Overcoming challenges, creating opportunities
In our industry, tennis and racquet sports facilities are slowly reopening around the country, with new policies and procedures in place to help prevent the spread or resurgence of the coronavirus. While this is good news for our sport, we all still need to be vigilant and respect social distancing and hygiene rules that states, municipalities and facilities themselves put into place.
With limited or no play, this can be a time when this industry hits the “reset” button, where—working together and with a new understanding of what's actually important for all of us—we may be able to adjust and strengthen parts of this industry that can help ensure growth in the future.
For instance, we've all been aware of the unmatched benefits tennis brings when it comes to health and fitness. Now, that seems to take on even more importance, as players and non-players alike have been kept away from the courts and from the healthy activity that tennis provides. As courts and facilities open up, emphasizing the healthy benefits of tennis can help to bring current players and those who may not yet have tried tennis to your courts.
Many facilities are encouraging play with family members, at least to start. This means parents are playing with, and teaching, their kids—another opportunity in this sport to help get parents more involved in the business of tennis and in promoting the sport.
I've long maintained that growing this sport is all about being local, and now, with pro tennis mostly on hold, we're forced to focus on tennis in our own communities, on helping our local teaching pros and local facilities, and on doing all we can to keep this industry working and vital at the grassroots level. For the good of our industry, this is a focus we should never lose.
Peter Francesconi is the editor of Racquet Sports Industry magazine.