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Micalzon 01-07-2014 10:16 AM

Ethical Tennis Lessons
 
I wasn't sure where to post this but figured if I wanted opinions of other coaches and instructors, this may be the right place.

I signed my 5 yr old son up for tennis lessons with a local group this past summer and he really enjoyed it and did very well in the class. The problem was the price. It was really something I couldn't afford on a monthly basis, so I had the idea of just coaching him myself. I figured I was already out there anyway so I wasn't saving any time by having someone else do it for me and what I paid in one month to the other coach I could buy all the basic equipment needed to coach him. So I did. Keep in mind, that I'm actually a decent player myself (4.0 singles player) having played in multiple leagues over the last few years and figured I knew enough about the game to teach a 5 yr old.

The Story Builds: Then I had the idea of including some of his friends. I sent out an email to some friends and neighbors to see if anyone wanted to join us for a small fee (none were already with this other guy). I wanted to keep the group small, capped at 5 kids total. I found with this other group of 10-12 kids, there was a lot of waiting around for the kids.

The "Issue": when we were working out the the time to hold lessons, they happened to be on the same days and times as this other group. And since there aren't a lot of courts around, we'll be using the same courts (there are plenty of courts for everyone). This, according to my wife, feels a little weird.

So, what are your thoughts? Is it kosher to hold lessons at the same time and place as this other coach? I'm really trying to change the dates to ensure there are no court conflicts, but at this time, I personally don't see it as an issue (my wife, on the other hand, does). I'm not doing this to steal his students (I actually have a lengthy waiting list myself) and am not stealing any of his coaching techniques or other intellectual property. I made a very conscience effort to put together drills that were not the same as what I saw him use. Let me know what you think.

Topspin Shot 01-07-2014 10:27 AM

You're not really doing anything wrong, but it does seem a little tacky though. I can understand how the other coach would get upset, seeing as he knows you and knows you signed your son up for his group and then pulled him out. If you can't change the dates, why not just change the venue?

arche3 01-07-2014 10:54 AM

Eh. Steal his students. If he is better as a coach or a salesmen they won't leave. Its not kindergarden. Do what you want and if he gives you grief tell him to get his mommy to talk to your mommy. Competition is good.

sureshs 01-07-2014 10:55 AM

If the courts are public, it is OK as long as the posted rules of the city permit for-profit coaching by coaches not registered with the city. Even otherwise it should be OK, unless someone complains about it when they can't find an empty court or find the noise or the balls coming over to be distracting.

If these are club courts, club policies may not allow such coaching by persons who are not club coaches.

BMC9670 01-07-2014 10:57 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Micalzon (Post 7997820)
I wasn't sure where to post this but figured if I wanted opinions of other coaches and instructors, this may be the right place.

I signed my 5 yr old son up for tennis lessons with a local group this past summer and he really enjoyed it and did very well in the class. The problem was the price. It was really something I couldn't afford on a monthly basis, so I had the idea of just coaching him myself. I figured I was already out there anyway so I wasn't saving any time by having someone else do it for me and what I paid in one month to the other coach I could buy all the basic equipment needed to coach him. So I did. Keep in mind, that I'm actually a decent player myself (4.0 singles player) having played in multiple leagues over the last few years and figured I knew enough about the game to teach a 5 yr old.

The Story Builds: Then I had the idea of including some of his friends. I sent out an email to some friends and neighbors to see if anyone wanted to join us for a small fee (none were already with this other guy). I wanted to keep the group small, capped at 5 kids total. I found with this other group of 10-12 kids, there was a lot of waiting around for the kids.

The "Issue": when we were working out the the time to hold lessons, they happened to be on the same days and times as this other group. And since there aren't a lot of courts around, we'll be using the same courts (there are plenty of courts for everyone). This, according to my wife, feels a little weird.

So, what are your thoughts? Is it kosher to hold lessons at the same time and place as this other coach? I'm really trying to change the dates to ensure there are no court conflicts, but at this time, I personally don't see it as an issue (my wife, on the other hand, does). I'm not doing this to steal his students (I actually have a lengthy waiting list myself) and am not stealing any of his coaching techniques or other intellectual property. I made a very conscience effort to put together drills that were not the same as what I saw him use. Let me know what you think.

This is pretty much sums up my kid's tennis development. I've taught my son since he was about 7, supplementing here and there with lessons, but not willing/able to do them on a regular basis. I work with him individually and also in small groups with a few of his tennis friends that are at the same level.

Here is my advice on the politics (he's now 11 and I've been through some):

1. Keep the group small - 2-4 kids is ideal
2. Make it known that you're not a coach and not instructing the other kids, but the sessions are to hit extra balls and get some exercise
3. Don't except payment of any kind, even court fees

Do this and you should be fine. Excepting fees and holding big groups at the same time/place as an establish pro/program is bound to ruffle some feathers. No reason to do this unless you want to be in business.

sureshs 01-07-2014 11:02 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by BMC9670 (Post 7997964)
Excepting fees and holding big groups at the same time/place as an establish pro/program is bound to ruffle some features.

You are a software engineer, aren't you?

BMC9670 01-07-2014 11:04 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by sureshs (Post 7997984)
You are a software engineer, aren't you?

Oops, darn auto-spill!:)

LuckyR 01-07-2014 11:27 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by sureshs (Post 7997957)
If the courts are public, it is OK as long as the posted rules of the city permit for-profit coaching by coaches not registered with the city. Even otherwise it should be OK, unless someone complains about it when they can't find an empty court or find the noise or the balls coming over to be distracting.

