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On Court or Off Court, Kalindi Dinoffer Brings Health and Wit To Her Tennis Business

As a business owner and leader in our industry, Kalindi Dinoffer has led the industry not only with training aids and creation of tools for teaching professionals, but also in marketing. Kalindi’s efforts in marketing her brand both at national industry conferences, through social media and video presentations have introduced her as a leader in our industry.

As Kalindi starts to mix and dabble with mindfulness and combining that in her life and business with her tennis following an injury-prone career of competitive tennis, she takes us on a journey through training, meditation and marketing.

Discussing who served as her mentors and role models, Kalindi looks at her exposure as a junior player and while in college, not just on the courts but, like her company’s name, off the court as well where her Spanish professor and then an Italian professor at the business school, Kalindi speaks about her experiences growing up in the business. She discusses why she thinks the golf industry and the PGA are leaders in the leisure industries and why we, in the tennis industry, follow their lead.

Kalindi’s latest achievement is the creation of a 3-day Virtual Symposium, starting July 13th. Given the restrictions that Covid-19 has placed on our industry, Kalindi along with inspirational speaker and tennis coach, Emma Doyle, have put together a panel of phenomenal speakers from across the tennis industry. With three interactive sessions daily, this is one event not to miss.

Kalindi’s business for tennis and pickleball and more is at On Court, Off Court and you can reach her any time at her email: kalindi@oncourtoffcourt.com

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Christen Zawatsky: I Love Working for a Female Director but I Don’t Like To Coach Ladies Club Teams

female tennis professional

The fourth segment in our series: “Women in Tennis”

Avoiding the “type casting” of the female pro as “you’ve got the 10 and unders,” Christen Zawatsky has made her role a universal one. One of the leading junior development directors in all New England, Christen joins us at the BeyondTheBaselines.com podcast to discuss her many years at The Kingsbury Club outside Boston, Massachusetts where she is a revered coach for both adults and juniors.

Coaching from red ball through to high performance juniors and adults, Christen has no desire to coach the ladies teams but loves being a female in our industry. She has made her mark by proving herself either by serving that ace down the T to the adults or backing up her teaching methods consistently to her juniors, parents, and adult students.

Christen Zawatsky, Director of Junior Tennis

From Arizona to Kalamazoo, from Boston to Oklahoma, Christen travels with her juniors to zonals and nationals and sees herself as a role model for all her students. Christen has supervised the fantastic progressions and advancements of many of her juniors. But she has also witnessed the toughest part of her job far too many times: Parents ruining a flourishing junior’s career.

Christen is creating and building a program of over 200 juniors around solid progressions and fitness. Shifting her high performance pathway to a program built around athleticism, she trains many students who haven’t played a second sport. As an Orange Theory fitness coach, Christen is combining her two loves and is creating a dynamic program in New England at Kingsbury.

Women Students and the Female Teaching Professional

Women don’t always accept women instructors, states Christen, but women students are not Christen’s favorite either. For the most part, she removed herself from most of the ladies practices and clinics. ” I just couldn’t deal with all the drama. Maybe it’s because the ladies wanted to share with a female pro, but with all the chatter Christen found herself asking: Are we still playing tennis here? “There are more battles with the women. With the men it’s easy – If they know you’re better than them, that’s all they need to know.”

With that said, Christen believes that women directors understand the membership better than male professionals and “concierge” the membership more effectively. Organizationally and in terms of management, Christen sees her female director and other female pros more understanding of members’ needs.

And in terms of women entering the industry? Christen says to all those females thinking of perhaps trying their hand as an instructor to give it a shot and think back to how you started as a young girl player. Christen finds it extremely rewarding with such moments as opening the mail one day and receiving a hand-made card from one of her young students during a Pandemic. “I love it when I see one of my youngest girls asking to take a photo with me and she’s a ‘mini me'” decked out in her junior LuLu Lemon outfit. “Be that role model you always dreamed of having as a coach when you were a young girl.”

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National Town Hall: Reopening Means Restructuring

Payroll Folder

Our National Town Hall held the week of May 18th investigated the workplace, restructuring and reclassifying employees, health care coverage and employment law in connection with reopening against the backdrop of the CoronaVirus Pandemic. With over 50 club managers, governors, directors of tennis and other industry specialists on the call, a fantastic Q&A session followed the initial presentation by BeyondTheBaselines.com team members.

A power point presentation.

With Human Resources expert Renee McCarthy from Suntree Country Club in Melbourne, Florida and moderated by our President, Ed Shanaphy, this lively Town Hall started with a discussion by Ed demonstrating the need for cash and liquidity in reopening country clubs and tennis facilities.

