Modified Tennis Formats – A Pivoting Horizon
For the past three years promoting modified tennis, or Masters Tennis, for adults in Florida, and being the spokesperson for the pilot program nationally has given me the ability to successfully distribute innovative information, education, assistance and coaching skills to providers on the philosophy of modifying to create general customer satisfaction in order to sustain these programs. With almost 50 state facilities and over 10 outside state providers, modifying the way tennis is played along with the equipment and even court types is becoming a new tennis frontier. Through helping providers plan demos and introductory educational events on modified tennis, I have been able to enable peers and pros to communicate and learn about the needs of the average or low-skilled recreational players. I have seen a dramatic shift towards more of a team approach to this philosophy by input from players, non-players and providers, bringing understanding from pros, and more gratification from players.
During my time with USTA FL, I have had the pleasure of being on the grassroots level with players, providers, recreational directors, and over a dozen special program Ambassadors, while listening, learning and collecting data on statewide best practices and testimonials. In addition, I bring my wellness and health background, personal coaching skills, and holistic approach into this environment in order to help craft customizable programs for player success and satisfaction. I have researched, participated in, and had multiple conversations with founders of a variety of alternative programs evolving nationally and internationally. Some of these include: Pop Tennis by Ken Lindner out of California, touchtennis by Rashid Ahmad out of London, One-On-One Doubles by Ed Krass out of Bradenton, FL, Beach Tennis in Ravenna, Italy, and XGLOsive Tennis by Michael Cordova out of Orlando. I’ve shared these creative ideas with players and coaches to encourage program modification consideration for those players who either want a different kind of tennis experience, less time competing, or who do not fit the typical profile of experienced athletic veteran player. Most of us who play have experienced being in this situation one time or another. These choices give everyone a chance to try new and exciting tennis experiences.
With the fitness and obesity crisis coming to the foreground of the tennis industry, I feel the tennis industry is beginning to reach a broader network of eligible candidates to our sport. However, the current adult progression continues to be a subject of disconnect and disconcern, while continuing to focus on mainly youth programs for participation growth. What better than to serve the adults who provide the support, funding and transportation to youth-oriented events and programs, which continues to feed our organizational revenue and participation numbers? If we don’t service those who enable our youth to participate, how will the industry survive, once our youth see Mom and Dad not involved?
Much more research, testing, and information is needed to be done for this demographic to be properly represented in our industry. My mission to provide evolving education, resource information, and support for this newly identified but currently undervalued demographic is just beginning. Hopefully, through these grassroots efforts and input from ‘you the people’, the tennis industry will expand its connections to the broader populations of those who used to play, those who want innovative fun, and non-players who may be perfect candidates for different tennis options.
For more information on how you can bring different tennis experiences to your communities, please leave your comments below or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.