Besides first-rate staff, excellent plans are needed in the short window of opportunity of a seasonal program. Here are four essential events that make members smile and serve summer tennis programs.
Parent-Child Tourney: You can combine all parent-child combinations, e.g. mother-daughter or mother-son, in one division. Or, if you have enough players have separate flights. Use a point handicap system that levels the competition regardless of abilities. For example, the team who loses the first game starts the second game up 15-0. Also, have a fun format that guarantees each team at least two matches.
Red, White and Blue Round Robin: Celebrate our nation’s birthday with a combination of round robin and cookout! Invite men and women of all abilities to play doubles, and use a change partner and opponent format. In each round play four games with no ad scoring. Following the fun on the courts have a barbeque with beverages and invite non-players. Promote, “All are welcome to play, watch or socialize.”
Junior “Beat the Pro” Day: Bobby Riggs used to bet he could play with self-imposed handicaps, e.g. holding an umbrella or placing chairs on his side of the court, and still beat people. Children have taken lessons all season, and now it is their turn to shine! Create a variety of fun handicaps for the Pro, like playing with non-dominant hand, carrying a bucket of water or shoes tied together. Each challenge is four games, and if a child wins two games s/he gets to brag they “Beat the Pro.” This event is guaranteed fun for kids, parents and spectators!
Awards Luncheon or Banquet: Continually recognize players, parents and staff. At the end of the season have a planned lunch or dinner where you can publically recognize everyone who contributed and participated. Besides light-hearted recognition “Sportsmanship” and “Most Improved” are important awards. Recognize all children in some way and announce everyone’s name. Make this event fun and take plenty of pictures for the next newsletter.
Clubs that plan and deliver the above activities can be headed for a successful season. If you have questions or concerns about your tennis programming or staff contact me.
Chris Hagman ACE, USPTA