Episode:#42 Shaun Boyce, Ben Hestley, Kenyon Generette-Oliver, and Seth Redelheim

In this episode we talk to three Certified tennis coaches running summer tennis camps in metro Atlanta. Some have more sports than just tennis which has a larger appeal and one points out his secret summer camp weapon which may or may not be a giant water slide. We break down the do’s and don’t’s of offering tennis camps, share some insider secrets for those already offering or considering to offer summer camps next year, and of course some advice for parents shopping summer camps for your kids.

Watch the video: https://youtu.be/nsqti3bu1HM?si=GGHM94WXzPFhNxML

Shaun Boyce USPTA: [email protected]

https://tennisforchildren.com/ 🎾

Bobby Schindler USPTA: [email protected]

https://windermerecommunity.net/ 🎾

Geovanna Boyce: [email protected]

https://regeovinate.com/ πŸ’ͺπŸΌπŸ‹οΈ

This podcast is powered by GoTennis! Atlanta: Membership has its privileges πŸ€œπŸΌπŸŽΎπŸ€›πŸΌ

🏠 https://letsgotennis.com/

🫢 https://letsgotennis.com/join/

https://shop.letsgotennis.com/ πŸ‘ŸπŸ‘œ

πŸ’° https://letsgotennis.com/deals/

https://letsgotennis.com/podcast/ πŸŽ™οΈπŸŽ§

https://www.facebook.com/gotennisatlanta

https://www.instagram.com/gotennisatlanta/

https://www.youtube.com/@atlantatennispodcast

Do you want to read about some good things going on in the world of tennis?

https://letsgotennis.com/stories/ πŸ”₯πŸͺ‘

Check out our GoTennis! Atlanta Facebook page for deals, updates, events, podcasts, news, stories, coach profiles, club information, and more https://bit.ly/gt_facebook_page

Also, you can support this show (and save some $) by shopping at πŸ€‘https://letsgotennis.com/deals/πŸ€‘

Or, donate directly HERE

Want to get into crypto? This is easy: https://www.coinbase.com/join/boyce_3s?src=ios-link

Want donate with Bitcoin? Here’s the address: 3EqTU1gQBLoieMeFLC1BQgCUajPpPMCgwB

Considering your own podcast? We (obviously) recommend Captivate: This podcast is hosted by Captivate, try it yourself for free.

Transcript
Speaker:

[MUSIC]

Speaker:

Welcome to the Atlanta Tennis Podcast.

Speaker:

Every episode is titled, It Starts With Tennis and Goes From There.

Speaker:

We talk with coaches, club managers, industry business professionals,

Speaker:

technology experts, and anyone else we find interesting.

Speaker:

We want to have a conversation as long as it starts with tennis.

Speaker:

[MUSIC]

Speaker:

Hey, hey, this is Shaun with the Atlanta Tennis Podcast,

Speaker:

powered by GoTennis!

Speaker:

Check out our calendar of Metro Atlanta tennis events at LetsGoTennis.com,

Speaker:

where you can also find deals on equipment, apparel, and members get 10% off our shop.

Speaker:

So go get yourself an Atlanta tennis monster's shirt,

Speaker:

or even the Danil Medvedev Lacoste shoes; 25% off for paid members.

Speaker:

In this episode, we talked to three certified tennis coaches running summer camps in Metro Atlanta.

Speaker:

Some have more sports than just tennis, which has a larger appeal,

Speaker:

and one points out his secret summer camp weapon, which may or may not be a giant water slide.

Speaker:

We break down the dos and don'ts of offering summer tennis camps,

Speaker:

share some insider secrets for those already offering,

Speaker:

or considering to offer summer camps next year.

Speaker:

And of course, some advice for parents shopping summer camps for your kids.

Speaker:

Have a listen and let us know what you think.

Speaker:

[MUSIC]

Speaker:

Thanks guys for being here.

Speaker:

I really appreciate it, and we will jump right in because today

Speaker:

we have the brainchild of Ben Hestley, which I think in the Atlanta area,

Speaker:

if you've ever heard that name, there have been a few things that we can consider as the brainchild of Ben Hestley.

Speaker:

But in this case, it is what we're calling the summer camp tennis roundtable,

Speaker:

or the tennis summer camp roundtable.

Speaker:

We're going to put all those words in some order that's going to make sense, but our roundtable.

Speaker:

So we've got Ben Hestley with Bullshark Sports.

Speaker:

We've got Seth at Laurel Springs and Kenyan with UTA.

Speaker:

And we're going to talk about their experiences this past summer.

Speaker:

We're going to try to give some advice.

Speaker:

We're going to try to give some ideas as to what's happened.

Speaker:

I really need to know what a couple of these games are that Ben's going to talk about.

Speaker:

So I'm going to start with him because he's got something called Kiffelball.

Speaker:

And I thought it was a typo, but I'm going to check this out.

Speaker:

So as always, my name is Sean with Go Tennis and the Atlanta tennis podcast.

Speaker:

And Ben Hestley is with Bullshark Sports.

Speaker:

You're a strong proponent of multi-sport summer camps.

Speaker:

We're all tennis guys, but the multi-sport summer camp, I think, is having a great run.

Speaker:

And it's got a bigger appeal.

Speaker:

And at some point, you've got to tell me what Kiffelball is and capture the ball.

Speaker:

You said that's a-- that might be a game we all already know.

Speaker:

You just got a unique name for it, but I got to know what that is.

Speaker:

But assuming there's space at the camp location for multiple sports,

Speaker:

you mentioned the balance-- well, I want to ask about the balance.

Speaker:

You mentioned not being babysitting, but also being flexible.

Speaker:

You got to understand the kids and understand what they want and need.

Speaker:

What I want from you is, can you talk about balancing that, whether it's not babysitting,

Speaker:

but also the flexibility, not being so flexible that you end up babysitting?

Speaker:

All right.

Speaker:

Yeah, I think, you know, when you have a summer camp, the people come for different reasons.

Speaker:

Right?

Speaker:

Especially in my camp, I run a tennis and sports camp.

Speaker:

I've been lucky at Brocklipp Woods Beach Club to have a--

Speaker:

we have a huge field in the back of our facility.

Speaker:

So that lends itself easily to have soccer, wiffleball, baseball.

Speaker:

I'll talk about capture the ball a little bit.

Speaker:

We could do a whole camp on capture the ball.

Speaker:

We play ultimate-- ultimate with Frisbee has been coming a really, really popular sport in recent years.

Speaker:

And so we do that as part of our camp.

Speaker:

And so the field lends itself for a couple things.

Speaker:

One, it gives us more flexibility to have more sports than just playing kickball.

Speaker:

All on a tennis court, which I do at some facilities that don't have a field in the back.

Speaker:

You just have courts.

Speaker:

So we have that flexibility that also allows us to utilize the club while other members are

Speaker:

using the club.

Speaker:

You know, I always talk to my kids a lot.

Speaker:

And they learn this in our camps is that the-- about their awareness and being aware of their

Speaker:

surroundings and other people's surroundings.

Speaker:

And you know, tennis is one of those weird sports where you often come on a court with

Speaker:

a group of kids and you may be playing right next to a group of ladies playing out the match.

Speaker:

And how are you going to keep your kids controlled and corralled and focused and not acting crazy

Speaker:

while they're trying to focus on their match?

Speaker:

You know, if you go to a soccer game, they're all playing soccer.

Speaker:

Like everybody's playing soccer.

Speaker:

It's all kids are running scream.

Speaker:

And nobody cares if they're running and screaming because you don't have four adults over

Speaker:

here trying to play a tennis match.

Speaker:

And tennis, you have that.

Speaker:

So we have to naturally teach these kids how to be respectful and be responsible for

Speaker:

their surroundings.

Speaker:

And with the field, the field just gives us a chance to do something else other than tennis.

Speaker:

And so it gives them a more sports experience, but also gives the club members a chance to

Speaker:

utilize their facility.

Speaker:

I don't feel like they're getting interrupted by the summer camps.

Speaker:

It's a really nice balance, a really good relationship that we built with the beach club.

Speaker:

But as far as not being a babysitting camp and back to like everybody does come to camp

Speaker:

for a different reason.

Speaker:

And you come because you're a really good tennis player and you want to continue to play tennis.

Speaker:

Maybe you want to come because you really like sports.

Speaker:

And I find with sports camps, you either come for one or two reasons.

Speaker:

You either love sports, so you want to do more sports.

Speaker:

Or you don't like sports.

Speaker:

And so mom puts you in camp, so hopefully you'll hit some kind of bug and you'll love sports,

Speaker:

right?

Speaker:

So you got two into the spectrum.

Speaker:

I got this super athletic kid who loves playing sports.

Speaker:

And I got this other kid who would rather be playing video games than sitting in the air conditioning.

Speaker:

Okay.

Speaker:

So how do we bridge those two?

Speaker:

And I think how to not be in a babysit camp is all comes down to your character and your

Speaker:

culture that you teach.

Speaker:

And so from right from the day one, one of the biggest things that we do, number one, we

Speaker:

have a character word every day and we try to live by that character word.

Speaker:

Monday, all the kids know I've accounted my camps.

Speaker:

Monday is responsibility.

Speaker:

And we talk about being responsible for your water bottle.

Speaker:

At my camps, there's no lunch.

