What makes a successful Tennis Academy? Part 2 - Where do you want to be?

Updated: Sep 4



Last month we looked at: - What makes a successful Tennis Academy? Part 1 – what do you want?

Just to recap my May ’20 blog – https:// www.topspinsa.com/post/

“So, what does a successful coach look like? I guess it all depends on the way you look at life and what you value. Words like “a great coach” or “a much-loved coach” or “a happy coach” comes to mind. What is your definition of the above? And how would you measure if you have achieved it?

If you choose to be “a happy coach” you could end up a “much-loved coach” with multiple students, which in turn makes you a successful coach. Or you could be called “a great coach” due to your technical abilities, but without being loved by your players, which could or could not make you happy – although outwardly successful… So, ultimately, I believe that your definition of what kind of Tennis Coach you want to be will greatly influence your vision and strategy for your Tennis Academy.

Remember your academy remains a business and all businesses need to be managed effectively with a vision, mission, strategy, and action plan to achieve your goals.”

It is so important to decide what you want and follow this as a guideline for your academy! As I have said before, it is the way you look at life and what you want out of life that give you purpose. What is your purpose?

So, Purpose is about defining who you want to be, what difference you can make and what your Tennis academy stands for. The next step is to simply put your ideas onto paper. By clearly defining your Vision, Mission, Strategy and Action plan you will help your team understand:

  • What you are trying to achieve

  • How you are going to achieve it

  • How you are going to measure it to track if you are achieving your objectives.

Not only will this help to motivate your team, but it will also enable them to make decisions independently.

Purpose, mission, and vision statements have some grey areas, and everyone have their own ideas about what it means. The way to success is to not merely “have” a written Mission and Vision statement, but to actually believe in it and “be” it – thus to have the will to execute what you believe in! If you don’t believe in what you have construed, don’t even waste your time on it because it will not work if you don’t consistently follow it yourself. I love the following as a simple guideline to a very confusing topic:

This is probably the most logic and practical summary on one page - Reference - https://www.aespire.com/

Remember the saying “be careful what you wish for”, well purpose is very much the same. Purpose is the WHY? Purpose is the reason you want to do something or make a difference to guide you in your decision making. Purpose is what you measure by the impact you have on others. Your purpose to have an academy could be (to be stinking rich, to be a happy person, to have a balanced life, to be good to others, to develop kids, to be the greatest no matter what), or whatever reason important to you, but it’s easy to see how these can and will influence making decisions in your business.

Once you have decided what your purpose is, you can start asking WHAT?” I advise following a 4-step approach to put your ideas to paper and this is probably the single biggest step to start, re-evaluate or improve your business/academy:

  • Step 1 – Mission statement

  • Step 2 – Vision statement

  • Step 3 – Revised Business Plan & Strategy (I’ve combined step 1 and step 2 in this BLOG, assuming that you have an existing business)

  • Step 4 – Action Plan to make it all happen and continuous evaluation of achievements

Remember, Keep it Simple – The reason why I start off with the Mission statement is that it is focused on the present and is actionable NOW.

MissionA mission statement is a simple statement that explains your tennis academy’s goals, and how you operate. It’s a summary of what your business does for its clients, employees, and owners. As I mentioned, it’s focused on NOW and it is immediately actionable.

  • What do we do?

  • Who are our customers?

  • What benefit/service do we provide?

  • How do we get there?

You should write a mission statement if you want to identify your business objectives and you want to get your employees, investors, and clients to understand what your academy is all about.

Vision - A vision statement is more inspirational or motivational. It focuses on the future and is more aspirational:

  • What do we plan or hope to be? What are our Goals for our business/academy?

  • Where do we want to be in 5 to 10 years?

In short: The mission is the “what” and the vision is the “where and what you want to be.” And remember your purpose - your whyshould guide you. Many organisations even include the purpose in their Vision statement.

The strategy and action plan represent the “detailed HOW”.

The following memorable and distinct vision statements may inspire you to write your own.


Here are examples of a few:

  • · Amazon: "To be Earth's most customer-centric company where customers can find and discover anything they might want to buy online."

  • · Ben & Jerry's: "Making the best ice cream in the nicest possible way."

  • · Google: "To provide access to the world's information in one click."

  • · Habitat for Humanity: "A world where everyone has a decent place to live."

  • · Hilton Hotels & Resorts: "To fill the earth with the light and warmth of hospitality."

  • · IKEA: "To create a better everyday life for the many people."

  • · LinkedIn: "Create economic opportunity for every member of the global workforce."

  • · Oxfam: "A world without poverty."

  • · Samsung: "Inspire the world, create the future."

Ok now we have a mission (answers to these questions):

  • What do we do?

  • Who are our customers?

  • What benefit/service do we provide?

  • How do we get there?

and a vision - (answers to these questions):

  • What do we plan or hope to be? Goals

  • Where do we want to be in 5 to 10 years?

What then? The next step is to generate a Business Plan and Strategy, followed by an Action plan to ensure it happens! So many great mission and vision statements have never resulted in any success due to having no strategy in place. Remember it is an end-to-end process to achieve something that you believe in and truly want to make happen! An essential ingredient to success is to get your team on board with believing in, and behaving according to the Tennis academy’s mission and vision.

Business Plan – This part of the process is basically to:

  • Check if you have a viable business idea when starting a new Tennis academy; or

  • If it’s an existing Tennis academy, put a monetary value to your new ideas and plans.

Taking your Vision and Mission statements into consideration, determine the total of your potential expenses. Points to consider here include: how many kids you need to gain; the cost of new equipment; bigger facilities; and better trained Tennis coaches. Whatever your goals are, build them into your existing strategy. Simply said a Business case is a normal income vs expense finance sheet over a 3 to 5-year period, with a Net Present Value calculation. If you have an existing business, you will revise and utilise your current business figures into a new Business Plan to reflect your goals.

