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Innovative ways to increase your club's bottom line.

Staying on the cutting edge of success is a challenge that requires a constant influx of creative ideas. To help you meet this arduous challenge, Tennis Industry has compiled the best ideas from leading industry insiders around the nation. At a recent seminar on racquet customization, equipment guru Warren Bosworth held court. Stressing the fact that proper customization leads to increased customer satisfaction and higher revenues, he explained that weight and balance are the keys to tailoring a frame to a player's liking. Typically, when a player switches to a new racquet he expresses concern about how different it feels compared to his trusty old stick. That's because the player is accustomed to a previous weight and balance. Therefore, says Bosworth, the art lies in reconstructing a new racquet with the comparable weight and balance of the old one. This gives the player the best of both worlds: the hightech features of the new frame plus the feel and playability of the older frame. Bosworth also pointed out that tennis elbow, if caught early enough, often can be remedied by making a couple of simple adjustments in the weight and balance of the racquet as well as the grip size. First, add more weight to the head of the racquet through the use of lead tape at both the 3 and 9 o'clock positions. By increasing the mass in the racquet's head, the stress on the elbow is severely reduced. Second, increase the grip size. Although a larger grip diminishes the potential of wrist snap on serves and overheads, it encourages a more stable racquet head on groundstrokes and means that a player doesn't have to squeeze the grip as tight when hitting the ball. The end result is less strain on the arm.

Want to sell more shoes and improve the services offered to your club members? Then take a leaf out of the book of Jim McLennan. A Northern California U.S. Professional Tennis Association (USPTA) veteran, McLennan suggests that teaching pros incorporate in to their lessons footwork and movement drills. This has the desired effect of getting pros to talk about shoes. At the same time, he recommends that the pro develop a list of the brands each of his pupils wears. Then, on an annual basis, use this list to meet the needs of his members, who could swing by the shop or club counter to pick up their next pair of shoes. No hassles. No fuss. No searching interminably for a particular brand. Just a quick pit stop. The results of this simple yet effective process are twofold: members are provided with an improved service and tennis shops increase their bottom line. What's more, this marketing technique doesn't require a pro shop. All that's needed is a storage area.

Fernando Velasco, a former USPTA national pro of the year who is the director of tennis at the Landings Club in Savannah, Georgia, shares a number of winning ideas to keep you ahead of the competition. 1) Don't charge in advance for re-stringing because the racquet may need new grommets or other customizations that cost extra. Occasionally the stringer may even find a crack in the frame. By not charging in advance, the pro or

special ty shop can telephone the customer and advise him if there's any additional expenses that may be incurred withou t having to get into the messy business ofre-funding money. 2) During a lesson or clinic the teaching pro should hit with the students' racquets to find out if the racquets need new strings or grips. 3) Hold monthly ball machine clinics to promote and educate members about the use of ball machines. Velasco underscores the importance of using good balls. To draw more attention to the ball machine, Velasco also says it's a good idea to promote the ball machine drills in the club newsletter and on the bulletin board. 4) If possible, establish a ball machine court that's visible from the office of the tennis director or head professional. This allows the pro to get out on the court and help members who are having difficulties using the machine. Hopefully, it will also stimulate additional ball machine rentals and generate more lessons .• Joe Dinoffer is a USPTA Master Professional and a member of the USPTR. He speaks frequently at national and international tennis teachers workshops as a member of both the Reebok and Wilson National Speaker Bureaus. He is also the publisher of Coach Tennis America, an audio magazine which presents highlights of tennis teacher workshops. [Editor's Note: Tennis Industry invites you, our reader, to share your winning ideas with us. You can write to Joe Dinoffer in care of our offices, fax him at (214) 823-3082 or reach him bye-mail at Dinoffer@aol.com]


Innovative ways to increase your club's bottom line