If these are club courts, club policies may not allow such coaching by persons who are not club coaches.

What he said.

Micalzon 01-07-2014 12:10 PM

Thanks for everyone's input. The courts are owned by the school district and are free to the public after 4:30 during the school year. They have no policy against using the courts for lessons but they are first come, first serve but there are plenty to go around.

I've checked into other courts and they are either very scruffy or belong to neighborhood HOA's that I don't belong to.

The group is very small (4 kids total) and are all under 7 years old. I am accepting a small fee ($50/month for biweekly lessons) just to help us use better training equipment. It's almost more like a co-op lessons as I'll be using all the funds to pay for the training. I'm hoping to have enough for a ball machine to use with the kids when they're a bit older, so it is definately not really a "for profit" endevour.

I appreciate your input.

BMC9670 01-07-2014 12:31 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Micalzon (Post 7998127)
Thanks for everyone's input. The courts are owned by the school district and are free to the public after 4:30 during the school year. They have no policy against using the courts for lessons but they are first come, first serve but there are plenty to go around.

I've checked into other courts and they are either very scruffy or belong to neighborhood HOA's that I don't belong to.

The group is very small (4 kids total) and are all under 7 years old. I am accepting a small fee ($50/month for biweekly lessons) just to help us use better training equipment. It's almost more like a co-op lessons as I'll be using all the funds to pay for the training. I'm hoping to have enough for a ball machine to use with the kids when they're a bit older, so it is definately not really a "for profit" endevour.

I appreciate your input.

Profit or not, if you accept payment, you are in business. Not that that's a bad thing, but may have implications - taxes, insurance, etc. I know one guy who got a recreational coaching certificate just to have the liability insurance that it came with.

counterfeit25 01-07-2014 01:07 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by BMC9670 (Post 7998170)
Profit or not, if you accept payment, you are in business.

For tax purposes, this is not true, according to the IRS website. As long as your lessons qualify as a "hobby", as opposed to a "business".
http://www.irs.gov/uac/Business-or-H...for-Deductions

"Generally, an activity qualifies as a business if it is carried on with the reasonable expectation of earning a profit."

"The IRS presumes that an activity is carried on for profit if it makes a profit during at least three of the last five tax years, including the current year"

So it is possible to classify your tennis lessons as a "hobby" for tax purposes, if it meets the IRS guidelines. Not sure about the insurance policy though.

sureshs 01-07-2014 01:09 PM

^^^ Good point. Even if the tax implications are mild (who is going to tell on him?), the liability issue is a good point. I guess if you don't accept money, that issue kind of goes away.

If the money is used for balls etc., it might be better to ask some other parent to collect it as a donation so it becomes a group effort.

Bobby Jr 01-07-2014 01:09 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Micalzon (Post 7998127)
The group is very small (4 kids total) and are all under 7 years old. I am accepting a small fee ($50/month for biweekly lessons) ...

You charge $50 for two lessons a month? Man, that's good money.

Topspin Shot 01-07-2014 01:12 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Bobby Jr (Post 7998256)
You charge $50 for two lessons a month? Man, that's good money.

Biweekly can also mean twice a week. OP, what does it mean in your case?

Ballinbob 01-07-2014 01:13 PM

Almost positive he means twice a week since he wants his kid to hit more

Bobby Jr 01-07-2014 01:39 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Topspin Shot (Post 7998262)
Biweekly can also mean twice a week. OP, what does it mean in your case?

No, it can not, except in cases of common misuse. Bi-weekly means every second week in the same way bimonthly or biannually always means every second month/year.

Twice a week would be "twice weekly."

TCF 01-07-2014 01:59 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Bobby Jr (Post 7998319)
No, it can not, except in cases of common misuse. Bi-weekly means every second week in the same way bimonthly or biannually always means every second month/year.

Twice a week would be "twice weekly."

Mr. Webster does not agree:

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/biweekly

Nor does Wikipedia:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biweekly

Topspin Shot 01-07-2014 02:55 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by TCF (Post 7998364)

Bobby's actually got a point. Technically, biweekly should be every two weeks, and semiweekly should be twice a week. But common use has led to biweekly getting both meanings.

Avles 01-07-2014 04:22 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Topspin Shot (Post 7998468)
Bobby's actually got a point. Technically, biweekly should be every two weeks, and semiweekly should be twice a week. But common use has led to biweekly getting both meanings.

I'm not sure this is true. The earliest printed occurrence I can find for "bi-weekly" (from 1800) appears to mean "twice a week." (It's in Farrar's Life of Christ, page 326, footnote 1, referring to the fact that the Pharisees would fast on both Monday and Thursday).

It's tidier and less ambiguous to say "semi-weekly" for twice a week and "bi-weekly" for every two weeks but I don't think that was ever the rule, or the universal practice.

[/pedantry]

mightyrick 01-07-2014 05:36 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Avles (Post 7998601)
It's tidier and less ambiguous to say "semi-weekly" for twice a week and "bi-weekly" for every two weeks but I don't think that was ever the rule, or the universal practice.

I think it's less ambiguous to just say, "You should do X every two weeks." Or. "You should do X twice per week."

Are we really that pressed for time these days that we can't use an extra word or two ensure that we're properly understood?


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