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5 Things To Look For in a Tennis Professional


Tennis professionals do more than teach tennis. They are an integral part of the club’s operations and need characteristics and skills on and off the court to enhance the tennis amenities your club offers. When hiring your next tennis professional, look for someone with a multi-faceted skillset who is going to bring value to your business and your membership.

Here are five things you should look for in the next member of your tennis staff:

Tennis-teaching Skills
Clearly your tennis professional needs to have the ability to teach tennis. It’s not enough to have an individual who was once a professional athlete or who knows a little about the sport. They have to be able to translate the game to students of varying levels and develop programs that help improve your members’ skillset, while still being enjoyable and keep them returning to your club.

Look for tennis pros that are certified, or willing to become certified and take advantage of continuing education opportunities. These are the pros that have the competency and credibility to run your tennis department. They have made a commitment to their careers by staying on top of industry trends. By having the desire to better themselves, they will become a better employee.

Programming Skills
Anything that your tennis pro can create that gets members together and excited about tennis will benefit your club. Ask about successful programs that the pro has implemented previously or what fresh ideas they have to serve your members. Your tennis professional needs to be able to cater to your club’s demographics, whether that’s developing private and group lessons, clinics and camps or leagues, tournaments and special events. Determine your goals for your tennis program and ask your potential new tennis pro how he or she plans to help achieve them.

In addition, seek a tennis professional who understands that tennis programming needs to be in tune with the club’s other offerings. For example, a tennis pro should set up a round-robin tournament followed by a social so members will use the club’s dining amenities. Find someone who understands that tennis is part of the whole club experience.

Communication Skills
Any employee at a club needs to have excellent communication skills, especially ones like tennis pros who have so much direct contact with membership. You want a tennis professional who understands your club’s culture and can relate that to the members and other club employees. They should be congenial while being able to make their point, whether that’s during a group lesson on the court or communicating the goals of the department in staff meetings.

Budgeting Skills
A club is a business. Make sure your tennis professional understands the bottom line. They should know how to determine where and how money is being spent and be able to maintain a budget that still provides members what they want. Also find someone who wants to be a part of your management team; the tennis director will have a stronger understanding of what is important to your operation by participating in management meetings.

Problem-solving Skills
Problems happen, but the best employees either can anticipate those issues before they occur or they have plans in place to handle them appropriately. This should be the same for your tennis professional. Whether that’s being able to handle a pushy parent intruding on a child’s lesson or resolving a conflict between staff members, you want someone that can effectively find a resolution. Ask your tennis professional how she would handle potential situations at your club or how she resolved an issue in the past.

Whatever the goals of your organization, make sure you find a tennis professional who is the right fit for your club. Your tennis professional should be able to anticipate the needs of management, other staff members and most importantly, your members.

John Embree is CEO at the United States Professional Tennis Association and can be reached via email: john.embree@uspta.org or 713-978-7782, ext. 117. For more information on USPTA, visit www.uspta.com.

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