Speaker:

You have to bring your own lunch.

Speaker:

So you have to bring your own water.

Speaker:

I do have water, like a big water cooler that you can refill during the day, but you know,

Speaker:

you bring your own water bottle.

Speaker:

So your own water bottle, your own lunch, your racket, your stuff, your sunscreen, you have

Speaker:

to put on your, we don't put something for liability reasons.

Speaker:

I don't put sunscreen on children, but they need to be responsible to learn how to put,

Speaker:

learn how to put something.

Speaker:

I mean, I have kids who have to teach how to put sunscreen on, you know, because they've

Speaker:

never done themselves.

Speaker:

And so teaching them that character piece and in the in culture, walking them in, you

Speaker:

know, carry your own bag.

Speaker:

You know, I mean, the tongue and cheek thing, I always say on my own son, who's 11 is I

Speaker:

say, you know, I'm your daddy, not your caddy, you know, so you carry your own bag, carry

Speaker:

your own stuff, bring it into the facility, put it where it's supposed to be.

Speaker:

And so we kind of set the tone right away every day that, you know, helping the kids have

Speaker:

some sort of self reliance to do things.

Speaker:

And I think whether they're there because they need to play sports or they're there because

Speaker:

they love sports, everybody can get around the fact that they're there to play sports.

Speaker:

That would be better people.

Speaker:

And I think all of us as tennis coaches, if we talk more probably about, you know, whether

Speaker:

we look back at our best coaches, we've ever had our favorite coaches, we think more about

Speaker:

how they influence us as people more than they did teaching us forehand's back ends.

Speaker:

Yeah, that makes me think of Dave Matthews and think Kenyan brought that up earlier and

Speaker:

Dave Matthews was for me that coach that really affected me as a person.

Speaker:

And we had those conversations when I was younger.

Speaker:

Are you seeing the same experience at Laurel Springs where the kids are wanting to be there,

Speaker:

but sometimes you got one that's coordinated, one that's not, and the multi sport camp helps

Speaker:

you set?

Speaker:

Absolutely.

Speaker:

I mean, as an H.O.A. facility, we pull from the neighborhood, we want to get as many kids

Speaker:

as we can locally.

Speaker:

And we also, you know, we invite non-residents and we tell them, bring your friends and

Speaker:

all that, but it does come down to having the space.

Speaker:

And I think as an H.O.A. facility, we also have a playground in a basketball court and

Speaker:

a soccer field and, you know, we have those facilities to use.

Speaker:

So it does come in really handy.

Speaker:

So for the part of the pitch for us was that we were going to be able to use the clubhouse.

Speaker:

We were going to be able to use the basketball court and all that stuff.

Speaker:

So it was, and pickleball as well.

Speaker:

I mean, so those facilities existed when we didn't want them to just sit there all summer

Speaker:

long.

Speaker:

Oh man, we're five minutes in.

Speaker:

We've already said the word pickleball.

Speaker:

Kenyan, what's your experience?

Speaker:

As far as the summer came for us, it's been different at times because we have so many different

Speaker:

facilities and the different facilities give us different access to different things.

Speaker:

But for us at Blackburn is our number one place.

Speaker:

And it's because on Fridays, we have two water slides.

Speaker:

So we have two huge water slides that literally these kids go bananas over every single Friday.

Speaker:

We also rent a Kona Ice Machine every single Friday.

Speaker:

So those are the days that are just just bananas.

Speaker:

But each facility offers a different thing.

Speaker:

And in that case, you could bring in the water slide.

Speaker:

I think Ben just took a note.

Speaker:

He's like, water slide next year.

Speaker:

We have a double our participation.

Speaker:

We have donut Friday, but I think I just got the upgrade now.

Speaker:

Yeah, the upgrade by the Kona Ice.

Speaker:

I think I can be able to transition from water balloons and popsicles to water slides.

Speaker:

We can all upgrade.

Speaker:

Exactly.

Speaker:

All right, Ben, Kiffelball, what is this?

Speaker:

Yeah, so this kind of circle is back actually to the balancing the kid that may not want

Speaker:

to be there versus the kid that really, really wants to be there.

Speaker:

And then all the kids in between.

Speaker:

So every week at our camp on Friday or whatever the last day is, we do what we call camp connections.

Speaker:

And it's just a reflection piece.

Speaker:

We get all the kids together, whether they're six years old or 12 years old.

Speaker:

And we talk.

Speaker:

We talk about, and how the process works is.

Speaker:

I'll bring sticky notes and the kids have to write one word or short phrase of something they

Speaker:

either really enjoyed about camp or something that they learned.

Speaker:

And usually they write down all the games we play, like their favorite game, champs of

Speaker:

the court or up the river down the river or roll the dice or card shark or kickball or

Speaker:

Kiffelball, capture the ball, whatever.

Speaker:

Sometimes they'll write the character piece, sometimes they'll write meeting new friends,

Speaker:

sometimes they'll have having lunch with Billy.

Speaker:

That was my favorite part of the week.

Speaker:

So what we talk about, they put on a sticky note, we stick them on a board, and then we talk

Speaker:

about the things they enjoyed about camp and what they really get out of it.

Speaker:

And then we talk about why they like that.

Speaker:

And every single week, when we talk about why they like Kiffelball and why they like capture

Speaker:

the ball is the inclusivity of those games.

Speaker:

Tennis, unfortunately, is exclusive in a lot of ways, right?

Speaker:

It very, very, very much is level based.

Speaker:

You know, we have modified balls, modified equipment, but it's level based, right?

Speaker:

I mean, the red ball kids are not playing the same games.

Speaker:

The orange ball kids are the yellow ball kids, right?

Speaker:

The yellow kids, sorry, the younger kids have to play on a smaller court.

Speaker:

They should be playing on a smaller court.

Speaker:

I'm not arguing that, but they play on a smaller space and they're like, "Hey, these bigger

Speaker:

kids get more space, they get bigger space."

Speaker:

So it's not fair in a lot of ways and it can be quite exclusive, unfortunately.

Speaker:

But games like capture the ball, Kiffelball, everyone plays.

Speaker:

And they're inclusive.

Speaker:

And so that's what the kids like about it.

Speaker:

So a six year old can be on the same team as a 12 year old.

Speaker:

A kid who all he likes to do is play Fortnite and sit in the air conditioning all day is now

Speaker:

playing a Kiffelball on the same team as a kid who plays travel baseball.

Speaker:

Okay.

Speaker:

At some point, you're going to describe to me what the play is because now you have to know.

Speaker:

So Kiffelball is very simple.

Speaker:

So Kiffelball is kickball.

Speaker:

My thing, I don't think my, one of my firm beliefs as a coach and as a human being and as

Speaker:

a parent is that no kid should go through childhood without knowing how to play kickball.

Speaker:

I mean, you just, I mean, it is sad today that they don't.

Speaker:

They do not.

Speaker:

And I can tell you that part of our camp, we coach kickball.

Speaker:

Like we coach them how to play kickball.

Speaker:

You know, how do you coach kickball?

Speaker:

I'm not giving kickball lessons, by the way, but come to camp and learn about kickball.

Speaker:

So Kiffelball started because it's willful ball and kickball, right?

Speaker:

So hitting a baseball is probably the hardest skill athletic skill there is, right?

Speaker:

And then we do it for several podcasts, the people won't argue that, but hitting a baseball

Speaker:

is probably super hard.

Speaker:

It is probably the most difficult, sorry, the most difficult athletic skill there is.

Speaker:

So imagine if you're seven, you don't like sports, you're only there because mom's

Speaker:

there.

Speaker:

You played a little bit of soccer.

Speaker:

And here you're in front of 25 other kids trying to hit a wiffle ball with a little stick.

Speaker:

It's not going to go very well.

Speaker:

So Kiffelball is balances, really what I always say is the baseball kids, softball kids and

Speaker:

the soccer kids.

Speaker:

So if you can hit a baseball and you can hit a wiffle ball, you can pick up the bat and swing

Speaker:

and hit the wiffle ball.

Speaker:

If you don't want to do that and you want to kick the ball, then I'll roll you a kickball

Speaker:

and you kick the ball.

Speaker:

So every person that comes to bat has a choice.

Speaker:

They can either use the bat and hit a wiffle ball or they can choose to use the kickball.

Speaker:

And I know I'm always the, or me or one of my staff is one of the all time pitchers.

Speaker:

And so we rolled in the kickball.

Speaker:

You can switch during your bat.

Speaker:

So if you get two strikes on you and you want to, oh man, I might swing and miss the third

Speaker:

and not get on base, just give me the kickball, I'll roll the kickball.

Speaker:

And there's a whole strategy that comes behind and the kids start talking about, well you

Speaker:

can kick the ball farther than you can hit it, but you can hit it farther than you can kick

Speaker:

it or whatever the case may be.

Speaker:

So that's Kiffle Ball, pretty simple game.

Speaker:

They're a tag off of kickball.

Speaker:

Kickball with a ball.

Speaker:

Capture the ball in the other hand is the kid's absolute favorites game.

Speaker:

And it is the most inclusive game that we have.

Speaker:

Every kid gets into it and these kids can be dog tired, ready to go and I'll say, hey guys,

Speaker:

we're going to play capture the ball for 20 minutes and they all get jacked up.

Speaker:

So we play in the field at the beach club, behind the courts.

