I was contacted by two new clubs within 24hrs – keen for ATA to start conducting our programs a few times a week at these new clubs.  Normally this is great news, but there is only so much we can do.  With a waiting list of clients for Private Lessons, and our coaches (who I rate very very highly – Ains and Sam and our assistants) are faily well fully booked out.

We do advertise for coaches, but I don’t want to just employ anyone, I have high standards and if a potential applicant isn’t up to that, I honestly don’t want them working with me.  I owe it to our clients, our clubs and the public.

So I sent our a message via social media and was overwhelmed at the positivity of the posts. I am still just under 40 and have been involved in business almost 14 years, I will never know everything, and will never pretend to, every day is  learning curve and I believe listening to be one of my greatest skills – and to respect the opinions of those that have credibility in all walks of life!

Heres how the discussion went

Friends I need your help – your opinion or comments.

We now have a fairly large wait list for Private Lessons, and for after school tennis at ATA. This season is looking massive and I have been contacted by 2 new clubs over the weekend to take on their coaching needs.

We have interviewed coaches over the last 6 weeks but I am wondering – Am I too fussy when it comes to employing coaches.

I really want someone passionate about tennis and the industry and not someone who just wants to make a buck (which seems to be the impression that I get).

I have a heap of pride and respect for the industry, my business and our clients. I can’t just let someone come on in, get the ideal hours and cash they want but not have the passion that myself or our other coaches have.

I am so lucky to have and have had a group of coaches (you know who you are) who work so hard and give and give and give to the Industry our business and the community and are so well respected – we are all busy and our clientele is growing.

What should I do – I am really seeking some serious advice here whether its this industry related or other.

On one hand I don’t want to be turning clients away, I want everyone to be able to experience and enjoy what we have to offer in terms of tennis programs etc. On the other hand – I have had some excellent coaches in the past (and currently) and the latest group of applicants simply aren’t up to it, or wouldn’t be a good fit.

PS We are working 7 days a week in summer and have lights… and I don’t want to Franchise out!

(sorry for the tags, some of you I’d really value your opinions)


  • Nathan Watson Tough situation Dave. Personally, I’d think if you can’t offer the passion and standard of coaching your business takes pride in, your better off not expanding beyond your capacity to deliver. The potential new clients are approaching you because of the reputation you have built on the back of your high standards. Under delivering on that could damage what you’ve worked so hard to achieve. If the people you are looking to employ don’t meet the standards you set, they are the wrong people for the job.
  • Neil Wright Better for your business having said b grade coaches working for someone else i reckon? A lot easier to replace x hours a week of missed lessons due to being full than try to rebuild a business with a bad name.
  • Graham Harvey First of all, congrats for asking David. Most sadly don’t.
    My advice … NEVER compromise your standards.
    The moment you lower your standards, that becomes your new standard.

