“Tennis coaches are sales people. We have to showcase our sport and sell it to the people.” Patrick Mouratoglou
If tennis is a business, as we talked about previously, then who are the sales people? Who was the person that got you (or your child) into tennis? Who was the person that made you play more regularly or even love the sport?
Tennis has so much to offer. It is a life-long sport, it is a family sport, it is a sport that anyone can play thanks to smaller courts and different tennis balls. Those of us involved in the sport know this but what about people who don’t play? What do they think? They may think that tennis is expensive or difficult or even boring.
Here at Liverpool Tennis Centre, we recently ran a Parent’s Forum highlighting everything that we offer for young players, including individual lessons, competitions, retail, team events and camps. What became apparent that was that, despite our best efforts, there was little awareness about what we offered. For all the newsletters, noticeboards, emails, website and social media the message wasn’t getting through. Our challenge is try and make sure people know what we offer and why they may wish to get involved. But how can we make sure we do this better?
The role of tennis coaches in ‘selling tennis’ is huge. Only through the personal relationship and interactions with the players and/or parents are we able to sell everything that the sport has to offer. There are many, many benefits to playing tennis, including health, fitness, social and life skills. If you are a tennis coach, then you are in a very powerful position and your role is crucial in selling the sport to get more people playing.
My mentor when I was younger was Rod Lea. He was the coach at my local club and it was his enthusiasm and love of tennis that got me hooked on the sport. As I developed from a participant into a coach, it was the support and guidance of Rod that made me pursue a career in tennis coaching and development and I wouldn’t be where I am now without him.
A coaches’ role is as much to enthuse and motivate individuals and their families as it is to teach forehands and backhands. A great coach inspires people to play more, to achieve their potential and to chase their dreams. The tennis journey, whatever your standard, can be long and rewarding but so many people won’t start this journey without an inspirational coach who can ‘sell’ the sport to them.
Let me know your thoughts and feedback. Who was your inspiration or role model? Who was the coach who helped you on your journey? Would you be where you are now without a coach getting you on court?