Speaker:

And capture the ball is, we've all heard of capture the flag, right?

Speaker:

Capture the ball is, takes it to a different level.

Speaker:

All right, and I'll actually credit my son for coming up with this.

Speaker:

I think Turner actually invented this game or he found somebody who did and he's now taking

Speaker:

credit for it either way.

Speaker:

He's the one introduced it to me.

Speaker:

I roll it out.

Speaker:

We tried a few times at camp and it was a hit and it's been stable for us ever since.

Speaker:

So you divide the kids up in a two teams.

Speaker:

You split the field in half.

Speaker:

So you have like this midline of cones that go through the split the field in half.

Speaker:

Each team takes their balls, a kickball.

Speaker:

Each team takes their ball and puts it at their end of their respective field.

Speaker:

They're their respective into the field.

Speaker:

And then you say go and they go at it.

Speaker:

And so you run across and if you get tagged, you have to go back to your side and some

Speaker:

versions of capture the flag that make you run all the way back to your flag.

Speaker:

If you get tagged, I just make them go back across the midline.

Speaker:

That's way too much running because just feel by the way as like 80 yards.

Speaker:

It's a pretty big field.

Speaker:

It's a summer camp.

Speaker:

In a summer camp, it's hot.

Speaker:

So they just have to go back across the midline.

Speaker:

But with the ball versus the flag, you can, once you pick the ball up from your opponent's

Speaker:

area, you can, you run with it, then you can pass it.

Speaker:

You can even kick it.

Speaker:

And so you can, as long as the ball doesn't touch the ground, if the ball touches the ground,

Speaker:

if the runner falls down, I don't want kids diving on each other.

Speaker:

So if the runner falls down, the ball's dead.

Speaker:

It goes back to where it came from.

Speaker:

If the ball's dropped or hits the ground anytime, it's dead and it goes back and that keeps

Speaker:

the game flowing.

Speaker:

So one strategy that the kids came up with this summer, because what happens a lot of time,

Speaker:

we have a 10-foot radius.

Speaker:

You have to stay keep to a 10-foot radius around the ball when you're guarding the ball.

Speaker:

So they would run in and get quickly tagged, right?

Speaker:

So that happens a lot for several minutes.

Speaker:

And then what a lot of kids figured out this summer is they would run in.

Speaker:

And this was very incredible.

Speaker:

All right.

Speaker:

I think it's an 8 to 11-year-olds doing this.

Speaker:

One kid sprints in, pooch kicks the ball up in the air.

Speaker:

The other kid runs down the field, catches it, and then runs across.

Speaker:

And that's the way they figured out how to get the ball across the goal.

Speaker:

Haven't we already invented this game?

Speaker:

Isn't this called rugby?

Speaker:

Yeah, isn't it pretty much rugby?

Speaker:

Yeah, pretty much.

Speaker:

We can't tackle it.

Speaker:

It's more like touch rugby.

Speaker:

Okay, okay.

Speaker:

But yeah, oh, so when they do get the ball, several of the fly, they just have to run

Speaker:

across the midline.

Speaker:

They don't have to go all the way back to their fly.

Speaker:

Gotcha.

Speaker:

And that's captured the ball.

Speaker:

That's a simple gaming concept, but one thing to kids like about it and the coaches like is

Speaker:

it's inclusive.

Speaker:

Everyone plays.

Speaker:

Because some kids are really good at defense.

Speaker:

And like you will see an 8-year-old actually just hunt down a 12-year-old and tag this kid.

Speaker:

Where at what other game could they actually, could a 8-year-old actually compete on equal

Speaker:

level with a 12-year-old?

Speaker:

You know, it's not many games like this.

Speaker:

So that's where it captured the ball is.

Speaker:

It's captured the flag with the ball and it's simple in concept, but the kids love it.

Speaker:

It's super fun.

Speaker:

They ask, we almost play it every day because they love it.

Speaker:

It's so much fun.

Speaker:

And I love that the longest conversation we've had about a specific game during our summer

Speaker:

camp so far has not been a tennis game.

Speaker:

And that's a good thing.

Speaker:

I think that makes a lot of sense because I have tried to come up with different ways

Speaker:

to make tennis summer camps interesting.

Speaker:

And it's hard and it's expensive because tennis coaches are expensive.

Speaker:

But if you go out there and you're playing some kickball style games, even if it's pretty

Speaker:

much just rugby, rugby plus capture the flag, I love it.

Speaker:

And kiffle ball the same thing.

Speaker:

Let's keep it inclusive.

Speaker:

Let's let the kids that aren't the ones that are obviously going to be the most athletic

Speaker:

or the most coordinated dominate the other kids.

Speaker:

And then you end up having that older kid mentor the younger kids.

Speaker:

As a team, they help each other.

Speaker:

And I think that's good.

Speaker:

I love that a lot.

Speaker:

And if we look at that, you said the eight-year-old Ben going after the 12-year-old, we're looking

Speaker:

at summer camps less so in the way of a tennis summer camp that I remember back as a kid

Speaker:

feeling like I was the youngest one when I was 12.

Speaker:

And everybody else was 16, 17, 18.

Speaker:

But I think that was more targeted toward the tennis player.

Speaker:

I was down at Emory or somewhere down there where the colleges run a camp.

Speaker:

Maybe more for elite players.

Speaker:

I want to turn to Seth and ask, you said you trended younger this year.

Speaker:

And I assume that isn't because you were expecting high-level academy players coming to your

Speaker:

summer camp.

Speaker:

You mean younger as eight-year-olds versus 12-year-olds is what I'm guessing.

Speaker:

My question is, do you think you can create, and this is a phrase I'm trying to find out if

Speaker:

it's a real thing, can you generate stronger multi-year camper retention?

Speaker:

Is that a thing?

Speaker:

Can you generate stronger multi-year- camper retention with more sports than just tennis?

Speaker:

As Ben's talking about, you can bring some of these kids in.

Speaker:

Tennis, a high-skill sport, and the beginners are going to struggle to get involved.

Speaker:

You can run up and kick a ball.

Speaker:

You don't have to be a great soccer player to be able to do that.

Speaker:

But you can take these kids with more sports as you've done with your red zone summer sports

Speaker:

camps at Laurel Springs.

Speaker:

Does that also help kids stay interested in tennis longer?

Speaker:

Or even maybe bring that kickball only kid over to tennis?

Speaker:

Well, I mean, I think the multi-sport training for athletes in that age is absolutely essential.

Speaker:

I think that you've got to get Ben said.

Speaker:

If you can't kick a ball, good luck hitting it with a baseball bat or a tennis racket or

Speaker:

anything else.

Speaker:

I mean, the spacing and the coordination need to do that is very important.

Speaker:

For us, because red zone just took over at Laurel Springs in January, we had sort of a very

Speaker:

short run-up to get these summer camps off the ground and even launching into our spring

Speaker:

tennis sessions.

Speaker:

We had sort of low numbers in the first spring session and it built into the second session.

Speaker:

But by summer, we were promoting a ton just to get players, you know, just to get people

Speaker:

on the rosters.

Speaker:

So I think for a lot of the kids, before red zone took over at Laurel Springs, there

Speaker:

was a pretty big gap.

Speaker:

There was almost six months of no programming at all.

Speaker:

There was some contentious things that happened and sort of the position sat empty for a while.

Speaker:

And so we lost a lot of our high-level players.

Speaker:

And I think, you know, and can you come probably speak to that too, where the UTA model does direct

Speaker:

itself toward tennis.

Speaker:

We have a lot of players at Laurel Springs that are up at James Creek a lot, you know?

Speaker:

But I think that also was for us, we used summer camp as a way to introduce ourselves to a lot

Speaker:

more neighborhood kids.

Speaker:

And so it wasn't just tennis.

Speaker:

It was about getting anybody and everybody to come and meet us and meet the coaches and

Speaker:

see the program, see what we had done to the facility.

Speaker:

We made a lot of changes in the pro shop and on the courts and a lot of what we thought

Speaker:

were improvements.

Speaker:

And so that was really, it was a way for us to introduce ourselves.

Speaker:

So I think we pitched it to the beginner crowd and we, you know, no experience necessary

Speaker:

and all of those kinds of things are very inclusive and very welcoming.

Speaker:

And so that's also why I think we chose the multi-sport model.

Speaker:

It brought in a lot more players for us.

Speaker:

So you were starting almost in an under new management banner where Ben was more established.

Speaker:

I think you were in your third or fourth year.

Speaker:

So you've been doing it a little while.

Speaker:

I think UTA has been around for thousands of years at this point.

Speaker:

And did you, Kenyan, see the same thing?

Speaker:

But well, now that I say that, you wouldn't have seen the same thing.

Speaker:

Having been around for thousands of years, you wouldn't see the new management, all right,

Speaker:

come try us out.

Speaker:

You guys are a little more tried and true.

Speaker:

What do you see when something like Laurel Springs has that vacuum there?

Speaker:

Do you see the higher level kids come to you?

Speaker:

I would think so as an academy and being able to offer that.

Speaker:

Do you also see the younger beginners coming in as well?

Speaker:

Let me attack it from this point of view.

Speaker:

So we've been around for a little over 25 years now.

Speaker:

But we owned a club for a long time.

Speaker:

So anything that we've pushed on has been new.

