Kelsey Waite, Head Professional at Bethesda Country Club Joins the BTB Podcast
She once heard the term unicorn used to describe a female teaching tennis pro, and that picqued her interest. Kelsey Waite had completed her college degree and was figuring out how to apply her newly found skills in science and French when someone asked her to help teach tennis. She’s now a Head Pro at one of the country’s most elite clubs.
Coming to the industry unexpectedly, Kelsey has used her outside influences from college and life to help create her persona on the court. As a “theater geek” she realizes that running a clinic or being at the helm of a program is a production and is, in a way, theater in its own. She loves being on show.
On-Court Programming Is Taking Over at the Private Clubs
Not sure the reason behind it, but her members are passing up their doubles game for tennis programming with the pros. “They’re giving up their spot times for doubles,” says Waite who teaches on average two to three hours of live-ball clinics every day to her membership. She’s not complaining but is noticing the change and how she and her team are adapting to it.
She’s also noted that the teenage female members are more likely to come out to programming, especially if she’s the instructor. Juniors and adults, alike, are flocking toward the hour and a half “workout” of live-ball clinics rather than play their weekly doubles games.
Being a Female in the Industry Is an Advantage
Rather than feeling isolated or excluded from the inferred “men’s club” of male tennis instructors, Kelsey feels she breathes new life into the industry and sees being a woman as an advantage. She believes her career and her rise up the ladder of success could be partly due to she being a “unicorn” – something she giggles at while she takes names and pushes out the programming barriers at Bethesda.
Following her nerve-racking certification test and not having taught that much, Kelsey believes that the new mentoring requirement for incoming instructors through the USPTA and PTR is a long overdue requisite. Kelsey realizes how lucky she has been in the industry by being able to experience working and teaching at both resorts and public facilities, along with the past five years at Bethesda Country Club. Her comparisons between work and teaching styles at resorts and country clubs is extremely interesting, and her ideas as to how she would like to progress are inspiring, for females and males alike.
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