I have been speaking to as many coaches as possible over the past few weeks, to get an idea of how the recession is affecting sign ups for autumn programmes. I felt that September was always going to be the crucial month for seeing how the recession would affect the tennis coaching business in the mid term. The children go back to school and the bills for books, shoes and other activities roll in.
I am delighted to say that overall the news is really good, with a 10% drop in business being the biggest reported decline. Individual lessons, especially for adults, appears to be the hardest hit area. Considering that a lot of businesses are down 25%+, and a lot of other businesses are being forced to close down, this in my opinion is an excellent result.
I also think that it is a great credit to the tennis coaches of Ireland that parents are more than willing to continue to pay coaching fees for their children. This despite all the economic problems, and the possible perception that tennis lessons might be a `luxury item`. It seems that through the hard work and dedication of Irish tennis coaches, parents see our lessons as instead being integral to their child’s development – something that will only be cut as a last resort. What a great vote of confidence in tennis coaches and tennis coaching!
But it is important not to be complacent – this recession has some way to run yet (and that’s before we factor in the long term consequences of NAMA!). And so much of this issue of `Coach Communication` is given over to points, comments and suggestions that were sent to me by many coaches in reply to an email I sent out a few weeks ago. I asked for feedback on how we can most effectively limit any potential drop off in our business. What were coaches planning to do to ensure that autumn `09 was as successful as any other autumn? Here, together with a few thoughts of y own, is what came back to me.
I want to thank all who took the time to respond and share their thoughts for all our benefit.
All the best,