Speaker:

So we've had to kind of reinvent ourselves as well.

Speaker:

So anytime that we've gone to Horseshoe Bend or something like that, Horseshoe Bend has been

Speaker:

a lot easier to do a sports camp because there's golf there, there's a pool there, and there's

Speaker:

tennis courts there.

Speaker:

So we reinvented ourselves in a situation like that where that's not something that was our

Speaker:

model before.

Speaker:

We've done the neighborhood thing as well where there's just four tennis courts and that's

Speaker:

all we had access to.

Speaker:

So we were going to do our summer camp from nine to twelve because it just made sense.

Speaker:

So every single model that we've had is going to present a different picture.

Speaker:

This Agnes Sky thing has been a completely different thing from me, but it's been awesome

Speaker:

because in the sense that we're on a college campus.

Speaker:

So a lot of things that we do a lot of times, we'll go on a nature walk, believe it or not.

Speaker:

Now I'm not doing that, but I've got someone that's doing it.

Speaker:

But they love just taking that hour off the tennis court and just walking around.

Speaker:

You brought up the point of is it trending with younger kids?

Speaker:

We oddly, we're trending with older kids.

Speaker:

We're starting to get a lot of twelve, thirteen, fourteen, fifteen-year-olds that really have

Speaker:

never played.

Speaker:

They're the hardest to kind of group because they don't want to be with the kids they really

Speaker:

should be with because they've never really played.

Speaker:

So they've got the skill set of eight, nine-year-old, ten-year-old, but they don't really want

Speaker:

to be with them.

Speaker:

So we've had a lot of, I don't know, if COVID brought that on, but we've got a lot of kids

Speaker:

that really haven't played any sports at all.

Speaker:

And then they're coming in and wanting to play at twelve, thirteen, fourteen, fifteen and

Speaker:

trying to house those kids together.

Speaker:

And that's been an odd thing because as an athlete, it's hard to see a kid that's never really

Speaker:

played sports literally at all come to a summer camp and finding them to want to love a sport

Speaker:

has been actually the most rewarding thing.

Speaker:

I think we've probably done in the past, say, three, four years for me.

Speaker:

That is fascinating because we're seeing the same thing.

Speaker:

I look at my wife often and I say, "I'm not quite sure what's going on here, but maybe

Speaker:

it's just something that's going to happen."

Speaker:

We look at tennis, especially in the United States, is kind of the sixth or seventh sport.

Speaker:

So the kids start with football, baseball, basketball, whatever those starting sports are.

Speaker:

And if they're good at it, they pretty much stick with it.

Speaker:

They never get to tennis.

Speaker:

What I think is happening is there's a little bit of, and I'm not sure if I should say this,

Speaker:

there's a little bit of, "Okay, well my kid sucks it soccer.

Speaker:

My kid can't hit a ball with a stick."

Speaker:

He's a little, you know, in certain demographics, you got little or kids and other demographics,

Speaker:

you got bigger kids.

Speaker:

So my kid's never going to be a football player, so let's not do American football.

Speaker:

And then you go, "Okay, well my kid just wants to play video games.

Speaker:

He's not athletic at all."

Speaker:

So you got those kids.

Speaker:

And then all of a sudden they seem to call us.

Speaker:

And when I say yes, I'm talking about tennis for children, in my case, in my experience.

Speaker:

And we get this 11-year-old that either has never played any sport at all, which is fascinating

Speaker:

because we're sports guys.

Speaker:

We think that's what you do when you're two is you grab a ball and start throwing it at

Speaker:

people.

Speaker:

At least that's what my son's doing at 10 months old now.

Speaker:

But you have that kid that comes in that says, "Ah, yeah, maybe I played a little soccer."

Speaker:

You're like, "Okay, so you're super uncoordinated."

Speaker:

And now you're 13, and I really, like you were saying, "Kenyan, I should put you with

Speaker:

eight-year-olds because that's your skill set, but you're twice their size back to the question

Speaker:

with Seth.

Speaker:

You were trending younger.

Speaker:

Did you see that in the beginners where you had the more uncoordinated or the kids that weren't

Speaker:

good at the other sports just kind of falling into tennis?"

Speaker:

I know, I hope not.

Speaker:

I mean, I hope that's not, I don't want to be the backup sport for anybody.

Speaker:

And I think the skill set that it takes to become a good tennis player is sort of, I still

Speaker:

think, higher than some of these other sports.

Speaker:

But at the same time, I think that it's certainly something we've seen is that the kids are coming

Speaker:

in, can't jump rope, can't literally drop and kick a ball.

Speaker:

And certainly throwing and catching is the most important.

Speaker:

And that's something, I know, I'm going to steal it from Ben.

Speaker:

I mean, playing tennis is playing catch.

Speaker:

And if you can't track and catch a ball, good luck hitting it with a tennis racket.

Speaker:

And so some of those skills, like you said, we, that's second nature to us.

Speaker:

I mean, I feel the same way.

Speaker:

I feel like I've been throwing and catching a ball since I was three years old, but you do

Speaker:

see it more and more.

Speaker:

Which is also why I love getting somebody at 7, 8, 9 instead of 12 or 13.

Speaker:

It is very difficult at 12 to not only group them together, but then to also build those

Speaker:

skills even in an eight or 10 week session.

Speaker:

It's very tough to go from zero to even two or three on that scale.

Speaker:

And in that case, I think maybe we do trend toward the Bullshark Sports and Red Zone concept

Speaker:

where there is multi-sport.

Speaker:

Because just play catch.

Speaker:

Retail parents just all the time.

Speaker:

A parent comes up to me and says, well, why isn't my kid able to hit top spin yet?

Speaker:

He can hardly walk without falling over.

Speaker:

And you want him to have hang on.

Speaker:

This is a very specific skill and a very difficult skill.

Speaker:

I would guess baseball how long, through T ball and all the things before a kid can actually

Speaker:

throw a hit a ball with a stick that's thrown at them.

Speaker:

That's probably not just an easy thing to do for most kids.

Speaker:

He loves that one kid that can just whack the ball and be like, yep, keep him, right?

Speaker:

Don't lose him to the tennis guy.

Speaker:

But in this case, we have the camps that are bringing all those things together.

Speaker:

And aside from the giant water slide, which is brilliant, and I think we all wrote that

Speaker:

down, but not everybody's got the budget for the giant water slide or the liability insurance

Speaker:

in that case.

Speaker:

And in that, we look at how to bring these kids in and how to get not just the coordinated

Speaker:

ones, not just the tennis kids.

Speaker:

And we get the younger brothers and the younger sisters or even the older ones.

Speaker:

Sometimes it's the older ones.

Speaker:

But usually it's the example.

Speaker:

You got a kid in your UTA academy and he's banging balls and he's got the little brother that

Speaker:

he doesn't really love it.

Speaker:

Maybe that's not his thing.

Speaker:

Maybe he doesn't want to compete with the older brother, but he can come out and play a little

Speaker:

bit of kickball.

Speaker:

And he's going to do some tennis and see if he's kind of good at it.

Speaker:

But the multi-sport thing, I think, is really good.

Speaker:

From a UTA point of view, you've caught us up on some of your experience and I appreciate

Speaker:

that you reminded me that you probably do a lot of reinventing and personalizing programs

Speaker:

because you will show up as new management.

Speaker:

More often than I'd picture it just because UTA has been around for more than 25 years,

Speaker:

it isn't just that you've been doing that one thing and you show up and plug it in and

Speaker:

it works.

Speaker:

You really do need to know the demographic.

Speaker:

I can only imagine how different Agnes Scott is from Laurel Springs to the Beach Club,

Speaker:

which can't imagine why it's a Beach Club because there's no Beach there.

Speaker:

It doesn't make any sense to me.

Speaker:

But Kenyan, from the point of view of where you are and what you see, are you looking

Speaker:

to implement more of those multi-sport or is it just these two guys, Seth and Ben, that

Speaker:

are targeting that?

Speaker:

Does that become a UTA option besides just tennis and water slides?

Speaker:

Totally agree.

Speaker:

But Agnes Scott, so for next summer, we have access to more things starting next summer

Speaker:

at Agnes Scott, let's say.

Speaker:

So we'll have access to the indoor pool that they have.

Speaker:

We'll have access to the gym.

Speaker:

So we were able to do things even this past summer at Agnes Scott at the gym that we weren't

Speaker:

able to do before.

Speaker:

We didn't do pickleball, but we did a version of pickleball.

Speaker:

So, just things like when it would rain because normally when it rains at those kinds of

Speaker:

facilities, you have to cancel camp.

Speaker:

So we didn't have to cancel camp.

Speaker:

Those are huge things for us.

Speaker:

So we never had to dial it down.

Speaker:

We could always say that we were going to have camp.

Speaker:

For us, each facility is going to be different in what we are going to be able to do just based

Speaker:

on the land and what they have to offer.

Speaker:

And that's kind of the way that we've attacked it.

Speaker:

The good thing is Ben, where the Beach Club is really close to Agnes Scott.

Speaker:

So we share a lot of the same people.

Speaker:

So people that may have gone to his summer camp one week, they came to our camp the next

Speaker:

week in vice versa.

Speaker:

And we tend to pick up a lot of kids even from Drew Hills Country Club.

Speaker:

They might have done three weeks over there then they came over to us for a week or something

Speaker:

like that.

