In this day and age, when we hear the word “footprint,” it’s usually
preceded by the word “carbon.” This carbon footprint is about our
environmental or ecological impact on Earth and its natural resources.
And although our carbon footprint is important, I would argue that for a
tennis professional, it may not be our most important footprint that we
will leave on this planet. What the word “footprint” means is the
impressions and images left behind by people. Simply put, in our career
as tennis professionals it is inevitable that we will have an impact on
others and ourselves both personally and professionally. Role Model Footprint
role model is someone who serves as an example and whose behavior is
emulated by others and provides a great source of personal motivation.
Chances are your membership and your students admire you. Sure, maybe
not all of them, but I bet you have more fans than you think.
careers and the actions we take daily leave an impact on a personal,
professional and psychological level. We are leaving our footprint on
our staff, membership, students, and community. Like it or not, we are
at least one person’s role model or idol. I often joke with my fellow
professionals that our jobs are like that of rock stars…without the
perks. Off the court, whether you are at the supermarket picking up
lunch or at a restaurant with friends, members always recognize you.
Our visibility within our clubs, among our staff, and our membership
obliges us to behave with at least awareness that we are being watched
by hundreds and even thousands. Like it or not, we have influence on
fans both young and old, multiplied by the huge factor of our racquet
skills, on-court presence, and our extroverted demeanor on the job.
you’ve been in this industry for a while, you have had a profound and
life-changing impact on somebody. Maybe it was a sensitive membership
issue which you resolved, or a club crisis and management sought your
advice. Remember that adult that was looking to get in better shape and
you made that happen with lessons? You are more than a role model, you
are a superhero sans the cape. The Barna Group, a research group
specializing in faith and culture, conducted a nationwide study,
sampling teenagers ages 13-17. More than 11 percent stated their biggest
role models were teachers or coaches.
Students believe that
their teacher/coach is a fountain-head of all knowledge. This belief of
the student must be kept alive by us, which is possible, only if we
continue to learn, educate and push ourselves.
Be aware of your impact on your staff, membership and your students. It’s up to you to determine if it’s positive or negative.Social Media Footprint
you know that the USPTA has a Social Media Policy? Anyone can view this
policy by visiting the association’s website at uspta.com.
seen far too many instances where it has hurt and professionally
endangered many because of an offensive tweet, a tasteless picture on
Facebook, or an ill-timed rant on their blog.
But what if there
is information on social media we project that may not be malicious,
criminal, or has harmful intent? It’s important to remember that
although many of us may be involved in this pastime to stay in touch
with family and friends, some in our industry use it for hiring,
recruitment and networking. You never know who may be tracking your
progress. Fair or unfair, perception can be everything in this industry.
Just a minimal social media presence still showcases to the outside
world how you promote and market yourself as a person. An article by Sam
Fiorella sources a recent Jobvite.com social recruiting survey that
reported that 89 percent of U.S. companies plan to use social media in
their employee searches. Companies are using social networking sites
like Facebook, MySpace, Twitter and LinkedIn to screen job candidates.
It also found that 50 percent of employers decided not to offer a job to
a candidate based on the content uncovered on a social networking site.
are increasingly finding reasons to terminate employees because of
their social media interactions. Social Media entrepreneur Adam Ostrow
points to a study assessed by Proofpoint, found that 8 percent of
American companies had terminated a worker due to a social media verbal
post or picture, and 17 percent of companies report disciplining
employees for violating social networking policies. Community Footprint
successful tennis professional may only be as strong as his community’s
support for him. Ask yourself, how are you viewed by your staff and
other USPTA professionals in your city? When not devoting your time to
tennis, how else are you impacting the community in a positive way? At
19, I was a tennis professional interning at a very prominent tennis
resort in Florida. During my time there, I met a golf cart attendant who
seemed to work at the resort just as many hours as I did., I made sure I
said hello to him and ask if he could use an extra hand or even a
bottle of water. He always declined but I always offered and exchanged
pleasantries. Towards the end of my stay as an intern, I noticed a large
increase in my lessons. I found out my students happened to hear from a
particular golf cart attendant that I gave an amazing tennis lesson and
it would be in their best interest to immediately get a lesson. I
learned the significance of my role and how a simple act can provide
incredible dividends both professionally and personally. It’s nice to be
important, but it’s more important to be nice
Working with your
local USPTA professionals also gives you a chance to enhance and polish
your footprint. Whether it’s during a division conference, district
meeting or even a round robin, your presence makes other pros aware you
are working hard and striving to improve. Although we may not always
remember a name, we can always remember a face of a professional we
often see at our meetings, conferences or special events. Our best
professionals and industry leaders always seem to be at USPTA meetings
and conferences, and it almost seems to me like they have the very
important Santa Claus trait. They know if you’ve been bad or good so be
good for goodness sakes.
Working with charities may sound
intimidating to some tennis professionals, but it is one of the best
ways to promote yourself, the sport of tennis, and gain numerous
advocates throughout the community. Involving yourself with a charity
can be done by hosting a fundraising event at your club, volunteering
just an hour or two during your off days, or by simply promoting and
marketing a cause that you are passionate about. Many people assume they
need to give up their hard-earned money, but in reality, many charities
deeply appreciate and won’t decline the power of word of mouth.
Although we are all teachers, sometimes it’s not how much we know, it’s about how much we care.
footprints can make an enormous impact both positive and negative.
Let’s do our best to leave a footprint our students, staff, industry and
community can be proud of. A member of the USPTA since
2004, Kyle is the assistant director of tennis at The Oaks At Boca Raton
in Boca Raton, Florida. He is a proud graduate of the Ferris State
University’s Professional Tennis Management (PTM) program and holds a
degree in Marketing. Kyle is a member of the Ferris State University/PTM
Advisory Committee. He has earned an MBA in Marketing from the
University of Michigan. Kyle has been a USPTA Florida Division Tester
for the past 10 years as well as a member of Florida’s U30 Initiative.