Bad Club Culture

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by exhaleexplode, Oct 9, 2009.

  1. exhaleexplode

    exhaleexplode Rookie

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    Ok so Im a member at a moderatley exclusive private club. Im not there cause of mommy and daddy, instead of buying a motorbike, I plunked down the change myself and joined at 26. Ive been there 4 years. There are 4 teaching pros on staff and on retainer. This is a member owned club. After four years of being there almost daily, and really pushing my game, Ive realized that unless youre paying one of these people 45$ and hour (right now) they don't care if your breathing or not. I won't get into the details, but they are inconsiderate, and never ever have I seen them give up 2 minutes of their time to some players. You know..."hey Mrs B., I see youre hitting a basket of serves, lets have a look", Or "Hey I got ten min, you guys need a fourth?" Never. Not 5 min, not once. Not with anybody. They have no mission statement, no mandate.(I think their mission statement is "Give me 45$"). Rants and raves was all about Obama, so I figured Id post here. Any ideas???

    ********I just want to update my post here, I think I was fairly upset, I wrote a couple mean things, now Ive calmed a bit and I think i have a more constructive viewpoint. This thread was actually helpful. I dont think the coaches are stingy or inconsiderate...but I do think thats how they have been coming across. For me definitley, and Im pretty easygoing. I think Im going to meet with them, tell them how I feel, and make a a simple suggestion. I don't think they realize what a big difference 5 minutes here and there will make. Seems reasonable.
     
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2009
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  2. TommyGNR

    TommyGNR New User

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    Thats how they make there living. If you give away the milk for free then nobody feels like they have to buy it.
     
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  3. exhaleexplode

    exhaleexplode Rookie

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    yeah, but theyre on retainer.....It doesn't have be all tips....a little more interaction. Spread a little encouragement..some good karma here and there. Nobody gets a drop of milk....its weird. I already get one private a week. Its bad customer service.
     
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  4. NickH87

    NickH87 Semi-Pro

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    Yeah I completely understand that. This situation is a little different but it works the same.

    On public courts there are two instructors than teach younger kids how to play for about 2 hours on mondays and wednesdays. After they come by the two courts that they dont use and offer us advice, hit with us, throw in their 2 cents for constructive criticism and its wonderful. They dont expect that we want to buy lessons from them, but they are genuine people that love tennis and helping others out and no expense.
     
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  5. exhaleexplode

    exhaleexplode Rookie

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    Yeah! Exactly....Im a 4.0 and when Im at public courts, Ill show ppl how to play mini tennis etc. I love tennis. I want people to hit more balls and have a good time. Im at my club 5-7 days a week and the head "coach" has never given me 5 min of his time. In four years! He says hello, hows it going, hes "friendly"...I already take lessons....5 min!!!! Now every club (especially this one) had a pile of bs 5 miles wide and deep, the more i look, the more i see, so any ideas on how to effect some change??
     
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  6. Steady Eddy

    Steady Eddy Hall of Fame

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    That's not a good club and those pros don't know how to do their job. At the same time, I'd expect that you're a good member, that means you buy tennis balls and other equipment there instead of at Target or Walmart. Now if you're doing your end, they should do their end and sometimes comment on your game. They don't have to watch your whole set, but if they notice something, outside of a lesson, it's nice to have them tell you. This is the benefit of having a pro/player relationship.

    The people who think, "Why should they devote one second to you when they're off the clock?" are wrong. Is that the kind of employee they are? (Nevermind, I think I've answered my own question.)
     
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  7. volusiano

    volusiano Hall of Fame

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    How does it work for a club pro to be "on retainer" at the club? I understand the term "on retainer" in general (like for a lawyer), but I don't know what it means for a club teaching pro. Do they get to keep the whole $45/hr fee or do they share some of that with the club? Does the club pay them a salary and split the $45/hr fee with them?

    Maybe there's some club rule that strictly prohibits them from giving tennis tips outside of lessons? After all, you did say they're friendly and say hello to you and everything else but give you technical tips...
     
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  8. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    The pros are employees or contractors of the club, not the owners. In some cases, they might indirectly benefit from your membership fees, but usually they earn based on their lessons after shelling out a percentage to the club and their insurance and USPTA membership etc. I see no reason why they should spend time with someone who is not paying them.

    At my club, the pros have volunteered only a couple of times. The head pro demonstrated a kick serve to me when he was in the next court, and another pro plays doubles with us, but mostly for his own tournament practice (he is a regular senior event player).
     
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  9. tennisdad65

    tennisdad65 Hall of Fame

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    If you are a member, you are already paying $200-400 per month. They better be nice to all members, even if you do not take lessons.
     