Speaker:

So we tend to do a lot of sharing in that neighborhood over there, but each one of us

Speaker:

presents something completely different and hopefully no one's bashing one another

Speaker:

on what they're doing because we can't offer what Drew Hills offers because they've got

Speaker:

golf, they've got a pool, they've got land and they've got the tennis courts.

Speaker:

And I think for the most part, they still have the basketball courts still.

Speaker:

They're able to do basketball over there as well.

Speaker:

So they've got all these different things that we just don't have at some of our facilities.

Speaker:

So that's why we try to reinvent what we're able to do.

Speaker:

And then we kind of get together at the end of the summer and say what was the success

Speaker:

and what wasn't.

Speaker:

Obviously, having the water slide, because we used to do that at Chastain, we of course brought

Speaker:

that over to Blackburn.

Speaker:

But this time we just added a second water slide, which was I think our biggest week,

Speaker:

we had 117 kids.

Speaker:

So if that kind of tells you what that week looked like, we had 117 kids with two water slides

Speaker:

and I'm not kidding you, it would take these kids an hour to get back up there to do it again

Speaker:

and they still wanted to do it.

Speaker:

So they would come down.

Speaker:

That's why I don't go to six flex.

Speaker:

Exactly.

Speaker:

So they would come down the water slide and it would take them that long to get back in

Speaker:

line again, to do it again.

Speaker:

Wow.

Speaker:

And in that case, the thing I heard, and it's funny how my brain works from a go

Speaker:

tennis point of view, and one of the reasons I love doing this podcast, and I like talking

Speaker:

to people like you because we've always had this zero sum game mentality, or we thought we

Speaker:

did in Atlanta where my camp kids are my camp kids and don't go to that guy and he's a bad

Speaker:

coach and you don't want the old crusty guy, you want me.

Speaker:

And there's been that competition.

Speaker:

There's been what I call the zero sum game in the tennis world.

Speaker:

And as I set out with Bobby and my wife and we said, hey, let's see if we can change some

Speaker:

of this culture where we're all on the same team and somebody calls me up and says, hey,

Speaker:

I'm in Swany, where should I go?

Speaker:

I want to be able to say, hey, you need to check out Laurel Springs or you need to check

Speaker:

out this place or that place because we're all on the same team because, and I love that

Speaker:

you said you and Ben are close to each other, but you're not necessarily fighting over

Speaker:

the kids. You're offering very different things and at some level, potentially even referring

Speaker:

somebody when they say, hey, Ben, that was great.

Speaker:

I really love the camp.

Speaker:

Is there another one we're looking to do different camps?

Speaker:

And he can say, yeah, yeah, call Kenyan.

Speaker:

And I love that about this kind of conversation because more and more people that we talk to

Speaker:

from a go tennis point of view and on the podcast, it is less of that competitive nature to be

Speaker:

able to say, yes, this is what we do.

Speaker:

The FDA does something different than Bullshark Sports and a little bit different from Red

Speaker:

Zone to where tennis for children, as an example, were a very niche thing and we don't need

Speaker:

to compete in those ways of saying, my kid is my kid.

Speaker:

And where I'm going with this is, I get the kids that come to me and they say, well, Couchon,

Speaker:

I'm going to a summer camp this summer and they want me to do this on the server.

Speaker:

They want me to do this on the forehand.

Speaker:

And I say, great, do it.

Speaker:

Well, that's not what you told me.

Speaker:

And I say, well, that's okay.

Speaker:

It's just a little bit different.

Speaker:

We're all trying to get you to the same place as opposed to, oh, no, no, that's bad.

Speaker:

And usually we don't get anything bad because most of the good coaches in the area were certified.

Speaker:

We know what we're doing.

Speaker:

We're not teaching anything ridiculous.

Speaker:

But to be able to compliment each other and say, no, he probably just thinks you're not

Speaker:

as good as you are.

Speaker:

You may know a little bit more.

Speaker:

Or in the other case, it was he may be starting you with something more advanced than we've

Speaker:

even gotten to together.

Speaker:

So for me to be able to say, go over to SES program.

Speaker:

He's probably going to say things differently.

Speaker:

But he's good.

Speaker:

He knows what he's doing.

Speaker:

He's going to take care of you.

Speaker:

He's going to make you a better tennis player.

Speaker:

And hopefully that retention of coming back because you get that you, Seth, I'm looking

Speaker:

over there as though the listener can see where I'm looking.

Speaker:

You, Seth, get to see that that retention.

Speaker:

We don't necessarily have the 28 courts or however many they've got at Blackburn to be able

Speaker:

to bring in 100 and 100 something kids for a camp that size.

Speaker:

And I think you were in the 30s.

Speaker:

I mean, you're looking at 30 kids per week, something like that.

Speaker:

Yeah, the most kids I had was 30.

Speaker:

I try to cap it in.

Speaker:

I cap my registration at 24 and then I'll allow, you know, sometimes that 24th person has

Speaker:

three kids and she's like, oh, you know, you're your first kid hit the deadline on the

Speaker:

registration.

Speaker:

So I'll let your other two kids get in.

Speaker:

I donate some camp weeks for charities and things and so I always tell them, I said, even

Speaker:

if we're full, I'll let you guys in.

Speaker:

So sometimes we grow to about 30 kids.

Speaker:

30 was the biggest, but we have to keep it small.

Speaker:

Now, I like to keep it small on purpose.

Speaker:

We give a little, you know, some individualized attention and make it more per each week is

Speaker:

a little bit different.

Speaker:

And that's the fun thing for me, but it has to be.

Speaker:

I mean, the beach club has the big field where you could do a hundred kid game of capture

Speaker:

the ball, but you also only have five tennis courts.

Speaker:

You also, you have a pool, but you're limited.

Speaker:

I mean, Lindmore and have 20 staff either.

Speaker:

I don't have 20 staff.

Speaker:

I mean, high school and college kids at a higher, literally on a weekly basis based on when

Speaker:

they're available.

Speaker:

So I don't, yeah, I just don't have the, it's a smaller, smaller facility and so we don't

Speaker:

have the capacity to hold that many kids.

Speaker:

All right.

Speaker:

And before I go to the King of Tennis question, which today on the podcast, I want to keep

Speaker:

it to Summer Camps.

Speaker:

I often ask that this King of Tennis question where we say, hey, if you were King of Tennis

Speaker:

anywhere, everywhere, just Atlanta, whatever it is, is there anything you would do or change?

Speaker:

What I'm going to ask these guys today is Summer Camp specific and I sprung this on them.

Speaker:

So they're going to have to, they're going to have to come up with something good, but

Speaker:

I've got another question that I want to let everybody chime in on, so to speak, because

Speaker:

the listener is often trying to figure out, we, we talking about Summer Camps.

Speaker:

All right.

Speaker:

Great.

Speaker:

Well, how do I find one?

Speaker:

Where do I go?

Speaker:

There's Parent Magazine, I think, does a big list and Alta's net news does a big list.

Speaker:

I want to find out from you, from each of you, how do you promote?

Speaker:

And in that case, what are you promoting?

Speaker:

How do you share with the parents to say, hey, we've got great Summer Camps.

Speaker:

Here's why.

Speaker:

And how do you get that message out, starting with, with you Seth, because you're probably,

Speaker:

actually, you know what, I'm not going to start with you because you're new in where you

Speaker:

are at Laurel Springs.

Speaker:

You may not even know the best ways yet to promote in that area.

Speaker:

I want to start with thousands of years of experience in UTA.

Speaker:

What do you guys do, Kenyan, to promote it?

Speaker:

And how would you share with the parent to say, maybe the best way to find a good Summer

Speaker:

Camp for their kid?

Speaker:

So we've always used Alta net news, so we've used that a ton.

Speaker:

So we've used Facebook, we've used Instagram, so those are all new things for us as the social

Speaker:

media thing.

Speaker:

But like Ben, we've always donated a ton of Summer Camps to the schools that a lot of our

Speaker:

kids go to.

Speaker:

So they could use them as auctions.

Speaker:

So that was another way that we could promote.

Speaker:

But then, as you know, a lot of these parents, they get anxiety driven.

Speaker:

They're ready to sign up for Summer Camp in January.

Speaker:

So we really have to have our stuff together by December and we're ready to go.

Speaker:

So we try to roll out as much stuff as we possibly can roll out in so many different ways.

Speaker:

But to be honest with you, our number one thing for getting Summer Camp kids has been

Speaker:

just getting a banner with the pole and sticking it in the ground.

Speaker:

I think we get more calls.

Speaker:

Yard signs.

Speaker:

I think we get more signups, honestly, for the amount of money that we spend on that as

Speaker:

opposed to what we spend on net news or something like that.

Speaker:

I think dollar for dollar, I think we get just as much.

Speaker:

Ben, you think the same thing?

Speaker:

So you use Yard signs at all?

Speaker:

I've been fascinated with Yard.

Speaker:

It's so old school, but it just seems to work.

Speaker:

It works.

Speaker:

I don't use Yard signs, but I will attest to that same thing that all the marketing, all

Speaker:

the social media and here we are radio ads you could do and billboards and all the different

Speaker:

kind of marketing things that you could think about.

Speaker:

We do a lot of math.

Speaker:

We've kind of over the last three years have built up a mass email list and we have a subscriber

Speaker:

thing on our website.