It quickly moved to restructuring employees. Managing personnel, either as a club manager or department head, will be crucial to reopening. Cross training staff to desk and admin jobs or pushing full-time workers to part-time or even seasonal will be effective methods as the country club industry rebounds post Covid-19.

bell on desk

What levels of play and usage will clubs see over the summer, the next 6 months and the next year to three years? Perceived versus real member usage will be interesting and daily monitoring will be required. How will you separate play and keep juniors from accumulating next to the courts and socializing?

All this and much more on this one hour National Town Hall. Below please find a link to our Power Point Presentation for this Town Hall.

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A Tennis Academy Was A Girl’s Wish. Now She’s a CEO

Female CEO Amy Pazahanick

By Ed Shanaphy
A second report in our series: Women in Tennis

Amy Pazahanick always knew she wanted to start a tennis academy. She knew it long before she graduated from college. She knew it with every tennis ball she hit during practice as a kid. She knew it while she played nationals and headed to a Division I school. By the age of 26, she thought.

Pazahanick did it. She didn’t just start an academy, however. Amy now finds herself running one of the fastest growing management firms in the nation. Her firm, Agape Tennis Academy, established in 2012 on the outskirts of Atlanta, Georgia, was an academy aimed at integrating with the community. Now, as a management firm, Agape maintains its values by remaining truthful to its roots – the numerous communities it serves on the courts.

Just Like Tennis, Business Improves Through Practice and Repetition

A graduate of Coastal Carolina University, Amy learned her trade under a fellow female director of tennis. Under her first director and mentor, Amy remembers that she learned just as much about the “business” side of running a tennis facility as teaching a backswing. Referring to her first boss Amy notes: “She was instrumental in my development,” as Amy reflects on her start in the tennis world which, to her, seems so long ago.

Amy Pazahanick made a deal with herself to run an academy by the age of 26. She now manages 10 city championships, 70 tennis courts and 30 pickleball courts over 4 facilities…
with more to come.

The consistency of branding and putting a message out there that stays true to Amy’s “mission and vision” has brought her success. Alluding to her training as a Division I athlete where she practiced something again and again, Amy cites the parallel with business – business improves with repetition and practice. Amy pounds the pavement and never stops growing and learning through repetitive, yet objective, marketing, planning, and strategizing.

Creating a Team On and Off The Court

With a staff of over 50, Amy has assembled teaching professionals on the court that work as a team with juniors in the academy in the foreground and the community as the backdrop. They all look to take juniors to a new level, she says. Unlike other academies where personalities may get in the way, she stresses the emphasis of teamwork in developing juniors’ games. Amy does rely on her hand-picked team to support her and her company, but realizes that hard work and attention to detail can’t be replaced when you’re a leader.

One of the most Influential Women In The Industry

“If you’re a woman, you are held to a higher standard… men have a little more freedom to make mistakes,” states Pazahanick. But, then she says the industry is fair. “If you’re good, you’re good. The market is not going to care. If you’re good, it doesn’t matter what you look like, if you’re a female or if you look like you’re twelve years old.”

Amy isn’t just good. She’s excellent. She is a perfectionist when it comes to organization and has grown a teenage dream into a large-scale reality. She has been named both Georgia’s Tennis Association and Georgia’s PTR Professional of the Year. Her dream, Agape Tennis Academy, was named Tennis Organization of the Year by the Tennis Media Group, but even more special to Pazahanick, was that the Academy was also named Community Outreach Program of the Year.

Join us as we take a podcast journey to find what makes Amy Pazahanick, well, simply…tick.

Agape Tennis Academy (agapetennisacademy.com) is actively bidding for more facilities, and Pazahanick expects the firm to have up to nine facilities under management by the end of 2020. You can reach Amy by email at amypazahanick@hotmail.com

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The Home Owners Association: Where The Members Are Residents

Stillwater HOA Clubhouse

At a country club, a Director of Tennis sees the members that come to the club on that day. At a Home Owner’s Association, every member sees when the Director arrives in the morning, when he teaches, whom she teaches, and when the Director leaves for the day.

The 4 new courts at Stillwater HOA

Tim Clay, Director of Tennis at Stillwater Tennis in Naperville, IL, takes us through a normal day at the his home owner’s association. Tim is a great pro, but a true business man. Tim runs a business. “I’m neither an employee nor an independent contractor,” pronounces Tim. He’s right. As a full corporation with various interests, he is simply a corporation with a franchise at an HOA. Fortunately he has his M.S. in Management. “But, I’m always learning.” He has built a program that has over 90 percent prepayment and preregistration all through credit card usage.

Tim Clay has been the Director of Tennis at Stillwater for 10 years and has worked at the HOA for the past 15 years.

