Meet and Greet

By Denny Schackter

Being a somewhat “senior” tennis professional, I’ve attended many conferences and conventions designed to help educate those in this industry, particularly teaching pros.

During a recent meeting of the USPTA Midwest Board of Directors, of which I’m a member, a new board member shared his frustrations about attending educational conventions. Nowadays, he said, tennis pros can get anything they need online; there’s no need to go to meetings or conventions.

Many of us disagreed. My experience has always been that pros leave a professional meeting enhanced and energized – you just don’t get that same feeling on a conference call or webinar. They work for me, and I’ve seen them work for many others, too.

Seeing people face to face reminds me of why I love this industry, and this sport. Here are 10 reasons why teaching pros should attend as many educational events as possible – many of which I shared with our young colleague.

080316_Your_serve_image_TPCYou can learn from anyone and anything. Just keep your eyes and mind open. For instance, maybe the conference check-in procedure was so efficient that you could use elements of it at your facility.

Rekindle relationships. Meetings are a great way to get back in touch with old friends and former colleagues.

Network. Seek out those who can assist you – and help out those you can.

Go to sessions outside of your comfort zone. You need to know about a lot of different parts of this business. Go to presentations where you’ll learn something new.

Wander around the host facility. Learn things from the venue – the court surface, lighting, locker rooms, programming, etc. – that can enhance your own facility.

Meet your peers. Colleagues who are at your level can provide insights on what the next career steps are, and how to get there.

Find solutions. Use the experience of your industry colleagues to come up with solutions for your own challenges and problems.

Interact with vendors. Manufacturers and service providers can provide great information on products and offer specials and discounts.

Follow the industry. Gain key insights into the tennis industry. Where is it going, and what might be coming that could affect you and your business? Find out.

Get and give – new ideas. Group settings are all about exchanging ideas – programs that energize your club, new lesson styles, new marketing techniques, more efficient business practices, and so on. Come home with a ton of new ideas for your business.

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