Many players default to a coaching career because it feels familiar and comfortable following their playing days, and there is nothing wrong with that. But when making this transition, most try to teach the game the way they were taught, forgetting that today’s game is nothing like it was 20, or even 10, years ago thanks to technological advancements and changes in the game.
I personally did not want to fall into the same pattern of picking a career based on love, comfort and familiarity. I’ve always wanted to do more than just teach tennis, which inspired me to pursue a bachelor's degree in Advertising and Public Relations. That career path seemed like a great choice since I’ve always been interested in stories that came from those short films that played during the breaks on television.
Recently, I came to the realization that my marketing experience was really the start of my tennis career. So if you are like me, always looking to expand your knowledge and have a passion for working and being great at what you do, read on. This article is for you. Elevating your personal brand is crucial when navigating the job market in the tennis industry. You may be saying to yourself, “I am new to the tennis industry, what should I do?” Here is some advice from a tennis perfectionist, an overachiever, and a tennis fanatic.
Step One: Find an influencer at your club and ask them to show you the ropes.
Step Two: Connect with your local USTA section and start getting involved with various opportunities. Start with reaching out to your Tennis Service Representative (TSR). These people are genuinely interested in helping you grow your business. USTA has countless programs designed to help you achieve your goals.
Step Three: Become USPTA or PTR certified and get involved with internal clubs where you can meet likeminded individuals and grow your network of connections. One of the reasons most people choose the tennis industry is because we want to make an impact in people’s lives. The USTA and other organizations can help play a role in your career. USTA is the number one organization that every tennis professional should be connected with. Find out who your TSR is and introduce yourself. You can affiliate on many different levels, and get involved with things such as:
►Section initiatives, volunteer groups
►Various task forces
And the benefits of joining the USPTA are:
►Certification - knowledge, frameworks, expectations
Step Four: Try to listen to at least 4 monthly podcasts related to the topics you are interested in (don’t have to related to tennis); inspiration plays a crucial role in your ability to overcome adversity and stay connected to your passion.
Step Five: Say yes to new opportunities and stretch yourself a little thin. Want to become a brand name and be a well-known person at your club?
Follow these five simple steps and find out what you’ve been missing out on. Connections are everything. As a new or lifelong tennis professional, or just a person who works in our business, make an effort to connect with USTA and other governing bodies and organizations.
Some of the brightest minds I’ve met since starting to work in tennis was through my USTA and USPTA involvement and joining these organizations can help you get a start in the tennis industry as well as give you a path to move forward.
As for me, my next adventure is to join the Women’s Tennis Coaching Association (WTCA) and learn all there is about female athletes and how to be a better coach to them.