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Angela Wilson was fortunate enough to have really good coaches who were in the game of coaching. That made the difference for her growing up playing junior tennis and into her college career at the University of Indiana. Her foundation really helped her to become a great coach long before she became Club Manager. But, it was also a driver. Her love of coaching battled with the time she needed to devote to club management.
With her accounting background, Angela realizes how difficult it is for some coaches, who stay in coaching and on the court for a long career, to become a manager. She was thrust into the management of a tennis club at the age of just 25. And to this day, through her love of tennis, she finds it hard to stay off the court. Angela readily admits she has to limit her time teaching on court to just 10 to 15 hours per week. She admits it’s tough to see a Director of Tennis out there instead of herself. “I love teaching from little kids to beginners to adults, but right now I’m just doing payroll!”
With a new court reservation system at Western Athletic Club in Cincinnati, Ohio, Angela realizes that she has to first understand the entire software system before tutoring and helping front desk staff and members as they switch over to the new system. “It doesn’t leave me a lot of time to get back on the court. “My back end has to be really good to allow me time on the court. I love teaching, but at some point I had to do the PPP loan application.”
Pickleball Slowly Progressing From Open Play At The Parks
When asked about monetizing indoor pickleball courts, Angela believes that pickleball is travelling the same path that tennis travelled. She sees pickleball players starting to pay for court time. “They are down for it and ready to play with their friends and ready to pay for it . Angela foresees growth into the indoor arena. She harks back to the 1970s when players played tennis mainly at the public recreational courts and left a racquet at the court’s door to notate that they were waiting, much like the quarters on a pool table marking the next game. Pickleball, she believes, is at the same place and will mature and progress into clubs and indoor facilities. Like tennis did in the 70s, pickleball players are starting to note levels and play within levels. Whereas everyone at first was playing with everyone, now, just like tennis did when the USTA brought out NTRP ratings, Angela sees pickleball players looking to play with players of their level. With that growth and maturity, Angela has just converted two indoor tennis courts into six pickleball courts citing the demand at her own club
Hospitality and Wellness
“I’m in the wellness business. We want to provide a place where people can move and have fun. I am trying to make the club like Club Med. If you want to do something special you’ll have to pay, but fitness is always free with dues.” The strategic plan must be working, as Western Athletic Club has recently added not only a full-time Director of Tennis but also a sales manager. “We needed more spokes on the wheel (in terms of adding personnel), and tennis is growing at the club.
How to avoid member pitfalls? Angela says your members need to know “that you care and that we try. We’re not always perfect, but we try to make the club a very nice place.” Whatever Angela is doing at Western Athletic Club, it’s working. Boating over 700 tennis players, the club is certainly making its mark within the indoor tennis industry nation-wide.