Directors of Tennis everywhere have spent the last several years figuring out ways to add pickleball courts and programming into their clubs’ menu of participation offerings – providing a much-needed boost in revenue and filling courts that might otherwise go unused.
More than ever those same directors should look at exciting alternative racquet and paddle sports to keep members rejuvenated and coming back to the club.
“Here are Racquet-Pros.com, we’re helping teaching pros of every sporting variation find employment, whether they use a racquet or paddle,” said Mike Manzella, president and founder of Racquet-Pros.com. “On the management and club side, at Racquet-Pros.com we are expanding the field of candidates, making it easier to find the perfect fit. Our goal is to include every racquet and paddle sport that is popular today, and also find the new ones of the future.”
“A few years ago, the biggest challenge was that tennis facilities simply did not want to add other paddle or racquet sports,” Mitch Kutner, President of the International POP Tennis Association, told Rich Neher of Tennis Business Media. “For many facilities, it was tennis or nothing at that time. That has changed dramatically over the last two years. Now, many job titles in the industry have changed from Director or Tennis to Director of Racquet Sports. Clubs understand they need to add options to cater to more people, to keep revenue coming in and keep their members happy. I love tennis as much as anyone and we don’t want to replace tennis with POP. We just want our sport as a part of the equation to help strengthen the industry.”
Here is a quick summary of the various up-and-coming racquet and paddle sports out there for clubs to consider looking into:
There is no greater promoter of the former game known historically as Paddle Tennis started in the 1890s, than Kutner, who could talk for hours about a group of passionate players led by Ken Lindner who help re-brand the sport to POP Tennis five years ago so as not to be confused with padel or platform tennis.
Supported by a grant by the USTA shortly after rebranding, POP Tennis continues to thrive in places like New York, Florida, Arizona, Southern California (especially Venice Beach) and now 24 other states across the United States. POP has a few different court sizes to create easier accessibility for facilities and players. The classic traditional game is played on a 50-foot court, which is six feet longer than a pickleball court. But another popular version across the country is using 60-foot ITF approved/sanctioned blended lines for junior tennis. But POP can also easily be played on any available short court or anywhere like a driveway, a street or a park with access to a portable net. POP Tennis is often described as a scaled-down version of tennis and played with a decompressed tennis ball and a round/oval shaped paddle with holes, unlike a pickleball paddle.
Watch this video to see more differences between POP Tennis and pickleball: https://www.amazinaces.com/blogs/news/pop-tennis-vs-pickleball-how-are-they-different
For more information on POP Tennis, visit: https://www.poptennis.com/
Extremely popular in countries like Spain, Italy, Sweden and Argentina, Padel is a game of doubles played on an enclosed court about 25 percent smaller than the size of a tennis court. Played with a paddle, normal tennis balls with less pressure are used.
Watch this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rSIvS-Skg28 to learn more about the fast-paced game. Padel was invented in Acapulco, Mexico, by Enrique Corcuera in 1969. The first public courts opened in Miami, Florida in 2009, and there are popular places to play in areas like Houston, Texas, Torrance, Calif., and in Las Vegas where the eight-court Real Racquet Academy was built in 2019. You can now try Padel at the USTA National Tennis Campus in Orlando, Fla., as four courts recently opened just a few weeks ago.
Invented by Carson City, Nev., teaching pro Nate Gross as a true bridge sport to tennis, Spec Tennis bills itself as a sport simply “played on a pickleball court with an orange dot tennis ball and a paddle.” Pretty basic.
Because Spec Tennis is played on a pickleball court, teaching pros can earn extra income on commission on paddle sales, as well as opportunities to run their own events, leagues, round robins, and drop-ins. Coaches can fit four times as many players on each court for larges clinic sizes and there is a smaller learning curve that attracts new players who will be hooked on the game because it is easier to learn than tennis.
“You have a higher player retention since players have success more often,” Gross said. “Clubs can achieve a higher percentage of members using the courts and generate higher lesson revenues than with other alternative racquet sports.”
To see how your club can start an affiliate program or if you are a teaching pro interested in becoming an ambassador of Spec Tennis, email Gross at: [email protected]. For more information on Spec Tennis, go to: www.spectennis.com.
Touchtennis was founded in 2002 in the United Kingdom by Rashid Ahmad, who was looking for a game he and his daughter could play in their backyard garden. Played on a compact court with foam balls, a foldaway and easy to set up net and 21-inch tennis racquets, it is a game that can be played anywhere, from school, park, garden or even the beach.
Endorsed by the Lawn Tennis Association (https://www.lta.org.uk/play-compete/getting-started/adult-tennis/touchtennis/) in Great Britain and with ambassadors like T.V. personality Bear Grylls, touchtennis uses standard tennis no-ad scoring with a tiebreaker played at 4-all.
For more information on Touchtennis, visit: www.touchtennis.com/gb.
It’s a no-brainer for tennis clubs to start thinking of other ways to generate revenue using alternative racquet sports like POP Tennis, Padel, Spec Tennis and Touchtennis to keep members coming back to the courts.