A Foolproof Process for Tennis Club Scheduling
July 29, 2021
July 29, 2021
Creating a successful tennis club schedule can be difficult for even the most seasoned tennis clubs and tennis program directors. There are so many factors to consider: member needs and wants, instructor availability, competitor offerings … the list continues.
When it comes to tennis club management, maintaining schedules that accommodates as many people as possible can mean the difference in retaining or losing members.
Developing the ideal schedule is a challenge, but any club can streamline the process with a little creativity and a lot of organization. Follow these steps to create a successful schedule for your tennis club:
Collect Instructor and Court Availability
Your instructors are the fuel that fires your programs. Because of the nature of coaching, many of your instructors have commitments outside of your club like family or another job. Their availability may be limited, which is why you should take their needs into account at the beginning of the process.
First, take stock of all of your instructors. From there, collect their available coaching times. Often the best way to collect their availability is to send an email to all of them that requests the following information in a standardized format:
- Days and times available
- Total number of available hours
- Any specific conflicts (childcare, etc.)
In addition to instructor availability, you need to be certain of court availability before you plan anything. This may be straightforward for clubs that don’t share space with other programs, but if you share your space in any way, you need a clear schedule of when you may not have access to your courts.
Get Member Input
There are some basic scheduling rules you can adopt without having to ask members. For example, you shouldn’t schedule a school-aged group to practice during normal school hours. However, there are other considerations that require member input. Not to mention, some of the most creative ideas often come directly from members.
When talking to members, don’t just survey the people who are already taking advantage of your tennis program, though they will provide important insight. Make sure to also survey former members and members who don’t often register for classes. They represent an important part of your target audience that will help your programs grow. Taking their input into account when creating or reevaluating your schedule might enable or encourage them to sign up for more classes.
Consider Local Competitors
Remember that your members always have the option to join another tennis club. It shouldn’t be the basis of your offerings, but having an idea of your local competitors’ schedules can help when creating your own. Evaluate what might be strong about their schedule (more afternoon and evening classes than you typically offer, for example) and think about ways you can make your schedule strong in comparison.
Create a Mock Schedule
This is where the rubber meets the road! Take all the considerations accounted for above and work to set your instructors and your tennis club up for success. For example, set instructors up for success by avoiding placing new instructors in a class that historically gets low turnout or is historically more difficult than others. Set the club up for success by placing a strong instructor on a day that typically has low club turnout, like a Friday, and see if making that change can boost member engagement. Once you have something solid on paper, don’t be afraid to go ahead and start rolling with it.
Remember that scheduling isn’t an exact science; conflicts and challenges will always arise. That’s where flexibility and creativity come into play. Maybe you realize you have a court double booked. Maybe a group of people has requested a specific time that you can’t give them. During these situations, it’s your job to think outside the box and find a solution that works and accommodates as many needs as possible.
Allow 6-8 weeks to pass in determining whether or not the schedule you created works. Many issues will show themselves in the first week or two but might iron themselves out by week 6. Enduring problems may not arise until later weeks, and by week 6-8 you’ll know which problems are here to stay and which require an easy solution.
Once you’ve reached the 8-week mark, start outlining creative solutions to the problems that arise after the schedule reaches a more final form. Ultimately, it can always be iterated upon throughout the year, if needed.
Can Your Tennis Club Software Handle Scheduling?
You can have a solid process for scheduling, but without the proper tennis club management software, you aren’t supported enough to carry it out. You need:
- Online court booking
- Automated communication channels
- Payment methods that integrate with your core software
- Robust reporting
Without these features, your club is missing out on vital opportunities to optimize member experience. With Club Automation, empower members with self-booking, keep members in the loop, streamline dues collection, and enable your staff with accurate reports.
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