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  10. Venetian

    Venetian Professional

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    200-$400 a month? That's pretty steep. I pay $100 a year.
     
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  11. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    Not at all. Most pro shops inside clubs, even if they do exist, are poorly stocked and are usually just a place to drop off frames for stringing. They keep some items like balls and socks for emergencies, but they fully expect that you will shop somewhere else where there is more choice. Heck, even standalone pro shops cannot survive these days without Internet presence. My local pro shop guy regularly monitors TW prices and availability. Club pro shops are usually pathetic. If they want to compete, they have a long way to go. They are there for the same reason gift shops exist at better hotels - for emergency supplies and to keep their 4 star or 5 star rating. The hotel staff doesn't expect you to do your shopping there.
     
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  12. Steady Eddy

    Steady Eddy Hall of Fame

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    Back in the day, my club wasn't like that. My brother worked in the shop too, so got it double if I bought tennis stuff at Target. I thought it was fair to buy tennis balls from the shop, because they didn't cost that much more there. But I bought shoes from the shop, and they fell apart in a week. The pro told me it was 'normal wear', so my next pair I bought somewhere else. When the pro saw me in shoes not purchased at his shop, he really grilled me. But I thought, "I can't afford to buy new shoes every week." But back in the 80's I thought you were to support the shop if you could. Maybe times have changed, because where I play now, no one buys their stuff.
     
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  13. exhaleexplode

    exhaleexplode Rookie

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    Lessons are about 47$ and they give 3 or 4$ to the club. Plus their retainers. I don't know what those are. No, they don't give a minute. not one minute. 300$ a month bye the way. Everybody else at the club is nice and helpful. The gym trainers give advice all the time. I don't pay them...and they don't get retainers....
     
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  14. exhaleexplode

    exhaleexplode Rookie

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    Balls I buy from them....everything else TW!
     
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  15. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    No one buys their stuff at club shops anymore. Take racquets. Even an outside pro shop has nowhere near the selection that TW does. I still buy frames from them because I can measure the specs myself. But shoes I buy from TW. I know my size and I know which models will fit me without trouble, so the local pro shop is out of the picture. The typical club/resort pro shop has 5 racquets hanging from the wall which no one touches. At the resort I sometimes play, the pro shop is a place for people to watch TV before a match. And sometimes the occasional lady who forgot her socks. Even the big pro shop at La Costa at the time the Acura was going on was not impressive at all.
     
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  16. exhaleexplode

    exhaleexplode Rookie

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    This has nothing to do with the pro shop, we don't even have one right now. It got remodelled out and it will be a while till it gets modelled back in.
     
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  17. NickH87

    NickH87 Semi-Pro

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    Is it even worth opening up a local tennis shop now a days. I think it would be cool to own one but it probably wont be worth it.
     
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  18. Rorsach

    Rorsach Hall of Fame

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    Holy crap. What are the courts made of, solid gold?

    I'm paying 150 euros a year.
     
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  19. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    I read your first post again and realize you are a woman. May I suggest that you should not compare tennis pros to gym trainers? The relationship between women and gym trainers seems to be, how should I put it, interesting. I can fully visualize a hunky guy in tights and a sleevless shirt always willing to hold you and show you an exercise even if you don't pay him ....
     
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  20. NickH87

    NickH87 Semi-Pro

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    Local places are like $75-80/month around here
     
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  21. Steady Eddy

    Steady Eddy Hall of Fame

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    Then I don't get the OP's club? If you're loyal, and take all your lessons from the same pro, s/he ought to take an interest in your game and not be like, "If it's not a lesson, I don't know you." If that's how they think a club pro should be, they don't get their job. The old pro I mentioned, on the down side, he did hustle his crummy shop too much, but on the up side, he did observe how members played, and often if two people were waiting in his shop, he'd suggest that they could hit together, (he knew if they were at about the same level). He also informed people about manners, when he saw people cutting through courts he'd tell them about using the gates instead. People accept that criticism better from a pro than from another player.

    Some of the new pros seem to want to do the minimum. The older pros also sometimes filled in as a fourth for doubles if they weren't busy with a lesson. They were an asset to the club, not just there to give lessons only. If your club has pros that won't lift a finger unless they're being paid for a lesson, see if your club can find some pros who will do more. There's alot of competition for jobs in this economy. Why put up with slackers?
     
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  22. exhaleexplode

    exhaleexplode Rookie

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    Really..? really? did I just read that? Wow aren't you perceptive! No, Im a man...spare your expert analysis for other posts. Read the original post and try to impart some advice to the thread please..not you eddie, the one before that
     
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  23. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    Is it just my limited sample size or are tennis pros today mostly on the older side? I don't see young pros around.
     
