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Tennis Program Health Check!

Are you tracking the right numbers?

We work with programs all over the world and no matter where we are there are five measures that tell us which way a program is heading!

Developing a great kids tennis program is a challenge but by making sure you are tracking the right numbers and making your decisions based on these you can stay on the right track and easily out perform your expectations. So let’s explore the numbers… They might not be the ones that you are expecting!

Kids That Play!

Before you add up the number of kids in your lessons let’s slow this train down a little. This is not the number who take lessons though obviously this is good for the bank balance. This is the number that play outside of lessons! How many play with their friends, parents or siblings? How many attend the events you run at the club and play matches (in house or otherwise!) Kids who play are showing a commitment to the game and now all lessons have a purpose! If this is a weak part of your program then start building better events that are fun and engaging! Create a culture where lessons prepare kids for events and parents are encouraged to play with their kids!

Kids That Do More!

It’s pretty hard to push a snowball down a hill if it keeps melting. To get real momentum you need to keep it moving so it picks up more snow and eventually rolls on its own! If we are honest we know that kids playing one time a week are unlikely to every gain the skills to play tennis for life! It doesn’t matter if it’s sport, music, art or languages, you won’t get competent and make it a big part of your life unless you do enough! So count the number of kids who come to the courts more than once a week! It may only be a small number to start with but work on growing each every term (session!)

Kids That Progress!

How many kids graduated from one program to the next? You should have some idea of how quickly kids move from red to orange and beyond, and equally where the roadblocks are. Are you mapping this progress for your program because you can be sure that every parent knows exactly how long their child has been in each level of your program!

Kids That Stay!

Do you know your annual retention rate? How many kids left your program and what were the reasons? The chances are that if you created the right environment and looked after the numbers we discussed in the first three sections your number will be pretty high but if you are looking at this with no clue what you have done to make the first three happen this might be a surprise to you! The fact is that tennis has a pretty poor retention rate because we position it as a lesson based sport and fail to make the most of the opportunities for kids to play the game, connect and make friends, and feel important.

Finances

OK, we do track the money, but only to understand the spending habits of parents (and players) in the program! A kid who is committed to your club and loves being there is probably worth per year around 150 times the sum that they spend on a group lesson. So you should be focusing on making decisions that inspire the kids that you have at your club to do more and not just chasing the new ones.  A kid who plays multiple times per week, enters tournaments, attends social events and more will make progress and stay as long as you don’t really screw things up.

What about Quantity!

You will have noticed that we never asked you to track how many kids you have in your program! Just like you can’t win by focusing on winning, so you can’t drive number long term without understanding the process!  At evolve9,  we work with clubs through www.evolutiontennis.net to create a club environment that engages and inspires kids! If you can do that the number of kids in your program will take care of itself!

2 thoughts on “Tennis Program Health Check!

  1. Pat Coburn says:

    Totally agree. Tracking the number of players in lessons makes lessons the success point. My interest was always how many we had in match play and entering tournaments. Lessons are there to give kids the capacity to enjoy playing our sport. Unfortunately a lot of tennis clubs are still structured such that the coach makes the money out of lessons and the club makes it out of match play resulting in this chase for numbers in our coaching program.
    Your analogy of focusing on winning as a way not to perform is so true. If we just focus on numbers we can end up with a stagnant pond rather than a fast moving stream. My experience was kids only stayed if they improved so maintaining a focus on my match play and tournament numbers kept my coaching product purposeful and the numbers flowing.

    1. Mike Barrell says:

      Pat Coburn. You have always understood this. Probably before we did! I remember the quizzical looks that came from you when we were rolling out Hot Shots. Hopefully you can see what was and is missing there and can move things along! Hope all is well with you and yours!

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