Tim has been coaching tennis for over 20 years. Illinois PTR named Tim their Member of the Year for 2 consecutive years in 2019 and 2020. His program at Stillwater is one of the bright lights in the region.

HOA Politics and Resale Values

Whether dealing directly with residents or through a Community Association Manager or management firm, Tim has found the right method of navigating through a situation that is rife with politics. How can it not be where each member is on property all the time and each decision Tim makes could affect property values? Tim discusses how he has grown into the job and learned the differences between being a country club professional and a Director at a large HOA.

You can reach Tim with any and all of your questions about working at HOA’s by email: tim@stillwatertennis.com

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Director of Tennis? No, I’m A Director of Information

Coffee Mug

Being a Director of Tennis combines many skills, including being an information officer for your membership. Andy Zodin regards his seasonal summer job as a year-round gig in which he services and caters to his membership, providing information throughout the year.

Zodin, President of the USPTA Inter-Mountain Division, is our guest during one of the hardest-hitting weeks on our country and our club industry during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Andy calls himself a Director of Information. He works with his members throughout the year facilitating league play and winter instruction even though his position is really a seasonal one.  Although the members only see him five months a year, his position, as he believes most seasonal jobs are, is a year-round position with a 12-month informational and member services role.

Andy Zodin, Director of Tennis at Columbine Country Club, is our guest for this week’s Beyond The Baselines Podcast

Andy has been a teaching professional for over 30 years and is currently the Director of Tennis at Columbine Country Club. His views on the club and facility business and how the USPTA and USTA are moving forward in the industry are truly well-rounded and insightful. Relying on his many experiences in our industry, Andy paints a picture of an industry which plays second fiddle to golf at most clubs, but is growing and maturing in its own right.

Why ATP Tour Pros Often Fail as Directors of Tennis

Andy has seen ATP and WTA Tour professionals both succeed and fail as Directors of Tennis. He points out why some of the greatest players in our game are unable to become a good teacher, instructor, Head Professional or Director of Tennis and outlines for us the reasons why many great players simply never make the transition to teaching professional.

We receive a behind-the-scenes view of how Andy runs a program with 200 juniors across seven outdoor courts in Colorado. Learn how he keeps his eye on the adults by not only providing a wonderful on-court program, but also a complete tennis experience with trips to Indian Wells and other tennis events for his membership.

Andy is a wonderful radio personality himself. At kickserveradio.com he has built a solid audience of listeners. He has interviewed some of the greats of the game on both the playing and teaching side. Andy’s ability to touch on the topic of the day facing the industry is pointed and he maintains a vibrant energy both on the radio and in the industry.

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National Town Hall For Seasonal Clubs in The Corona Era

Windsor Tennis Club

As the Corona Virus Pandemic intensifies, seasonal clubs are looking at an approaching summer with trepidation.. Club managers, club boards of governors and Directors of Tennis and Fitness are wondering if and when the club may open. Boards of Governors are looking at liability and possible waivers of liability for all members and guests in connection to the virus.

In this age of uncertainty, we believed that most of the national associations and organizations were looking at the year-round clubs and the larger players. But seasonal clubs, largely member-owned with contract labor, are a large part of the industry. Focusing on these clubs, our National Town Hall attracted over 100 industry professionals to ask to join the call.

This call with club managers, club governors, clothing and tennis suppliers, along with Directors of Tennis and Fitness, discusses issues from slow supply chains to schedule changes. Offering ideas from a soft opening event free to members to updating and adding text messaging databases through Google Voice, Ed Shanaphy from beyondthebaselines.com moderates a lively discussion through the issues facing clubs for the 2020 summer.

Communicating with both members and staff in a congenial and regular way is clearly important to these industry leaders. And helping staff and contractors through the maze that is government aid and legislation is another issue covered.

All in all, a thorough conversation from industry leaders discussing how they are dealing with their business, their staff, their members and their clubs through the Covid-19 crisis.

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Rolex, Tennis, Marketing and Why Member-Guests Are Just One Morning

Roger Federer hitting backhand at Wimbledon

John Flaherty, former ATP and Division I player, joins us to discuss marketing to the tennis and golf masses through the eyes of a world famous brand, Rolex. John is a leading marketer for S&P 500 company Gartner after spending many years at Rolex and shares his experience, opinions and anecdotes from the tour.

We discuss the method behind Rolex’s marketing and sponsorship of both the tennis and golf tours and how golf professionals are more business-minded than their tennis counterparts. John takes us into the numbers and the marketing behind Tiger Woods’ raising the Master’s trophy wearing his timepiece, and how Roger Federer is probably the greatest ambassador for tennis that we will ever see in our lifetimes.

