kansas City, where I am today, only one Cardio Tennis class was offered on Saturday mornings. The tennis director, club manager and I decided to run Cardio Tennis just like the exercise classes at our club – included at no extra cost – for the entire summer. We increased our classes to one morning, noon and evening weekday class, and the original Saturday morning class. The summer experiment was highly successful as it allowed 85 different people to experience and enjoy Cardio Tennis.
In the fall, we switched to a pay session, charging $55 for unlimited access to the cardio classes for a five-week period. In the first session alone 30 people signed up! Most members participated twice a week with a few “Cardiacs” (cardio tennis addicts) sweating it out in three classes each week. They were moving constantly, hitting tennis balls, and getting a fantastic workout! Some comments that I heard were: “That was so much fun!”; “Is it over already?”; and “Sign me up for the next class!”
People were enjoying the drills, the games and the camaraderie on the court. Moreover, they were meeting new players, playing with different skill levels, cheering each other on and having a blast! My tennis director was thrilled with the Cardio Tennis explosion at the club.
In the second session 30 people signed up again. Amazingly, this time I had 12 new people and some nonmembers, who were paying a higher rate -- $90 for the session. Cardio Tennis was bringing in money, new participants to the court, and prospective members into the club.
Due to the Cardiacs’ request, we have now introduced an Xtreme Cardio Tennis class, a one-and-a-half-hour class for those who want to work harder and longer, costing $90 for the five-week session. We offered a trial class limited to eight people (due to only one court being available) and it sold out in 24 hours. In addition, we are polling our members to gauge if they are interested in an early-morning class and/or another daytime class of Cardio Tennis.
My devotees have realized the health benefits of Cardio Tennis as well as the positive social environment that the class creates. One member told me that her cholesterol level had gone from elevated to below the normal level – all because she had been coming regularly.
Cardio Tennis allows all levels, genders and ages to be on the court together exercising and having fun. I encourage new members to come to class to meet people and possibly to find compatible players for a regular tennis match.
Cardio Tennis is a also great introductory session for a new or potential new member. Many facilities will offer a complimentary 30- or 60-minute private. If participants take a Cardio Tennis class instead you can accomplish the following:
- Get a good feel for their ability level because you are seeing them interact with a group of people of varying ability levels in realistic game situations, as opposed to feeding them balls from a basket or hitting with them in a private lesson situation.
- They are immediately meeting new people in a social environment that can lead to quick matchmaking and new friends.
- Financially speaking, it is more cost-effective to offer a complimentary Cardio Tennis class instead of a private lesson.
Over the years I have witnessed so many players embrace Cardio Tennis; they are in better shape and their tennis skills have markedly improved. Most importantly, they have found a new way to enjoy themselves on the tennis court.
In terms of profitability, we have 40 new people taking a class they have never taken and signing up for new sessions, as well as new club members. We limit each class to eight people per court and if more sign up, an additional instructor and court is necessary. This way you can maximize your pro-to-student ratio with extremely good results for everyone. I highly recommend that you offer Cardio Tennis at your facility; it is a winning proposition for players and management!
In the past, one had the choice to play doubles or singles. Now there is a third option: Cardio Tennis!