What can I do to make our tennis club better?

Discussion in 'Adult League & Tournament Talk' started by brtennis, Jul 8, 2008.

  1. brtennis

    brtennis Rookie

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    I've recently become the president of a local tennis club and I'd like to pick you brain to improve our club. Here is the website of our association: Highland Park Tennis Association.

    www.hptabr.com

    Our club is based on a public tennis facility with 14 hard courts and gathers co-ed every Saturday morning from 8 to 12am. We have over 200 paid members and a history of over 30 years. The members range from beginners to 4.5 and from age 18 to 84!

    One perennial issue has been too many players and not enough courts, a victim of our own success. We play double for a regular set, step aside, put you name on the board, and wait for your next turn. Often times, at peak hours, the wait can be over 30 minutes. We have a rule that, if there are more than 12 players waiting, then the no-ad rule takes into effect. Here is the first problem:

    How do you do with the people not following the no-ad rule? Most people do, but some don't.

    Besides the no-ad rule, what does your club do playing format-wise to counter the court shortage problem?

    Another thing I'd like to pick your brain is what special activity does your club do that is ejoyable and fun? Please post the website of your club, if you have one.

    Thanks in advance for your help,

    Robert
     
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  2. Vincescourt

    Vincescourt New User

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    At the club that i play at we have a one hour time limit if there are people waiting, if you get bumped from a court you have to wait atleast 15 min before you can bump another court.
     
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  3. hmwmai

    hmwmai New User

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    At my home club, you can reserve a court 7 days in advance for a max of 1 and 1/2 hours. A fun activity is the round robin for people that just want to play.
     
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  4. hmwmai

    hmwmai New User

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    whoops looks like you already have a round robin
     
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  5. brtennis

    brtennis Rookie

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    Yeah, this is co-ed round robin.

    We don't have time limit. If we do, it would have to be 45 min. of playing time max. However, keeping track of time for 14 courts and cut short of playing when the time is up don't sound ideal to me.
     
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  6. baek57

    baek57 Professional

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    we have a challenge system at our club. 1 set of doubles. the people waiting challenge the winners. winners have the right to stay on the court. losers must allow challengers to take their place.
     
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  7. AR15

    AR15 Professional

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    It's not difficult at all. Start and end times are on the hour. If you reserve a court for 6 pm, the people who started at 5 have to get off to let you play. If no one is waiting for your court, you could play longer.
     
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  8. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    Oh, I couldn't tolerate the waiting and getting bumped. When I play, I want a 2-hour block of time. If that means I play less frequently, this is fine. My time for tennis is limited, so I like to minimize my wait time. Gas is expensive, so I don't wish to drive to a facility and then play a paltry amount. Not to mention soiling and laundering a tennis outfit if I will play just one hour.

    Our county facility has an on-line booking procedure. You can book a court 5 days in advance and must cancel no later than 24 hours before your slot. You cannot reserve more than 2 hours a day. You can start booking courts at 12:01 a.m. each day. You pay in advance with a credit card.

    This means that I often don't get a court when I want one. But it also means I never wait or get bumped, and I can try to get 2 hours if I want and courts are available. This works for me.

    You know, the manager told me they were thinking of changing the booking start time to be 5 pm instead of midnight because some people said they were shut out because they lacked computer access at home and libraries are closed.

    To which I say, "Too bad!!!"

    Cindy -- who has stayed up until midnight on Sunday nights to book for Saturday more times than she can count
     
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  9. ChipNCharge

    ChipNCharge Professional

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    One thing we do when we have too many players show up is to play "mini-sets". First one to 4 games wins, and we'll play a 5 point tiebreak if it gets to 3 games all. Then we'll switch around.
     
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  10. Morpheus

    Morpheus Professional

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    Don't apply severe time restrictions or rules -- raise your court fees instead. Plow the excess profit back into the facilities to add more value.
     
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  11. theace21

    theace21 Hall of Fame

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    A wait time for 30 minutes at peak time for a very successful public facilities - doesn't sound that bad. What is the cost? When people get frustrated with that system, then let them join a private club.