Speaker:

So if you want to, you can subscribe.

Speaker:

And then any email I send out, I choose if I send the subscribers or not, but I can

Speaker:

send it out to everybody.

Speaker:

Every time my blog goes live, I just wrote a new blog last week.

Speaker:

Every time it goes live, it sends it to the automatic email, it goes to my subscribers and

Speaker:

then it goes on our Facebook page.

Speaker:

But more so than anything else, word of mouth.

Speaker:

It's word of mouth.

Speaker:

I mean, for me, I'm at the small facilities.

Speaker:

I have to keep things small by nature because that's the nature of the facility.

Speaker:

But so I don't want to do a big ad in net news and get thousands of kids sign up, but

Speaker:

I'll put my camps out in January for summer and I'll get to 24 kids and a lot of them pretty

Speaker:

quickly.

Speaker:

I mean, by first to the middle of February, we're booked up.

Speaker:

I mean, there's a few here and there and, you know, but we're pretty much by March, we're

Speaker:

pretty much booked up.

Speaker:

And January, you just took over the facility, Seth.

Speaker:

So in that case, it wasn't like you could have your whole act together the calendar the year

Speaker:

before.

Speaker:

So what did you end up doing?

Speaker:

Well, I'm glad you didn't start with me because I realized that when I turned around,

Speaker:

I turned to you.

Speaker:

Well, and so I mean, it's funny every time I go into a meeting with our tennis committee,

Speaker:

my first question, I mean, I quiz them every time.

Speaker:

I'm like, are you getting my emails?

Speaker:

Did you see this?

Speaker:

What if I asked you when this class is?

Speaker:

Would you know that answer?

Speaker:

And because it was a real struggle to figure out what messages are getting through.

Speaker:

Am I using the HOA database for emails?

Speaker:

Because everybody is unsubscribe from that.

Speaker:

Should I use the Facebook and all of the groups?

Speaker:

My wife is an expert at that.

Speaker:

She was in marketing for a long time.

Speaker:

She's found me a dozen swanney coming, you know, all of the Facebook groups that are applicable

Speaker:

to that area and those groups.

Speaker:

And I use some of that, but I will say exactly what Kenyan said.

Speaker:

I had more success with just a couple of yard signs at the neighborhood entrances and exits

Speaker:

and it was unbelievable the response.

Speaker:

And I mean, that was, you know, we got down to, because I mean, it's, you know, and Ben and

Speaker:

I both have kids the same age.

Speaker:

We're an role in our kids in summer camps in February and March and getting like every

Speaker:

thing set up and getting those calendars together by middle of March.

Speaker:

You know, I was still trying to figure out, are you getting my emails?

Speaker:

Are we, are we even reaching the people in the neighborhood?

Speaker:

Forget about outside, you know?

Speaker:

So a lot of that stuff did come down to, you know, by March, who was just like, all right,

Speaker:

let's get some signs and let's put them up and sure enough the floodgates opened and

Speaker:

we filled up, you know, by end of March, end of April, we were good for the whole summer.

Speaker:

So I think by January, February next year, assuming everybody listens to this, we're

Speaker:

just going to have, it's going to look like an election year.

Speaker:

An election month, we're just going to have summer camp signs in February all over Atlanta.

Speaker:

If you think that's bad, go to, send your kid to sleep away camp.

Speaker:

My son goes to Blue Star.

Speaker:

It's a Jewish summer camp in North Carolina and Hendersonville and he goes for three weeks

Speaker:

in July and literally the day we pick him up from camp, an email goes out to sign up for next

Speaker:

year.

Speaker:

And it's full.

Speaker:

He's already signed up.

Speaker:

This is where we're here in August.

Speaker:

He's already signed up for next year.

Speaker:

That is fantastic.

Speaker:

So Kenyan, you guys with the largest ability to pull something like this off from a UTA point

Speaker:

of view is that that same thing?

Speaker:

He said, hey, look, that was great.

Speaker:

Thanks so much.

Speaker:

You just taken notes right now going back to the partners saying, hey, we've got, we've got

Speaker:

some little changes to make.

Speaker:

Both.

Speaker:

Because I mean, a lot of our kids, we try to flip them to, you know, because we want them

Speaker:

to be there year round.

Speaker:

So because we still have year round programming while summer camps going on.

Speaker:

We only have so much space in that.

Speaker:

So usually our repeat customers are just repeat customers because they're coming back another

Speaker:

week in the summer.

Speaker:

They're not ready to sign up for the following year, not yet.

Speaker:

Right.

Speaker:

Yeah.

Speaker:

So in that case, at least it's letting them know.

Speaker:

Right.

Speaker:

We were, we were involved with the Atlanta Open this year.

Speaker:

We as go tennis and seeing the promotion that they do is an interesting comparison because

Speaker:

you just got different budgets, different people running things.

Speaker:

And they're doing more this year than they ever have, but then I get the email from the Indian

Speaker:

Wells.

Speaker:

And I think, oh man, that is a great concept to be able to say, you know what, there's still

Speaker:

a once a month email going on.

Speaker:

This is a year round promotion concept.

Speaker:

And we're not exactly an ATP 1000 or even a 250 run in our summer camps.

Speaker:

But sometimes it's that important to us to realize, okay, maybe we do need to find out

Speaker:

who's getting emails and who's actually opening them.

Speaker:

My father says nobody reads emails.

Speaker:

So at this point, I put some things in bold.

Speaker:

I assume they're going to glance and whatever they're going to see in a glance, that's what

Speaker:

I assume they get out of my email.

Speaker:

I really don't put too much time into it anymore because we just don't see the open rate

Speaker:

in general.

Speaker:

If we've got 10,000 emails we're sending out, we're getting 9% open rate, that's tough.

Speaker:

So I can't really rely on the emails every time it really does come down to those yard

Speaker:

signs and that's interesting.

Speaker:

We're starting to send texts.

Speaker:

The texts are working better as well.

Speaker:

So for us, I mean, we're, emails are just, you know, we're going to be able to do that

Speaker:

or emails are just, we're still sending them.

Speaker:

So, but text messages are what people respond to these days.

Speaker:

Yeah, I had the same experience.

Speaker:

I, you know, we used court reserve.

Speaker:

That was one of our first things that we implemented at Laurel Springs.

Speaker:

And three months in, I turned on the text and push notifications because it was exactly

Speaker:

that.

Speaker:

I mean, you know, just for adult classes, hey, Cardio's tomorrow morning, two spots left,

Speaker:

who wants them, you know, and that text message generates way more, you know, like these

Speaker:

are the open rate.

Speaker:

You just don't see in it with emails.

Speaker:

What's that cost you?

Speaker:

It's a top of your head.

Speaker:

Yeah, 20 bucks a month, 25 extra.

Speaker:

25 extra a month.

Speaker:

Yeah.

Speaker:

Same concept.

Speaker:

Do you guys use a, a, a, a, a, do you use court reserve?

Speaker:

What do you do for systems like that?

Speaker:

Same exact one.

Speaker:

Court reserve.

Speaker:

We do.

Speaker:

All right.

Speaker:

Ben, do you have access to that at the clubs or do they run the court reservations for

Speaker:

you?

Speaker:

So luckily for me, I have access to them.

Speaker:

And that's one thing that I ask for because it's super helpful because at the beach club,

Speaker:

we got to be flexible.

Speaker:

So it may be if it's, we let the members book first and then I kind of organize daily the

Speaker:

schedule based around what's going on at the club.

Speaker:

So it's helpful for me to be able to have access to that.

Speaker:

But we use court reserve at the beach club.

Speaker:

Limor Royge uses something a little bit different, like, skidaddle or I can't remember the next

Speaker:

exact, exact, exact.

Speaker:

No, it's just a small facility.

Speaker:

But yeah, I do have access to that and it's, and it's really, really helpful.

Speaker:

Yeah.

Speaker:

And in that case, at some point, we'll have everybody back and we'll have the court reserve

Speaker:

versus reserve my court conversation and try to find out kind of how we make those choices

Speaker:

because I think the majority of Atlanta clubs, maybe clubs is the wrong word.

Speaker:

HOAs are using reserve my court simply because it's so cheap, it's practically free.

Speaker:

But court reserves got a lot more from a facility management point of view and I'll be interested

Speaker:

to have that conversation.

Speaker:

We're involved directly, go tennis is with reserve my court.

Speaker:

So we promote them naturally.

Speaker:

They're a partner of ours.

Speaker:

But we've had Ashley from court reserve on and they're getting a pretty good foothold in

Speaker:

here.

Speaker:

And I think that helps from a summer camp point of view, being able to have those little things

Speaker:

handled.

Speaker:

And like Ben said, you're always looking for flexibility and trying to make sure everybody

Speaker:

knows what's going on that keeps those arguments away where every once in a while say,

Speaker:

sorry, I got the court reserved.

Speaker:

I don't have to argue with you.

Speaker:

Just get out.

Speaker:

I've got it.

Speaker:

But the text message is really interesting and I'm curious to see the open rate.

Speaker:

I'd be interested.

Speaker:

I'll call back court reserve and find out from them some of the technical side because I get

Speaker:

down into the weeds and try to figure out how some of those things work to find out who

Speaker:

actually opens them and who unsubscribes and if they have those, if they have that information.

