When you think of the most powerful and popular brands in the world, what comes to mind? Some think of Apple and Starbucks, others Nike and Target. While their recognizable logos and catchy taglines are engaging, they embody key attributes that continually position them over their competition: innovation, focus, passion, consistency, flexibility, and distinction, among many others.
In the highly competitive industry of racquet sports, how do you mirror these iconic brands and stand out against the crowd? Simply put, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery — leverage the same framework and thought process of the brands you know and love to define your personal brand. Whether you are looking to become a Head Racquets Professional, Director of Racquets, or seeking a more entry level position in the industry, take time to reflect on what makes you…you! Consider the following tactics to help you better define your unique value proposition:
- Conduct a personal SWOT analysis. To articulate your strengths, potential weaknesses (and how to better position them as focus areas for growth), opportunities and threats in the landscape (plus how you’ll address them), write them down and create an action plan to get you from today’s status quo to tomorrow’s future state. Don’t know where to start? Ask yourself the following questions:
- What do I stand for as a person? What are my passions?How would I describe my leadership style?
- What makes me stand out? What are my assets and technical skills?
- What makes me hirable? What would my current co-workers and leader say about me? How do I conduct myself in public, with members? What side projects have I worked on that addvalue to what I bring to an organization?
- What do I value in a company, the culture, and the environment?
- Sharpen your racquet sports skills. Every one of us can continue to learn and grow. Look into becoming a certified Director of Racquets and take advantage of the new program offered by the University of Florida.
- Strengthen credibility within your own club and across the entire industry. Look to build relationships with your CFO, GM, Director of Membership, and other department experts at your club to learn more about the work they do. Afterall, the success of all departments – not just racquet sports – is contingent upon the collaboration across the entire organization. You can also connect and set up one-on-one sessions with industry leaders you see and meet at national conventions and workshops. Lastly, follow and connect with leaders on LinkedIn — most professionals are willing to spread their knowledge and even serve as a mentor.
- Diversify your personal portfolio. Broaden your racquets scope and become certified as a pickleball, platform tennis or padel teaching professional. While tennis is the pillar, it’s not just about that single sport any longer!
In today’s racquet sports world, the job market for top-tier positions is becoming more and more competitive. To stand out, heed the above points and, daily, ask yourself and aspire to better answer:
- Am I passionate about what I do?
- Am I focused daily?
- Am I a consistent performer?
- Am I flexible and adaptable?
- Do I have strong leadership skills?
- Am I competitive in always wanting to be the best version of myself?
If you are consistently looking for ways to grow as a professional to better yourself and differentiate your personal brand, opportunities will arise. After all, modeling your best self after the best brands will come with time, consistency, and a relentless pursuit of excellence.
About the authors…
Len Simard, PTR, USPTA
Search and Consulting Executive at KOPPLIN KUEBLER & WALLACE
Jonathan Sarosiek, PTR, USPTA
Search and Consulting Executive at Simard Enterprises, Inc.
TennisPro Magazine – November 2021