    The main public tennis facility here has 12 courts and 2 of the courts are doubles challenges. Win you stay on, lose - find another court.
     
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  12. simi

    simi Hall of Fame

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    I'm no fan of no-ad scoring, so that is my bias. If players want to play traditional scoring, let them, but strictly enforce the match time limits.
     
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  13. LuckyR

    LuckyR Legend

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    Get a liquor licence, then have an open bar- courtside.
     
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  14. MasterBruceTennis

    MasterBruceTennis New User

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    I work with a club which has 8 courts with 80+ members.
    They take one court as the clinic court so that people waiting, besides social, still can learn some 'hitting' together.
    In addition to tennis, sometimes I talk to them about stock market, real estate, health, education and … it depends. Some of them rather ‘talk’ and give up their ‘turn’; they usually get to play again at the final minutes.

    They have rules to penalize the violators of 'no-ad' with seven (7) ‘refs’ (judges) assigned on the spots with badges; badges are passing around to the ‘fresh waiting’ ‘responsible volunteers’. Anyone detects violation can report to the refs too.

    It is the president or the ceo of the day to make sure the refs are doing their job.
     
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  15. Tarboro

    Tarboro Rookie

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    You could raise your rates but you may not be able to do so for varying reasons (city or county sets rates, etc). Adjustments based on price take time as well, which you may not have. The change may be sudden also - most players will pay an additional $20, but almost none will pay an additional $30.

    Are there times during the week that courts are consistently not full? The facility I play at is often empty on weekday nights when leagues are not in season. For a finite resource like court time, you might want to spend some time brainstorming on how you can reallocate some court use to the times that are not as busy. Open up a round robin doubles format on weekday nights after work or on Sunday and see what happens.

    No ad generally minimizes really long games, but most games don't get to ad anyway so you won't save significant time there. You could require pro sets if you presently play best two out of three, or go to a 10-point tiebreaker rather than a third set.

    Overall, your problem is a good problem to have. When I play at 7:00 Saturday morning I'm constantly amazed that there aren't more players on the court.
     
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  16. Cruzer

    Cruzer Professional

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    You could have an on site sargeant-at-arms whose responsibility it is to make sure everyone plays by the rules. A very thankless job.
    I used to belong to a private golf club that had a very active golf membership. Tee times on were not always easy to get. Before I joined I was told that the average time for a foursome to play a round was 4.00 to 4.25 hours and everyone was expected to adhere to that time frame. If you were seen not keeping up with play you would get a warning letter from the golf committee about your slow play. If you did not pick up the pace your playing privileges would be suuspended. Perhaps putting the players refusing to follow the no ad rule on written notice would get their attention.

    It appears that you have too many members if court availability is a chronic problem. It looks like a very nice tennis facility however I would never consider it as my main tennis club if you had to wait to play and then your play was limited to 30 or 45 minutes.
     
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  17. spot

    spot Hall of Fame

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    I'd put a "king of the court" drill in place on one of the courts so that people who are waiting aren't just sitting there if they don't want to be. It doesn't take a pro to run one- just anyone willing to feed some balls.

    And maybe you should have a reservation system for the round robin if you are getting so much demand.
     
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2008
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  18. brtennis

    brtennis Rookie

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    Wow, thanks for the replies. Please keep it coming.

    This is a good way of solving the court shortage problem and I'm for one in favor of it. Unfortunately, it was shut down by the previous officers for some reasons. Maybe, it is time to push it thru again, if the problem gets bad enough.

    Hmmm... interesting, this will certain solve the problem. I'm just not sure how receptive this is from the members. Right now, we charge $15 annually to join and $3 to play each time.

    There is certain truth to the tone of the second quote. With price of admission/playing this low, what to complain?
     
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  19. brtennis

    brtennis Rookie

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    This is exactly the reason why the no-ad rule is not being followed by some. This is unfair for those who follow. I don't want to be the guy who polices the rule. Tough situation...

    LOL, I like the idea, so do many others. Unfortunately, there is a no alcohol policy from this public facility.

    Yeah, some people are like this, but most come to play tennis, though. Personally, I don't mind waiting for 15-20 min. but >30 min. is too long.