Speaker:

But I am looking at my last King of Tennis question, my last thing as we finish up here

Speaker:

and I will thank each and every one of you.

Speaker:

We already gave you a go tennis hat, right?

Speaker:

We gave you that.

Speaker:

We gave you our little thank you gift.

Speaker:

I ordered a Atlanta tennis podcast shirt and I realized it was probably too soon for that.

Speaker:

So we didn't bother with that.

Speaker:

But we are looking for the King of Tennis and I'm going to ask each of you, I'm going

Speaker:

to go in reverse order.

Speaker:

I started with Ben, went to Seth and then Kenyan in the beginning.

Speaker:

So I'm going to back it up this time.

Speaker:

I'm going to start with Kenyan and looking for summer camps only, even if it's the whole

Speaker:

world, maybe just Atlanta, from your point of view, from a summer camp point of view, is

Speaker:

there anything if you were King of Tennis, you could do anything you wanted.

Speaker:

Is there anything you would change or do?

Speaker:

Hmm.

Speaker:

All right.

Speaker:

Let me see if I can attack it this way.

Speaker:

I think the best thing that we did this summer and I'm curious what the guys here are going

Speaker:

to say when I say this for them, for someone who has year-round programming, the best thing

Speaker:

that we did is we decided to take July the fourth off.

Speaker:

We did not do summer camp July fourth.

Speaker:

We felt that was like a midway point because in the past, every pro, every junior pro is

Speaker:

always acted as though they were burnout.

Speaker:

With that week, not doing that week and then we start back basically the first of all,

Speaker:

it's a game and the kind of that midway point.

Speaker:

So I'm just curious on as far as decision making because I don't think there's any bad thing

Speaker:

you can do for summer camp except tell some kid they can't have water.

Speaker:

I felt like that's the best decision I've made in my 32 years of coach in Tennis is to

Speaker:

take that week off and I also took that week off myself.

Speaker:

And if you wanted to work, it was kind of on you, but you weren't kind of forced to because

Speaker:

most of our people that work for us are employees.

Speaker:

So that was the best thing I felt like I've done.

Speaker:

So if I was king for a day, I would tell everyone to take the week off personally because

Speaker:

it's hard for people to take the week off when they think they need it, but then they also

Speaker:

complain that they're burnout.

Speaker:

So you've got to force them to do some things sometimes and that's the way that we attacked

Speaker:

it.

Speaker:

To balance the fact that you need to survive the summer with, hey, I want to make money,

Speaker:

I want to keep doing what I do.

Speaker:

This is my time.

Speaker:

Some people I think Ben told me he's got a lot of his revenue is in the summer where for

Speaker:

us our revenue drops a little bit.

Speaker:

So depending on the business model and what you do is how you want to handle that fourth

Speaker:

of July, I think that's great advice.

Speaker:

At least that long weekend maybe even do a special, you know, Wednesday, Thursday,

Speaker:

Friday depending on how that falls.

Speaker:

If you feel like you need to work on that week, but from a coaching point of view, to take

Speaker:

that week off as a group, I think that's good advice.

Speaker:

So can you now go back to Seth?

Speaker:

King of tennis, summer camps only, whether it's for the whole world, you get to tell anybody

Speaker:

and everybody what to do.

Speaker:

Is there any one thing you would do or change?

Speaker:

I mean, the biggest thing for me is the enthusiasm of the coaches.

Speaker:

When you're hiring for camp and when you're introducing new players, new personalities,

Speaker:

meeting people, the enthusiastic coaches are the ones you want on camp.

Speaker:

It doesn't matter experience level and all that stuff and burnout is a real thing.

Speaker:

And I think that getting kids in and putting them with a coach who's going to be energetic,

Speaker:

show them the passion for whatever sport they're working on that day, be able to support

Speaker:

them.

Speaker:

I think that's the biggest thing for me.

Speaker:

And I think it always really has been something that I'm passionate about through the certification

Speaker:

processes and all these different things that we do professionally.

Speaker:

I think the enthusiasm of the coaches is always my big priority when I hire, when I'm looking

Speaker:

at coaches for mentors and things like that.

Speaker:

It is amazing what a little bit of an attitude shift will give you.

Speaker:

And for summer camp and when you're dealing with brand new players, that's what it's all about.

Speaker:

And I'll push back and say, okay, I think that's good advice.

Speaker:

I want to know how?

Speaker:

How do I find that enthusiastic coach?

Speaker:

What are you going to say?

Speaker:

Everybody needs to have a great enthusiastic coach or we need in Kenyans case, we need 30 of

Speaker:

them for 100 kids.

Speaker:

We need 30 enthusiastic coaches.

Speaker:

That's not easy to do because you're not necessarily going to keep them on staff all year

Speaker:

long, maybe they're part time people.

Speaker:

Do you have advice on how to find those people, especially if it's part time?

Speaker:

You know, it is difficult.

Speaker:

There's no doubt about it.

Speaker:

And I mean, my camps this summer especially were only limited by my own staffing problems.

Speaker:

And making sure that I was able to get commitments from senior staff and junior staff to be able

Speaker:

to take whatever numbers we had signing up.

Speaker:

And so a lot of weeks, same thing, we were capping camps, not because of interest level,

Speaker:

but because of the number of people we had.

Speaker:

I think the best place to go is to your own players, is reaching out to players that you've

Speaker:

trained, players that you know.

Speaker:

We have a Lambert High School, is right next to us at Laurel Springs.

Speaker:

There are state champions right now.

Speaker:

I've got Lambert Player who works in my pro shop, who does lessons with me.

Speaker:

Things like that are certainly helpful.

Speaker:

And like Ben said, same thing, high school and college kids are, and you can't say, I only

Speaker:

want to hire younger.

Speaker:

And it's not always a great idea, but that's where I think you go first is the players.

Speaker:

And people, not just kids, but people who are enthusiastic players, then can be enthusiastic

Speaker:

coaches.

Speaker:

And so, you know, I mean Kenyans got a head start because of all the kids in the academy

Speaker:

that he can pull from.

Speaker:

Well, and he said it during one of the questions too, getting the kids to work with each other

Speaker:

is a big deal.

Speaker:

And even in the older groups, if you get a 15 year old to tell a 12 year old, you got this,

Speaker:

don't worry, I mean, that goes a long way.

Speaker:

And that 15 year old then feels that pride of coaching and that, you know, there is,

Speaker:

there's that feeling you get when you're helping somebody else.

Speaker:

And that comes from the strong coaching, coaching culture, which we really like.

Speaker:

Ben, we end with you.

Speaker:

King of tennis, Ben Hesley.

Speaker:

What do you do, summer, can, it seems like you're doing whatever you want.

Speaker:

I mean, I asked Patricia Jensen a similar question.

Speaker:

I said, "With you were Queen of tennis and I stopped and I thought, 'I think you're pretty

Speaker:

much doing whatever you would do as Queen of tennis.'

Speaker:

But Ben, you've pretty much had some time.

Speaker:

You've had three years now to figure out your own summer camps and what works and what

Speaker:

doesn't work.

Speaker:

Is there anything?

Speaker:

King of tennis, you do or change?"

Speaker:

Yeah, I think I'm going to kind of well both of these guys, Kenyan and Seth and Seth

Speaker:

Moore about finding staff, right?

Speaker:

Because then when I worked at Drew at Hills for so long and then before that I'd done with

Speaker:

a country club, I'd camp staff for the summer was the tennis pros.

Speaker:

So we just chose, okay, we're going to take two or three pros and you're going to run

Speaker:

summer camp from nine to four or whatever it was and you're just not going to do any, you're

Speaker:

going to teach ladies USDA teams, you're not going to teach any cardio tennis like you're

Speaker:

just going to do camp.

Speaker:

And sometimes we would rotate off and if you had a private lesson or something, we'd go

Speaker:

with three pros for that hour versus four or whatever.

Speaker:

But we would, for the most part, it kind of got where Drew at Hills were, we got pretty

Speaker:

big and we did hire some summer help and they did more stuff.

Speaker:

That was the, that was always the interesting thing is you could hire a college kid to

Speaker:

work the pro shop, do court man gets, oh, and you're going to teach summer camp and help

Speaker:

us run some events and stuff.

Speaker:

Well, I don't have that.

Speaker:

I mean, my camp is nine to four and you get there, you get there eight or eight thirty

Speaker:

but it's over it four and that's it.

Speaker:

There's no, hey, you're going to work four hours behind the bar tonight, slinging drinks and

Speaker:

the, you know, at the club bar, we don't have that.

Speaker:

So how to find, how to find staff is really, really, is really, really big deal.

Speaker:

And for me, it's the same thing.

Speaker:

I have a lot of kids who have coached myself and now they're in high school or now they've

Speaker:

gone and go to college or kids in the neighborhood that I know.

Speaker:

And, you know, almost like a babysitting service, right?

Speaker:

You have a role at X, a babysitter to use for your kid.

Speaker:

It's the same thing.

Speaker:

I hear, here's the high school and college coaches when you guys available or not college

Speaker:

coaches, college kids who will coach for you.

Speaker:

And so I use them.

Speaker:

And I think they're great.

Speaker:

Honestly, you know, hate to say it.

Speaker:

I think the high school and college kids are better than the tennis pros.

Speaker:

Where is this list?