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  24. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    Even if you are a man, my gym trainer comments still apply :)

    Why do people call you Mrs B?
     
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  25. exhaleexplode

    exhaleexplode Rookie

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    hahaha ok ok....yeah yeah, not that was just an example of what they might say to a memeber if they have a $ht. Mrs B gets ignored just as much as me
     
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  26. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    Yeah I was joking.

    I used to play at a private facility for $150 a month and the pros did not give any extra time as far as I could see. They do seem to care more about juniors though.
     
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  27. JRstriker12

    JRstriker12 Hall of Fame

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    Have you talked to the club owners about this?

    Sounds like they could be a little more friendly, but on the flip side, I don't think you should expect free tips/lessons. They are there to be paid for thier tennis expertise so I can see why they many not want to give it away for free.
     
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  28. exhaleexplode

    exhaleexplode Rookie

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    interesting....it's a member owned club. I do agree that they don't have to give free lessons....but they don't give 2 minutes here and there. Nothing at all. Its weird.
     
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  29. exhaleexplode

    exhaleexplode Rookie

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    you get more bees with honey
     
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  30. SuperDuy

    SuperDuy Hall of Fame

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    Explain it more, I don't get it..
     
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  31. exhaleexplode

    exhaleexplode Rookie

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    If coach A walks up to Mrs B when shes hitting on the ball machine, and tells her to hit out in front and low to high and it works and she likes him, she will be more likley to speak well of the coach, take lessons from him, or recommend him
     
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  32. ti286

    ti286 Banned

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    They are poor businessmen.

    A little free advice here and there is like advertising.

    They'd get even more $45/hr. lessons if they were more sharing.
     
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  33. JRstriker12

    JRstriker12 Hall of Fame

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    If it's a member owned club, then I assume there's some sort of governing board/panel. Bring it up at a board meeting or send a letter to the board about how unfriendly the pros are.

    Just wondering - do most of these pros make thier money working with juniors or with adult club members? I would think if they were hurting for business they would be a little more friendly..... but if thier focus is on producing high-ranked juniors and a lot of people at the club pay for those services, I could see a situation where they tend to ignore other club members (not saying it's right though....).
     
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  34. blakesq

    blakesq Professional

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    Exhaleexplode,

    Do you work for free?

     
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  35. user92626

    user92626 Legend

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    Go to public courts. You get tons of unsolicited free tips and advices. Frankly alot of them work or can be contested if the givers do not demonstrate it effectively.
     
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  36. exhaleexplode

    exhaleexplode Rookie

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    Do I work for free?
    sure budy, anything you wanna know about fluid mechanics, I'd be happy to take a minute or two to explain to you. Do you know why topspin forces the ball down? Everybody who plays tennis should know that.
     
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  37. exhaleexplode

    exhaleexplode Rookie

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    when you live it, breathe it and love it, it aint work
     
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  38. marsh

    marsh Rookie

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    I happen to live in a metro area where the public facilities are great (Memphis). I frequent, weekly, 2 of the 4 or 5 public facilities in town. Of the 2 facilities I go to, the pros at one are always volunteering to assist me if they see a problem with my swing, form etc. They also make sure to drop a positive comment if I'm playing great. Frequently, when a late night clinic is over the will hang around and play if we need a 4th. As a result I will go out of my way to go to that one facility and I would pay a serious premium to take a lesson from one of them, if I ever get around to starting that up again.
     
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  39. marsh

    marsh Rookie

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    I forgot to add that I also recently stopped by a local tennis only club to inquiring on joining. After being ushered through the dining, pool, banquet and fitness areas, I asked if I could purchase a tennis only membership. Once I was told no, I asked the very attractive female sales rep what her club offered to some one that the public tennis centers didn't and would make the $350 a month fee worthwhile. She had no reply. As I left she yelled "did you see our brand new restaraunt?"
     
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  40. exhaleexplode

    exhaleexplode Rookie

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    They got me here...only 2 indoor facilities in town...and you cant get a court at the other
     
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  41. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    For 350 a month, you should expect: heated pool, restaurant and bar, more than one type of court surface, jacuzzi and sauna, matchmaking services, regularly scheduled socials, towels and drinking water near every court.
     
