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4 Reasons Why Millennial Tennis Players Should Pursue A Career In Coaching

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The tennis industry faces a very serious structural problem. For years the average age of tennis coaches has been steadily increasing. The industry has not been able to fill the metaphorical bucket with new blood. As a result the faces that represent tennis increasingly give the impression that coaching, and the sport as whole, is not a realistic choice for the millennial generation. The following are 4 reasons to buck this trend…


1. Average Age of Pros is Getting Older
In 2012 the national avg. age of teaching pros was 46. In 2015 it has jumped to 50! Due to their age, there are a few advantages a millennial teaching pro gets before they even step on the court!

  • There is no more obvious way to differentiate yourself than being 20+ years younger than the competing pro down the road. Is that pre-teen player more likely to relate with the pro who doesn’t own clothes from this decade, or the twenty-something who tags their students on Facebook?
  • Coaching by its very nature is exhausting. Some veteran coaches were just born with a pedal to the metal attitude, but they’re the exception not the rule. More likely their sixth lesson of the day will be missing the vigor of the first. Young coaches just have more gas in tank especially when it comes to clinics and children.
  • New coaches aren’t burdened with the status quo. When new coaches enter the profession the sport/industry gets a new set of eyes. There is plenty of room left in tennis for new pros to take their programs into the 21st century. Only a handful of programs have truly embraced the social media landscape, R.O.G.Y. tennis, mobile technology, and the other leaps and bounds that tennis has made in the last 5-10 years.

2. The New R.O.G.Y. (Red Orange Green Yellow see also: QuickStart, 10 and Under Tennis) Equipment and Philosophy Leaves An Unsaturated Market for New Programs
First of all, if you’re willing to become proficient in ROGY programming you’ll likely be more knowledgeable than a good portion of existing teaching community. The industry has done a great job at getting the majority of teaching pros acquainted with the new formats. However, many haven’t embraced them fully and only have a surface understanding. Second, the 36 foot court has opened up the ability to teach on any open, flat surface. Almost overnight, the maximum capacity for tennis in a given city has skyrocketed. The increased capacity has opened the door for anyone with an entrepreneurial spirit and a few hundred dollars for pop-up nets. Lastly, the ability to teach more kids at once in the same area without sacrificing quality allows coaches to lower prices (because they’re increasing students) and compete with more established pros still using traditional teaching models.

3. The Educational Barriers to Entry Have Been Demolished
Organizations like USPTA, USPTR, and the USTA have done a tremendous job of creating tennis teaching pathways, certifications, and resources. In addition, the internet has provided a wealth of cheap, readily available materials that has drastically decreased the burden of starting out. You could spend days on Youtube and various tennis forums looking at drills and games that other pros have posted without spending a dime.

4. It’s a Chance to Leave a Lasting Mark
I realize that this is a little sappy but it’s never the less true. While out to lunch with my USTA mixed team last month we started to discuss a coach in our lives that stood out. Low and behold each of us had a heartwarming story of a coach who was responsible for fostering our love of tennis. While meaningfully impacting lives doesn’t line your pockets with cash, it does give you something to be proud of and provide a legacy to hang your hat on. Millennials are statistically more focused on their contribution to society than any generation surveyed before…maybe coaching tennis is just the ticket.

Here’s a little self-assessment to see if “Tennis Professional” would be a good career: Do you enjoy physical activity? Do you have an entrepreneurial spirit? Do you consider yourself a lifelong-learner and critical thinker?

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