With the demands of being a tennis coach, it’s all too easy to get caught up in what is taking place on court and forget about the off-court factors that also contribute to a successful coaching career.
If you ask Mark Wylam, the brains behind ‘Sports Pros Connect,’ an online business dedicated to connecting coaches with players, one of the most important elements of success in the coaching profession is an effective marketing strategy.
Wylam first dabbled in tennis at the early age of three, learning from his dad who would eventually pass down his business ‘socialtennis.com’ after he passed away. In 2016, Wylam invested in the business full-time and returned to the court to coach tennis, giving him a full-circle view of the coaching business.
After rebranding ‘socialtennis.com’ to ‘Sports Pros Connect,’ Wylam’s mission is to connect players and coaches with academies and resorts all over the world. “Our main passion is to connect those who are looking for work or those who are looking for extra clients with the right contacts. We provide marketing pages for each client and help them with achieving their goals by promoting them on social media and putting people in touch with the right contacts,” said Wylam.
The mission behind the business points to the importance of marketing oneself within the coaching profession. In fact, Wylam has numerous examples of how effective personal marketing strategies have led coaches to more fruitful careers.
“One of our first clients was head hunted by three different country clubs in the first three months that she had become a member,” said Wylam. “She never advertised that she was looking for a job, but she did all the right things – promoted herself via social media, added her domain to business cards, used email signatures, leaflets and flyers, and made her page attractive to the potential employer. Within another month, she had started a new job in a different state as Director of Tennis.”
Not only does an efficacious marketing plan help coaches personally, but it can also make a profound impact on athletes as well. “Using only coaches within our community, one of our clients was able to set up a conference for coaches and players in the Philippines, said Wylam. “During this time she was able to raise funding for several players to come and train at her Academy full time for a year. These players would never have been able to afford this opportunity without this funding.”
So, what can coaches do in order to improve their marketing efforts? Wylam suggests three different strategies – social media, blogging and word of mouth.
Perhaps the most important of the three is the proper utilization of social media. “There are some coaches who use social media effectively, but I think the majority will admit that they could use it more efficiently,” explained Wylam. “Posting regular and up to date content via the various channels is simple and effective.”
Aside from a sound marketing strategy, Wylam believes that networking is equally important within the coaching profession. “Simply attending various conferences throughout the year can lead to so many more opportunities. Forgetting all the new information you learn from all the fantastic speakers out there, most conferences allow for ample time to connect with other coaches,” he said.
“You could meet a coach from a different location, learn from them, stay in contact and this could lead to a dream job. It may not be now, may not be in a year, but you never know when this contact could offer you your dream job. Social media and networking have so many positive outlooks, you just never know what the future could hold for you,” explained Wylam.
With ‘Sports Pros Connect’ coaches can not only increase their marketability, but they can also join an ever-growing network of likeminded coaches. According to Wylam, the community features coaches from 60 different countries across the world. If increasing your marketability is the goal, what better way is there to promote yourself to the world?
Coaching is a competitive field, and for coaches looking to promote themselves, Wylam offers this piece of advice: “Thousands of coaches move into (and out of) coaching every year. When you are new to coaching you need to learn from others. Find yourself a mentor, study how they work, let them watch over you, listen to their feedback and attend conferences. Conferences give you the ability to learn from others that you may not have the chance to do ordinarily. Learn from others, promote yourself, and be confident in the job you are doing.”
Within the coaching profession, it is vital to make connections and be recognized. With the help of innovators like Wylam, thousands of coaches are positioned to make a major impact on the sport of tennis.