Speaker:

So that's the, that's where I'm getting to with the king of tennis because there isn't a

Speaker:

list.

Speaker:

Everyone has their own list, right?

Speaker:

You have a list of, and I got so many, it was so funny this, this summer I was getting text

Speaker:

messages from parents who got my, my number from other people and they're texting me like,

Speaker:

hey, you, you know, do you, do you looking for staff for the summer?

Speaker:

My high school kid would like to, you know, like to help or whatever.

Speaker:

My college kid would, would like to help.

Speaker:

And do you, you know, do you have availability?

Speaker:

Whatever.

Speaker:

And I would, I would simply because I was a tennis director at a private club for a year

Speaker:

to manage, you know, lots of people.

Speaker:

And my first response would be like, well, yeah, just send me your resume.

Speaker:

I won't take a look at it and see if we can, they're like, she's on 16.

Speaker:

She's never had a job before.

Speaker:

And I'm like, okay, well, here's a kid that, so what do you, you see me, well, look, the resume,

Speaker:

just send me like a little, what does she do?

Speaker:

What, what, what, what does she do?

Speaker:

Okay, she plays club or she plays a select soccer, you know, or have one girl that works with

Speaker:

me.

Speaker:

She's not really a good tennis player.

Speaker:

She's okay, but she's a phenomenal.

Speaker:

She plays travel volleyball or club, they call it club volleyball.

Speaker:

And then she plays for, she plays volleyball for a legs at high school.

Speaker:

She's fantastic.

Speaker:

She's probably one of the best, but she's not a tennis player, but she's great with kids

Speaker:

and she can run a red ball class like nobody's business.

Speaker:

And that's usually where I put them is running some of the younger kids.

Speaker:

I work with more of the older kids and then I kind of wrote, kind of roam around, right?

Speaker:

And that's kind of my, my coaching style anyways, but it works.

Speaker:

Ben's problem is he's got incoming calls for extra staff.

Speaker:

That, that sounds awful.

Speaker:

I'm sorry to hear that.

Speaker:

But let me, I just get to the point, sorry, I was the long-winded, but I think to myself,

Speaker:

what happened to this girl had gone to work at Chick-fil-A this summer, right?

Speaker:

Now she probably had a crush because I think Chick-fil-A is, you know, paying like $25 an hour.

Speaker:

I make it work at Chick-fil-A actually.

Speaker:

You're all fun Sundays and you make like $32 an hour for filling up coax.

Speaker:

We're all available for the joy of it.

Speaker:

But, but what would happen now this girl has, has seen the light of coaching.

Speaker:

She's enjoyed it and for her it helps because this whole year she's got a whole list of,

Speaker:

of kids she can babysit.

Speaker:

That's one like perk for these guys to work with us.

Speaker:

And then the other thing is now she's turned on to coaching and like, wow, whether it's volleyball,

Speaker:

whether it's tennis, where it's just, I'm going to go be a PE teacher.

Speaker:

Man, this is great.

Speaker:

I mean, how many times can you, you don't have this conversation all the time about telling,

Speaker:

like, you know, it's like sometimes with parents of our players, they like thinking, like,

Speaker:

they love us, but like, all my kids are going to be a coach.

Speaker:

Like, why?

Speaker:

It's a real profession, right?

Speaker:

Why not?

Speaker:

It's a real profession, you know?

Speaker:

My kid's going to be a, go be, and I'm married to an attorney so I can't talk, but

Speaker:

my wife's, you know, yeah, you are too, a lawyer, you know, we're smart.

Speaker:

We both marry lawyers so we could be coaches, but coaching is a real profession and but kids

Speaker:

don't know that and even parents sometimes don't know that or don't, or they don't think

Speaker:

that's a realization for their kid.

Speaker:

I mean, for me, I want to be a football coach or baseball coach my entire life.

Speaker:

So my story's a little bit different than most, but most never have that realization.

Speaker:

So if I was King of tennis, I would have some kind of like, create some network and

Speaker:

maybe have like a camp for coaches where, hey, look, if you, summer camp is a real deal,

Speaker:

it's a great way for your kid to make some money and have a great time and be around kids

Speaker:

and do the sports that they love.

Speaker:

And we do this in like, I don't know, January, February, whenever you're kind of rolling

Speaker:

up your, your, your staff for the summer and have these guys come in.

Speaker:

It's almost like a job, we like be a fun job bear, right?

Speaker:

Like, you're like, put the college in high school kids like in through like a mini camp,

Speaker:

right?

Speaker:

You're going to play capture the ball.

Speaker:

You're going to play kiffle ball.

Speaker:

You're going to play some tennis.

Speaker:

You're going to play ultimate, whatever.

Speaker:

And we're all there like, you know, I'm thinking like NFL combine, right?

Speaker:

Like we're kind of looking, we got our notepads and we're just, oh, this kid looks good.

Speaker:

She look at, look how she, look how she guards and captures the ball is awesome.

Speaker:

And so you have all these camp coaches who come and who are running their summer camps.

Speaker:

And then all of a sudden these guys all have a rolodex of camps.

Speaker:

And now we're contacting the parents if they choose to do that.

Speaker:

Now the parents, you know, if you have a kid who's in high school, that's that relation,

Speaker:

we just hold on to the podcast on how you handle that relationship between texting a 15 year

Speaker:

old girl, you know, always put her parent on there.

Speaker:

That's where thing, but, you know, how now these kids are getting contacts and now being

Speaker:

a summer camp coach, which will hopefully segue into being a professional coach when

Speaker:

you're older, that's something that our industry is a tennis industry, not just sport, sport

Speaker:

industry for sure, but tennis industry.

Speaker:

I mean, who are the tennis pros?

Speaker:

They're like 55 year old guys with like replacement hips out there feeding balls.

Speaker:

You know, there's, you know, there's not many 25 year old kids coming out of college,

Speaker:

wanting to do what we do.

Speaker:

And maybe we can through summer camps, we can show them that this is a real, a real lifestyle,

Speaker:

a real, you know, real thing.

Speaker:

All right, so go tennis just found its winter project because I think between go tennis,

Speaker:

red zone, full shark sports and UTA, I think we make this camp a reality.

Speaker:

I think this is a great idea.

Speaker:

I think this helps all coaches in the area.

Speaker:

I think this is definitely a thing we're going to do.

Speaker:

And then eventually we spit them out and send them out to Jorge Capistani and we've got

Speaker:

a whole system going to work.

Speaker:

Well, gentlemen, we are at a time.

Speaker:

I appreciate it.

Speaker:

Thank you so much.

Speaker:

And like I said in the beginning, we will, we will follow up with this because I think this

Speaker:

is the kind of thing we could do if not yearly, at least yearly and be able to follow up and

Speaker:

say, okay, what's, what's up for next year?

Speaker:

How did this year go?

Speaker:

But then eventually try to figure out, hey, what's, what's going on in these conversations?

Speaker:

It's actually helping people.

Speaker:

And if there's one thing that comes out of it, whether a giant coaches camp comes out

Speaker:

of it, which I've written it down, like get this done because I think this is going to

Speaker:

be one of the more important things, even if it's a little thing of saying, okay, is net

Speaker:

news really the place to go for summer camps?

Speaker:

Everybody waits for that, for that article, that article, episode, what is that?

Speaker:

It's a, what do we call the issue?

Speaker:

Issue?

Speaker:

I can never think of that word.

Speaker:

I don't know why.

Speaker:

Issue just seems like a bad thing.

Speaker:

Everybody's looking forward to that issue.

Speaker:

And in that case, otherwise, we're just going to have to make some phone calls and start

Speaker:

to sign a yard sign business in January and help tennis coaches say, hey, if you're looking

Speaker:

for your summer camps, here's your one outside of Laurel Springs, wherever UTA is, you guys

Speaker:

are multiple locations, so you've got multiple options there.

Speaker:

And then in the same way, I don't know how many neighborhoods are going to want yard signs

Speaker:

in February, excited about summer camps, but we'll figure it out.

Speaker:

And that's one of the things go.

Speaker:

Tennis is working on one of the things that the podcast is trying to do is, how do we help

Speaker:

the coaches?

Speaker:

How do we help the parents?

Speaker:

And we make tennis even better than it already is.

Speaker:

Gentlemen, thank you so much.

Speaker:

I appreciate your time.

Speaker:

Thank you.

Speaker:

Yeah, thank you.

Speaker:

Well, there you have it.

Speaker:

We want to thank reGeovinate.com for use of the studio.

Speaker:

And be sure to hit that follow button.

Speaker:

For more tennis-related content, you can go to AtlantaTennisPodcast.com.

Speaker:

And while you're there, check out our calendar of tennis events, the best deals on technifiber

Speaker:

products, tennis apparel, and more.

Speaker:

If you're a coach, director of any racket sports, or just someone who wants to utilize

Speaker:

our online shop,

Speaker:

contact us about setting up your own shop collection to offer your branded merchandise

Speaker:

to the Atlanta Tennis World.

Speaker:

And with that, we're out.

Speaker:

See you next time.

Speaker:

[MUSIC PLAYING]

Speaker:

[MUSIC PLAYING]

Speaker:

[MUSIC PLAYING]

Speaker:

[MUSIC PLAYING]

Speaker:

[MUSIC PLAYING]

Speaker:

[music fades]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *