Interview with a Tennis Instructor
A very experienced Director of Tennis Operations in South Carolina spoke to us about his days working as a tennis instructor at various summer resort camps.
Where Did You Work?
I worked at various summer camps and tennis resorts. The first place I worked was at All-American Sports which ran various summer camps on college campuses. This was while I was still studying at Boston College and once I had graduated, decided that I wanted to do this full time as I loved the lifestyle.
Working at resorts you soon learn to do other things besides just teaching tennis. You have to work your way up and eventually learn about court maintenance, merchandise sales, people and computer skills as well as public relations. I had to keep updated with all the new technology including accounting systems and cash registers.
How Did You Get Into Tennis?
I started playing tennis at an early age and all the way through college I played. It is hard to get into the professional leagues, so I chose the next best thing, teaching tennis. Working at a resort teaching others to play the sport I love is not only financially rewarding, but it gives me a sense of fulfillment as I am living a wonderful lifestyle.
Aside from enjoying playing tennis, you will need to also enjoy the other aspects of court maintenance and merchandise sales. You need to love working with people - at a resort this is the key to success.
Tell Us About Your Typical Day
My day usually consists of checking on the courts and ensuring that all the equipment is there and ready to be used. I check the nets, balls, and racquets. I then take guests for group and private, one on one lessons. I sometimes get to take celebrities for lessons. Princess Caroline of Monaco, David Robinson and Bill Cosby and all been here, and I emphasize to the other employees to just treat them normally. They are paying the same as all the other guests for the tennis lessons, so they should be treated just like any other guest.
Part of the job is also to go to the various entertainment evenings and mingle with the guests, chat to them during the tournaments, and that sort of thing. I have to make sure the shop is staffed, stocked, and that everything is running smoothly. There are other younger tennis instructors who have less responsibilities and get more time to use the facilities, but I also get the time to play a game of tennis myself, play a round of golf or just lounge around.
What Would You Say to Those Interested in Being a Tennis Instructor?
Firstly this has to be something you are passionate about and where you don't mind working unconventional times. The hours are not particularly long, but you don't actually get vacations like in a normal job. Christmas and other holidays like Easter are the busiest times, so you cannot take off during the holidays.
You can learn how to be a Tennis Instructor just by playing and working on the job and by getting a summer internship like I did, but there are also college tennis management courses you can take nowadays, like the ones at Hampton University in Virginia, Tyler College, and Methodist College in North Carolina in Texas.