From his roots in Fairfield County, Connecticut, John has used his abilities both on and off the tennis court to carve a niche for himself in the marketing world. His views are indeed news for us here at beyondthebaselines.com. We investigate the rise of pickle ball and the expansion of paddle tennis during the winter in the Northern states.

We also discuss the changes that have come to the country club lifestyle over the past 30 years. Do you remember those halcyon days when the mixed tennis member guests were a weekend-long event? We reminisce and wonder why club tournaments no longer run past 12 noon on Saturday morning. We investigate how Directors of Tennis can compete with golf and other activities that are etching away at members’ time on the courts.

You can always reach us at beyondthebaselines.com by email at beyondthebaselines@gmail.com or by phone at the office on (508) 538-1288.

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Corona Virus Gives Us A Rare Opportunity

closed tennis court

As country clubs, gated communities and facilities close across the country due to the Corona Virus, we have a moment to pause, reflect, and learn. Let’s take this opportunity to do those things that we never have time to do. Although these are dark times, let’s throw light on our own business in the country club industry. Take this truly unfortunate and unpredictable crisis and make the best out of it in terms of using the opportunity and the time given at home to investigate, learn and make better our offerings at our country clubs and in the tennis and fitness departments.

The Corona Virus is hitting us in the country club industry hard – very hard. No part of the economy is truly immune. Coming at a time where we in the industry sometimes see thirty to forty percent of our annual revenue during Spring Break, this year will be marked by a lack of revenue and praying that we “flatten the curve”. The virus has certainly flattened the revenue curve.

Today at Windsor Club, in Vero Beach, we saw the true extent of the finality of the situation, and just how affected are country clubs. Courts were marked “Closed” and the tennis shop and clubhouses were locked tight as the sun shone brightly with no rain in the forecast. It’s not a pretty scene for any country club, tennis club or fitness facility. With fitness facilities under immense pressure to close due to germ transfer, we were hard pressed to find a light at the end of the tunnel. But there is a light in the tunnel.

We have been given an opportunity of time. Time where we are not servicing members and clients on a daily basis. Time where we are at home with our data. Time where we can work on those items that are always pushed to the back burner.

closed tennis court
Court at Windsor Club, Vero Beach, closed due to Corona Virus

The Big Picture

Look at the big picture. This is your chance to rework that budget for 2020/2021. You’ll never have a better time to work on a new business plan for your department, business, or club. Now is the time as we are forced to hibernate in our homes.

Look at your systems. We are reworking our Intuit Quickbooks Desktop settings to make billing easier this summer at our managed clubs. Can you reword your point of sale system on Jonas, or Northstar, to make billing clinics and lessons faster and simpler? If you’d like some help, let us know. We have specialists on all point of sale systems ready to help.

You have time to create that report in your point of sale system that will break down your revenue streams just the way you have always wanted them. What is the true ratio between personal training and group classes in your fitness facility? Have revenues from the spa grown in comparison to personal training and group classes revenues? If so, how much and why? Did you teach more private tennis lessons in 2019 than in 2018? What was the ratio and revenue breakdown between your junior and adult programs?

These larger questions will bring us a new focus when we are able to resume at our clubs and facilities.

On our Patreon page at http://www.patreon.com/beyondthebaselines we provide an outline of these bigger issues. Look to tick each issue off as we work through this tough time. If we d

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Randy Walker: Marketing The Mardy Fish Foundation

We were happy to catch up with Randy Walker at The Boulevard Tennis Club in Vero Beach, FL. Randy, owner and President of New Chapter Media, is not only a tennis publisher, but also an avid player, marketer and tournament director. Randy directs the annual tournament for the Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation. Part of the USTA Pro Circuit, this tournament serves as the biggest fundraising opportunity for Mardy’s foundation. Randy discusses with us how he markets and communicates to the many demographics along the Treasure Coast of Florida for the biggest fundraiser for Mardy’s foundation.

Marketing Secrets From One Of The Best!

Randy realizes that each player has a story and that’s the first tantalizing or teasing piece of the marketing strategy for his tournament. He has a sound marketing strategy and he shares it with us: “Make your tournament like a mini US Open!”

Randy just released the book Juan Martin del Potro: The Gentle Giant this year at the Delray Beach ATP event, and he continues to serve as Communications Director for the Invesco Series. It’s one of our favorite tournament series in which we have the opportunity to watch some of the best ever: Jim Courier, Pete Sampras, Andre Agassi, and John McEnroe.

You can always reach Randy on Twitter @tennispublisher and please visit his publishing firm’s website at www.newchaptermedia.com