Understand your industry
Understanding and networking within tennis organizations was just as important to my directing a tennis program as was my understanding and networking within the amateur, pro and ATP ranks in my playing days on the pro tour. These were my professional associations, the authorities who governed tournaments, standardized teaching practices, protected players and furthered the popularity of the game. And they each have their distinct traditions, politics and cultures. My commitment to study, learn from and contribute to these organizations was genuine.
After seven years on the pro tour, I began the next phase of my life as the director of tennis at the new Kiawah Island Golf and Tennis Resort in Charleston, S.C. At my first USTA-SC annual meeting in the early 1980s, I saw how other directors and teaching pros networked to find out what tournaments were available to host and how they could be involved in the decision-making process of the association. At that meeting, I was asked to coach the South Carolina Junior Cup team. In the ensuing years, I was president of the USTA-SC, chair of various USTA-Southern committees, on various USTA National committees, and appointed chair of the USTA Davis Cup Committee.
The volunteer associations were good for me personally and professionally. Despite the many hours these commitments demanded, I enjoyed giving back to the industry that had given me so much, and I recognized the potential these liaisons had to attract business to Kiawah. Over the years, I capitalized on opportunities to host junior, adult and professional tournaments and exhibitions at Kiawah, as well as attract state, Southern and national USTA meetings. I brought a lot of business to Kiawah’s tennis courts but also to the hotels, dining outlets, spa, golf and other resort amenities.
The Professional Tennis Registry promotes the game of tennis by educating, certifying and serving the professional tennis teaching and coaching industry. It has a diverse international membership and equips teachers and coaches of all nations to further the quality and popularity of the game in their countries. I was proud to add the PTR certification to my credentials.
I started going to the Annual PTR Symposium on Hilton Head Island, S.C., in the early 1980s. I was initially attracted to their popular annual tournament—I won the doubles draw the first year!—but my real passion became the seminars. Not only were there lectures on teaching beginners though tournament players, but over the years I learned about sport science, nutrition, psychology, conditioning, merchandising, shop business and court maintenance. I didn’t even know how much I didn’t know. It was all crucial to my success running Kiawah’s tennis department.
Networking with fellow teaching professionals though the PTR was equally beneficial. I have enjoyed close relationships over many years with PTR pros with whom I served on committees, exchanged ideas, and shared my expertise. I served as the treasurer of the PTR for five years, president for two years, and in 2020, I was inducted into the PTR Hall of Fame.
Understanding my industry was crucial to my success, but not only because I absorbed what they had to offer. I enthusiastically volunteered my time to help keep standards high and promote the love of the game. For my efforts, I feel as though I was rewarded ten-fold.
I encourage all teaching pros to become certified professionals, go to the meetings, and network among their peers. I also recommend they volunteer with the USTA. What better way to learn, contribute and forge lifelong relationships with talented individuals in their field?
Roy Barth joined the professional tennis tour in 1968 and was a founding member of the ATP. He is now the Director Emeritus of Tennis at Kiawah Island Golf Resort in Kiawah Island, S.C. Roy’s new book, "Point of Impact," has recently been published and is available on Amazon in paperback and as a downloadable ebook. (Autographed copies are available in the Roy Barth Tennis Center at the Kiawah Island Resort, Charleston, S.C., or from the "Shop Kiawah" page at www.kiawahresort.com).
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