Originally Posted by Micalzon
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.