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  42. volusiano

    volusiano Hall of Fame

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    Just curious question to the OP, have you taken any lesson from any of these pros before in the 4 years since you joined? I can see you being irritated if you have had a lesson or two from them before, and they ignore you (tip wise) afterward when you stop taking lessons from them. But if you've never taken a lesson from them in the whole 4 years, maybe there's been no opportunity to "break the ice" to go beyond a friendly "hello, how are you".
     
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  43. exhaleexplode

    exhaleexplode Rookie

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    Ive had group or private from all of them at some point. Like I said Ive never seen them give anyone a minute
     
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  44. Steady Eddy

    Steady Eddy Hall of Fame

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    Then it's a no-brainer. Find a new club. Sounds like your club is on the high end of costs, but low end for service. Not a good combination.
     
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  45. exhaleexplode

    exhaleexplode Rookie

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    I agree, but its the only indoor club where you can easily get a court...unfortunatley
     
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  46. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    Tennis pros are not a happy lot. I know from my contacts on my club's board of directors that there is always a tussle between the owners and the pros, and the members and the pros. The owners want a bigger percentage of the pro's fees and want him/her to rope in more students, or quit. Many members resent the pros occupying courts during primetime. This has resulted in much unpleasantness at my club. Unlike the OP, many members just want court time when they want it, and don't want any lessons taking place, with balls shooting all over the place to adjacent courts. One member told me recently that a club should have only one head pro and should fire everyone else because lessons are a waste of time. Behind the smily faces of the pros is a lot of concern about their jobs, which may get reflected in their behavior.
     
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  47. Tennisman912

    Tennisman912 Semi-Pro

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    Exhaleexplode,

    You are misunderstanding how tennis pros make money. They make 95%+ of their money from lessons. They might get a little for administrative tasks like running leagues, group lessons or calling to setup special events/socials but they get no real retainer just to sit there. If they aren’t teaching, they aren’t making money. Have you considered the fact that maybe you look down on them because you think they are there to serve you because you belong to an exclusive club without you paying for it? I am not saying this is the case but something to think about.

    Having said all that, I have never belonged to club where a pro you have some relationship with who has a spare moment before a lesson or clinic who wouldn’t go hit a few with me or someone else for few minutes so you can show them something you are working on or just to hit a few. If that is really the case here, then I would join another club if I were unhappy with the way things are run. But they’re job is to get you into clinics, set up social events and especially, get you taking lessons. They are not going to give tons of free lessons and take money out of their pocket.

    If you don’t have a relationship with them (know them well or taking lessons or clinics or being active in the club) then you can’t expect them to A. know what you want all the time unless you ask or go hit with someone they don’t know unless you ask. You wouldn’t go into a doctor’s office in between appointments and expect them to see you in their spare moments, especially if they don’t know you would you? If you have a relationship with them and they have a moment and there is an open court, very few pros would say no to 5 minutes of hitting or pointers if you just ask them.

    Good tennis

    TM
     
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  48. volusiano

    volusiano Hall of Fame

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    ^^^ I think the OP has a relationship with them. That's why I asked him if he took lessons from the pros before and he said yes, he took both private and group lessons from them ALL at some point. Besides, the OP said that he spends almost every day at the club's courts, so the pros know him and greet him "Hello".

    I think the OP has a legitimate gripe. It would be nice if the pros would at least extend their courtesy beyond normal greetings and chat up with him a minute or two now and then about his tennis progress. If anything, it's a way to help bring in more business and sell more lessons.
     
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  49. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    I don't understand what the problem is.

    I have never been a "member" of a club, but there is one club in town where I take my lessons and where my son took lessons. My own pro works there in the winter and works for himself in the summers (on public courts).

    I simply wouldn't dream of asking my pro for any free time. Nor would I find it acceptable if he up and decided that he would shorten up one of our lessons by a few minutes. Sure, sometimes we run over a little bit, and sometimes after a lesson we will talk in the parking lot for a while if he doesn't have anyplace to go.

    But expecting him to come up and give me a few tips when I am not taking a lesson? Expecting him to come and be our fourth? Blech.

    If he volunteered to do such things, I would consider it above and beyond the call of duty, and I feel no entitlement to his time beyond the block of time for which I pay. And this is a situation where I have paid this man and this club $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$. Why would someone who isn't a regular customer of the pros expect freebies?
     
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  50. Cody

    Cody Semi-Pro

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    The biggest favor my coach who is very generous does for me is let me practice with his various groups before my lesson, my lesson starts at 5 but i get to the court at 3.30 straight after school and join in on his group lesson untill my lesson which finishes at 6:30 at no extra cost.
    He also provided me with 40 of his worn out balls to practice my serve any day of the week.
    Any time he is there i get free court hire. yay

    I have a very generous coach i think.:)
     
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