by Ed Shanaphy, USPTA, CMAA
Kate Cole and Laura Fox are the Instagram influencers creating a social media storm for women tennis players. Kate’s Instagram account, which focuses on tennis, cocktails, fitness and how she makes time for all that around motherhood, has over 1,600 followers. Laura Fox, known as The Tennis Fox, is renowned for her outfits and has been entertaining the enormous group of tennis-playing women and mothers across the country and around the globe with her daily posts on social media.
Both have been approached by brands to influence their clubs, their facilities, their teammates and their followers. Laura, having been approached by major brands, has found paid influencing unfulfilling, But both women have found the conversations, through comments and direct messages on Instagram, as a wonderful addition to their play and have enjoyed building a community around their tennis games through Instagram.
Setting Goals Through Adult Tennis
Once in motherhood, you don’t have business goals, and these women are setting goals for themselves as they would have done had they remained in the working world rather than taking on the enormous task of motherhood. “When you have kids, you’re not going to see the fruits of your labors for years…” and Laura says that she has found a way to replace those work goals with her tennis game. Kate, moving often as her husband is in the Navy, uses tennis as an outlet for her hectic lifestyle. As a ranked junior, she is now experiencing what she feels the game is all about – being social. Unfortunately, as a junior tournament player, she hadn’t truly enjoyed the game, looking at it more as a task on the weekends, rather than a sport for a lifetime.
Team Tennis: Upfront Financial Commitment or Pay-As-You-Go? Which Methods Works Best For Women’s Teams?
These two women face the challenges that most amateur players face – how to raise their USTA NTRP rating and how to deal with team polics. Clubs and facilities struggle with team selection and how to best monetize interclub play. Laura, who has played under two varied versions of team play at two different facilities, noticed that the higher ranked the player, the less often show up for clinic. Is it because they can keep their position by not showing up and hiding their true level of play? We shall never know, as Laura has moved on from that club to a facility that requires prepayment for the entire season.
Every Club Should Have A Nineteenth Hole
Golfers are famous for re-living, stroke-by-stroke, their round in the clubhouse after walking off the eighteenth green. Laura bemoans that this is not always the case in tennis.
Instagram provides that opportunity to Laura to publicize her match and serves as her post-match debriefing. Unlike at her previous club, her present facility is focused more on tennis than on the social side, and she has turned to Instagram to bring together a community of people. As an influencer through her clothes and tennis outfits, Laura was influencing long before she was an Instagram influencer. But it’s truly interesting to understand how she relives her winners and her unforced errors on Instagram on a daily basis. Perhaps Instagram is the new Nineteenth Hole Café.
Kate simply hopes that her Instagram page inspires others to get fit and play tennis. It’s a social sounding board for her as she moves around the world as the matron of a service family. But, somehow she finds the time to make her reels engaging, educational and just plain fun. “I like to hope that I can inspire others to get more fit.”
Well, Kate and Laura are inspirational and educational for all of us in the country club and tennis industry. Their views, their dislikes, their loves and their fears are all shared on Instagram and those are born on the courts and on the gym floor every day.
You may also join the ladies on our brand new YouTube show right here and see them in person!
The Beyond The Baselines YouTube Show