Look out for a free Business Case Template in TopspinSA's next Blog!

Strategy – The experts have many definitions for strategy, but it comes down to one thing, it is an action to achieve your objectives (vision and mission) and if it does not work you should change it!

Here is but a few that I’ve googled:

“Business strategy can be understood as the course of action or set of decisions which assist the entrepreneurs in achieving specific business objectives.” - https://businessjargons.com/

“Business strategy is the firm's working plan for achieving its vision, prioritizing objectives, competing successfully, and optimizing financial performance with its business model.” https://www.business-case-analysis.com/

"...the direction and scope of an organisation over the long-term: which achieves advantage for the organisation through its configuration of resources within a challenging environment, to meet the needs of markets and to fulfil stakeholder expectations". - Johnson and Scholes

A business strategy can be defined as the combination of all the decisions taken and actions performed by the business to accomplish business goals and to secure a competitive position in the market. https://www.feedough.com/

The definition of strategy is a long-term plan of action designed to achieve a particular goal or a set of objectives. https://onlinemasters.baylor.edu/

So, what should be included in our business strategy? Remember again, to keep it simple and therefore break it down to answer these questions:

  • How can we achieve our goals aligned with our mission and vision statements?

  • How can we attract Tennis players to strengthen our market position?

  • What can we do differently to improve our competitiveness – e.g. Tennis coaches, Tennis training equipment, venue?

  • How do we react to unexpected and new market conditions?

  • What are the values and expectations of our stakeholders?

A SWOT analysis is a simple way to brainstorm a strategy session and add real value to a Business strategy. There are many analytical tools that you can use but again, keep it simple! In the S.W.O.T. analysis we break all ideas down into Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. You can see how integrated your Business Strategy and Business Plan are as every decision or objective normally have a cost to achieve or a reward when achieved. Therefore, in asking the above questions also think numbers - in order to include it in your business plan. If the numbers don’t work, then you need to rethink your goals. If your strategy doesn’t achieve your goals, change the strategy. Everything boils down to a numbers game.

Once you have written up your strategy, which is your plan to achieve your goals and objectives as set up in your purpose, mission, and vision statements, you need to action this plan.

To recap, we now have clarity about the following:

  • Where are we going and why do we want to get there?

  • What are we going to do along the way?

  • What does the roadmap look like to get us there?

  • What else are we going to use to get there?

  • Finally, what if things do not go according to plan?

Now for the last step…

Your Action Plan - An action Plan is your strategy broken down into actions or tasks. It is a vital part of the strategic planning process.

An action Plan is exactly what it says – it is a plan of action to make something happen by someone within an allotted timeframe according to a set of agreed standards. It is basically a checklist for the actions or tasks you planned and need to complete in order to achieve the goals or objectives you have set.

An action Plan is actually relevant to every step so far explained in this BLOG. If you want to do something, put a name and completion date to it, monitor it and it will happen!

  • Identify the task to achieve your goals

  • Identify how long the task will take

  • Identify what resources you require to achieve the task

  • Assign the task to a responsible person

  • Agree a date to start and a completion date

  • Agree how to measure progress and completion

  • Monitor the execution against set measures

There are very sophisticated planning tools but all you need is a piece of paper or an excel worksheet.

Herewith a simple Action Plan -


Remember nothing in life happens if not driven by someone, people need managers to guide them, help them and mentor them. These basic steps will help you to find direction if needed and to set clear goals for you and your team and hopefully take your Tennis academy to new heights.

I hope this helps you in some way to re-think or re-evaluate your academy or just to motivate yourself and your team to achieve more. Any comments will be most welcome.

Watch out for Part 3-5 of this BLOG series over the next 4 months, where I will cover the following topics:

  • Part 1 - Principles of a successful business – May/June

  • Part 2 - Develop a vision, mission and strategy for your Academy – June/July

  • Part 3 - How to market your service by “being your brand” – July/August

  • Part 4 - Be innovative - equipment and training gear – August/September

  • Part 5 - The characteristics and profile of a successful coach – September/October



About the Authors - Juan-Philip van Antwerpen has been playing tennis since he was 7, and played tennis for Gauteng province for 10 years. Received a Tennis scholarship at the Davenport University in Michigan USA and played for them for 4 years. He was appointed as the assistant Tennis coach for this respected University whilst studying his MBA which he achieved in 2019. He is the marketing manager for Beckwith & associates and manage their Kalamazoo office. Currently living in Kalamazoo, Michigan USA still enjoying his tennis.



Philip van Antwerpen - Is an entrepreneur and business consultant. Philip is an International certified project manager (PMP) with over 29 years of experience. He is a PRINCE2 Practitioner for the past 13 years and has several Agile qualifications. He is an experience Portfolio Manager and Strategic implementer. He has managed and set up several successful Project Management offices and for the past 11 years mainly been involved in turning struggling projects into successful projects.

He obtained his BSc (Qs) degree in 1990 and registered as a Professional Quantity Surveyor after successfully completing his board examinations in 1993. In the same year he received his Project Management Diploma from the School of Project Management.

He has been involved with numerous projects over the past 29 years. He has gained valuable experience as Senior Project Co-ordinator, Group Project Planner and Group Estimator for the Gold Fields Group in the project management fields. His experience as a Mining Investment Analyst, analysing and evaluating business opportunities, adds to his wide field of expertise. Worked at executive level for 3 years at OMInsure assisting with their turnaround strategy.

He formed Ants in 1998. In 2007 he co-founded Ants Training and Development to provide specialised project management services. He transformed Topspin SportGear into a successful on-line shop and well recognised brand.

Philip 0828048598

Email info@topspinsa.com

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