Tuesday, 9 February 2016

'A BIT HARSH'

I had a phone conversation recently with someone who knows a thing or two about the tennis coaching Industry and it seems I may have been a bit harsh in my previous judgement on certain individuals. So here is my apology to all of those 'hard working' tennis coaches out there.
Firstly I am sorry for what I said regarding your $70 to $80 per hour fees. I realize that you do in fact pay court hire and Insurance as well as fuel to and from the tennis club so I think it's fair to say that we could knock each hour down to say $55 to $65. Would that be a fair assumption ? Apparently some coaches only do private sessions and let their assistants do the group lessons so I suppose if you were in a fairly well to do suburb you would be looking at a couple of hundred clear each day with just private lessons. On top of that however add what you would take home after a group session of say eight kids who would pay around $15 per session but after of course you pay your minimally qualified assistant around $30 for the hour or so. Still great dollars hey ?
So what does a tennis coach really earn ? Well for a start the word 'earn' can at times be rather loosely used because many 'coaches' don't in fact coach, they hit balls, babysit kids and have their assistants throw balls to their students so 'coaching' at times is not really what it is supposed to be. I was under the impression that tennis coaching was all about teaching kids how to play tennis yet if you witness the gimmicks involved now days you would have to question just what the consumer is in fact paying for.
Many 'coaches' of tennis believe that if they put their hourly rates up high enough it will in fact attract a crowd but the problem with this is simple, you have to be able to produce the goods regularly and not just in a one off session that makes you out to be god's gift to teaching the sport of tennis.
A lot of pressure is put on a 'coach' with an hourly price tag of 'self importance' yet some choose to accept the challenge and good on them for doing so as some consumers believe in paying those ridiculous sums of money, most times for the status of it all. In all seriousness though it's like the parents who send their kids to the school with the highest school fees in the country just because it looks good, not because it works. 
One of my children received 8 A's out of a possible 9 subjects at an 'average' school with 'average' fees. Usually it's all down to the application of the student and not the exorbitant fee structure that has people chaffing at the bit to be seen at the school gate along with other parents who have to take a loan out to have their children seen there also. Status symbol written all over it.
So what is it with tennis coaching and why is it so expensive ? Exclusiveness, status, a chance to rub shoulders with other parents who like to throw money at people who command a fee who have never ever had a job outside of the sport they teach so they have no real concept of what it's like to really earn a real dollar in the real World.
Some feel that throwing that sort of money at someone means that what they are receiving in turn is in fact good value. On a rare occasion maybe it is, on most occasions though that $80 could be better used on a few dozen tennis balls and a basket and the parent throwing those balls to their kid and saying 'great shot'. That's all that many 'coaches' do for the entirety of a lesson.
Someone told me a while back that the 'market' drives the price of learning tennis up and up but what really is the 'market' ? I reckon the 'market' is full of people who have never had a job outside of a tennis court and who really don't know what a hard day's work is. Hitting tennis balls as a coach is a breeze though many will tell you otherwise. Tennis is tough as a player, not a coach. Perspective should come into play here.
If however a coach is getting a regular result and I mean a REAL result with his or her students then I suppose they are entitled to a decent hourly rate but I am sorry I haven't met too many over the years, most just talk themselves and their programs up. Much hype, very little substance.
I could name a handful of real tennis coaches who I have met over the years who are worth every cent they charge because what they teach has meaning but they are a rarity, hence their worth.
It's like finding a gold nugget, it's rare, they are worth a lot of money, fair enough. People will pay for the privilege of owning one. If every rock on the side of the road was a gold nugget, well, think about it.
That's the tennis coaching market now days, not enough gold nuggets, way too many rocks...........

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