    I'll look into this idea. Perhaps this is the way to acquiesce those who complain loudly. Thanks,
     
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  20. brtennis

    brtennis Rookie

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    We have men round robin every tuesday and thursday nights. And, yeah, people start to show up at 7am and from 7-8:30 the court availability is great. Early birds get the worm...The problem is 1 or 2 out of 10 times, the courts are locked before the clerk shows up at 8am. When that happens, those early birds got no worm but mud...
     
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  21. brtennis

    brtennis Rookie

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    This is where the root problem is. And I think people just have to compromise one way or another.
     
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  22. brtennis

    brtennis Rookie

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    Oh, back to another question in the original post.

    What special activities or games do your club do that is ejoyable and fun? Please post the website of your club, if you have one.

    Anyone?
     
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  23. FedererISBetter

    FedererISBetter Rookie

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    Weekend warriors for both man and women. Men's night, Women's night, cardio tennis, mix doubles... etc etc.

    Mens and womens night basically are mainly doubles if you can get everyone in... if not, one or three can play singles.. king of the hill.

    Weekend warriors, doing drills and whatnot.

    Mix doubles, like king of the court...after each group advances or stays ... they switch mixed partners to begin the next match

    Majority of these are like two hours, so yea.
     
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  24. cak

    cak Professional

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    Our club, and several around here, do a ladies day. Round robin in the morning, followed by a lunch and fashion show from the local tennis shop.
     
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  25. brtennis

    brtennis Rookie

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    I think cardio tennis is a great idea. Imagine bunchs of guys/gals running up and down the court. You want exercise and you got it.... and a great way to solve court shortage problem too. Now, if only I can find a qualified instructor....
     
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2008
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  26. brtennis

    brtennis Rookie

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    Another great idea. In fact, I just played a match with the owner of a local tennis shop. Hmmm...Are men excluded? Can the ladies try out the outfit?
     
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  27. cak

    cak Professional

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    With a nearby locker room (unlimited dressing rooms) they could try on as many outfits as they wanted. At a recent one I attended the sponsoring shop did a brisk business selling outfits right there.
     
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  28. brtennis

    brtennis Rookie

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    Any discount offered?
     
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  29. nytennisaddict

    nytennisaddict Professional

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    I have this issue with some local clubs in my area... and for these reasons I feel I'm better off playing on public courts (limited waiting, no bumping, etc...) until my body can't take cement, and needs to play on har-tru.

    Of the ideas above, I really like the idea of a "king of court" or "drill court" to be used as "filler" until a court opens up. I would imagine that court might end up being more popular than getting your own court.

    I also really like the challenge rule (eg. waiting doubles team challenges team that has court)... but I would extend the rule to be an 8 game pro set, no ad scoring, and winning team can only stay on a maximum of 3 challenges, before getting reinserted into the queue. No warmup allowed (but need to have a "king of court" or "drill court" open). This would likely be most popular to the median skill levels (majority of your members), promote competition and socialization (might even remove cliqueness I often see at clubs/public courts)... With 14 courts, maybe have 3 "challenge courts" {men, women, mixed} and the remaining 10 courts could still be reserved by the folks with skill levels at each end of the spectrum (eg. very beginner/very advanced). To further promote the competitiveness.. maybe always post results on http://tennisengine.com/ so everyone can see.

    I also like the idea of an outside bar (serving mimosas in the morning) that would likely solve the problem of *anyone* wanting a court :p

    Considering you have more demand than supply, you could just raise the rates?

    my $0.02
     
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2008
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  30. FedererISBetter

    FedererISBetter Rookie

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    I sometimes help out with doing cardio tennis... you just need someone who is good at feeding and know a lot of drills to mix it up! I'm sure you can find a lot of them online or in barnes and nobles.
     
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  31. simi

    simi Hall of Fame

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    I didn't make myself clear. Let them score their games any way they choose, but when the hour is over or their time is up, kick them off the court. My contention is that the time limit on the court takes precidence to the scoring methodology.