    Saying no to new customers is a tough call, but unless you can guarantee & deliver 100% on your reputation, it’s a call you have to make.
    By staying disciplined, you will ultimately attract the right people who share your passion.
    Good luck.
  • Nathan Crudeli David I’m your man, crudders classic tennis master class for children C.C.T.M.C.F.C
  • Katie S-Bishop Your staff are a reflection of your company and represent all that it stands for. Your clients will remember their coaches for years to come for both the good and bad points. I remember that as a junior, the coach I had greatly influenced how much I enjoyed playing the game.
  • Daniel Hill Albany as an employment pool can tend to be quiet small. Maybe the best of the applicants can “ride shot gun” with you or your better coaches and show them what is expected. Maybe one or two may surprise. I would agree with other comments though, don’t expand if service and quality is going to be affected…
  • Andrew Partington We employed dozens of people in over a decade with Bodycare and our Physio practice David. The lesson we learned the hard way was that if you have a great team it only takes one poor employment decision to put a wrecking ball through the whole team. If you are not attracting the right people my advice would be to keep looking. We made this mistake a couple of times and it took a heavy toll on both us and the business. Eventually we started selecting people on how well they ‘fit’ within our team and how committed we felt they were. Several of the outstanding people who worked with us at Bodycare are still there and one of them now owns the business and is doing an amazing job with it. That’s my 20 cents worth!! Thanks for asking.
  • David Kerr Cheers guys… Great advice so far.
    12 hrs · Like · 3
  • Paul Terry Agree with the general “do not compromise on quality of service” theme advice coming through here David. And as Graham said, well done for asking for advice, and quite publicly too.
  • David Kerr Cheers Paul…
    Open and honest, I dont mind and not embarrassed to ask questions…I’ve build a business and have gone from 5 kids to 1200 a week… I have a lot of “smart friends” and those that I value their thoughts… Due to time and work Commitments, sometime a fb post can get the job done and opinions across…!
    It’s 4 weeks till the season officially starts so I need to make some huge decisions…
    12 hrs · Like · 3
  • David Kerr Nathan if I employed you I would go against all the advice I am getting here!
    12 hrs · Like · 1
  • Nathan Watson Lol David Kerr…harsh! If I had more flexibility in my time I’d love to take up some coaching. Maybe in the future.
  • David Kerr Crudelli not u watto!
    12 hrs · Like · 1
  • Nathan Watson Oh…rofl. Too many Nathan’s in this conservation. Butt out Crudelli!
  • Bernadette Duell David Kerr, you are an inspiration and your passion for tennis and for coaching shows. Keep up the fantastic work and surround yourself with people who share the same values. People who are passionate about the sport will follow you and no doubt you will find the right people for your business (though it make take some time). I agree that Albany has a small pool of talent, have you considered asking some of your Perth contacts or Eastern seaboard contacts about moving to Albany and living and working in paradise? From the day I met you, you have you set high achievable standards, which makes me want to be a better tennis player and at the same time enjoy the game of tennis.
    12 hrs · Like · 1
  • David Kerr Cheers guys… I think my thoughts have been backed up by your comments..
    11 hrs · Like · 2
  • Michelle Dreezens Hi David. I thought I’d put my two bobs worth in having had kids train with you for a few years and then leaving Albany. Since being in Perth the kids have trained with two clubs. The first one a business that I thought would be great as yours as it was run under the same Hotshots banner. Unfortunately the service provided was shocking. Lots of kids there to train, two very young coaches, who seemed unskilled and not keen to be there. They had no support from the owners we paid the big bucks to. Now I understand that we all had high expectations after Albany but what a let down. The lack of motivation quickly rubbed off on the kids, the coaches seemed bored and my three kids soon followed. Never before had I had to force my kids to turn up to training, now I did. The classes were repetitive, stagnant and poorly run. Their was no passion for showing the kids the way to play and eventually all the kids just played up & no one put a stop to it. We didn’t even see the term out in the end, there was no way I was going to let this group kill my kids passion for something that they all loved. So were we spoilt in Albany, probably. But I have since had the kids in a new club, the passion runs high, the skill level is pushed for improvement, the coaches want to be there and therefore so do the kids (&the parents). You have set a level of expectation amongst your parent group and those that wish to have their children attend. If you can’t get the staff to meet those expectations then I suggest at this point you don’t expand. Tennis is too good a sport, especially socially, for you to want to risk turning the kids off wanting to play by having bad coaches.
  • Jaison Bairstow

    What if you were a kid who isn’t sure yet what tennis is all about/if it’s really for them? Would you want someone with passion and drive who would genuinely want to show you how great it can be and to help you unlock every last bit
    of potential the 2 of you (or your group I suppose) can find inside you, and then get you to dig deeper and find motivation inside yourself to find a little bit extra?

    Or would you want someone who shows up to collect a pay cheque after baby sitting you for a couple of hours?

    Sport and coaching has to be about the juniors coming through and getting as many as possible away from TV/PlayStation/Xbox and onto the courts, fields, pitches, grounds and greens. If you compromise on quality you’re not only potentially hurting yourself and everything you’ve worked so hard to build with ATA, you’d be potentially helping the human race dwindle into fat lazy turds like in Wall-E!

    No pressure or anything…. 
  • Colin Bairstow Super coach. Having seen you grow up from a small kid to where you are today, there a very few people with the drive, forward thinking and dedication to the great game of tennis. Great pool of comments and accolades here. Take it all on board and keep doing what is proven to work.
    Cheers SUPER WOOD COACH :-)))
  • Rachel Annandakrishnan Stay true to your gut feeling!!! We loved you guys in my barker, got to Bunbury signed up with a place and the coaches had no enthusiasm, no passion, it was just ‘here to do my job’ attitude, no consistency of staff, didn’t even introduce themselves or try to learn kids names. So different from our experience with you guys. The kids dropped tennis within a few weeks and don’t do it now. Quality v quantity please please stick with quality
    9 hrs · Unlike · 1
  • David Kerr Cheers guys…the comments and thoughts back up how I was feeling – pretty open forum and I am sure lucky to have the friends I do who can be honest and give their own experiences and advice.
    2 hrs · Like · 2
  • Gail Watkins You do such a fabulous job with all that come your way, the kids all worship the ground you work on & they deserve the best. Thinking of coaching for the future, maybe could look at starting some of your top juniors to start coaching (1 on 1 or in small groups) the little kids after school to get them ready for the next stage after they’ve learnt the basics like hit the ball over the net, foot work, etc, also potentially sets you up for permanent coaches down the track & know what is expected.
    1 hr · Unlike · 1