    If everyone has the same time limit, nobody should feel like they are being cheated. It just means that (in a one-hour time limited match), the no-ad scorers will play a set and a half while the ad scorers will be lucky to get in a full set if they are evenly matched.

    The only thing you will need to 'police' is the time limits on the courts, not the scoring methodology.
     
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  32. ttbrowne

    ttbrowne Hall of Fame

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    You definitely need to raise the cost of your club. It's too low. I'd double it without hesitation.
     
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  33. brtennis

    brtennis Rookie

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    I see what you mean now. My apology...
     
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  34. brtennis

    brtennis Rookie

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    I'm not quite sure who/when/where this $15 membership fee was set. However, I do know that most people are generally opposed to price increase. Even restricting new members to join after a certain set number was voted down a few years ago...go figure...

    I'm looking into cardio tennis and outfits/equipment tryout or demo ideas as previously suggested.
     
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  35. Blask

    Blask Semi-Pro

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    LET'S GO HOKIES!!!!! Had to throw that in
     
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  36. floridatennisdude

    floridatennisdude Hall of Fame

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    I don't think you have too many members. I just think the structure of the organization is outdated and should be totally revamped. Dilemma is, not everyone is going to be happy. I was a "member" at a city run facility that had 11 hard courts & had over 400 "members". Here's the nuts and bolts of how it works there. The club was subsidized by the city's "hospitality taxes" which was roughly $300k per year to cover staffing, equipment, utilities, etc & the land is leased from the local school district that owns it for $1 per year for 30 years:

    - $75 individual / $150 family / $50 senior indiv membership per year
    - Guest fees of $6 per person
    - Membership includes all court fees for the year, including leages
    - Members could reserve a court 48 hours in advance (90 minute block max)
    - Non-members could reserve a court the day of only
    - Members could play in socials at no cost (guests paid $10), club ran 1 per month

    I looked through your website briefly & couldn't locate your pricing structure, but someone alluded to the cost of $15? That would seem to be way outdated to me...did it just never rise with inflation?

    Ultimately, you need to do two things:
    - Implement a reservation system & have a way of enforcing it (ie - court time cancelled if not there within 10 mins of start time)
    - Raise your rates and allow supply & demand to alleviate your overcrowding. It sucks to lose members, but if they will only pay $15 per year...are they really worth it?
     
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  37. Fuji

    Fuji Legend

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    Here's how my club works, it might help you a bit...

    -Members pay for their monthly membership. Full year deals are available.

    -Courts are available for members at any time of operating hours. (6am-11pm) They are able to be booked 1 week in advance, and you may only go on the court once you have signed up on the sheet outside the courts. Times are booked in 1 hour blocks. You may only have 1 hour booked at a time in the "pre registered."

    -Guests pay $20.00 per visit to encourage more members to sign up.

    -If you are not signed up within 15 minutes of your court time, it is rendered as a "free court" for any member to drop in for the remainder of the hour.

    Hope this helps!

    -Fuji
     
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  38. SweetH2O

    SweetH2O Rookie

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    You guys realize that the original post was from 2008, right? It was recently bumped so a guy could plug his software.
     
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  39. floridatennisdude

    floridatennisdude Hall of Fame

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    Oh snap, guilty. I was distracted by my shopping for an igloo in Hawaii
     
    Last edited: May 8, 2012
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  40. jdubbs

    jdubbs Hall of Fame

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    My club just raised fees 5% so I now pay $295/month and indoor court fees are $39/hour. Does include parking, though.

    So, wow, a $15 one time fee and $3/hour sounds pretty amazing to me.
     
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  41. tennisjon

    tennisjon Semi-Pro

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    Are the courts busy during all times of the day? There might be a need for a peak-time usage fee. Play during peak times could be limited to one hour reservations on the hour (or half hour on certain courts). Another thing could be if the demand for court time is so high, seems like law of supply and demand would say to raise the overall rates. You could also have a doubles challenge court during peak hours in which people play tiebreakers and winner stays on. This way, people are getting to play rather than sitting around. Just some ideas.
     
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  42. Fuji

    Fuji Legend

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    My bad, I didn't notice that until now! :)

    -Fuji
     
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