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A Profile of USTA/Midwest Section Tennis Service Representatives

January 1, 2015 10:45 AM

It’s been eight years since Tennis Service Representatives were first introduced into the tennis community. Since then, the objective of our TSRs has remained clear – to provide service and support to those individuals and organizations who deliver tennis locally.  

TSRs serve as the face of the USTA/Midwest Section as they are most often the first (and most frequent) point of contact people have with our organization.  They play a unique role in helping to fulfill the USTA/Midwest Section’s mission to promote, develop and service the game of tennis.

Although this may sound simple, TSRs wear many hats on a daily basis, serving as a sales representative, a customer service representative, a tennis consultant and even a community relations specialist.  However, most of them never planned on spending nights in the basement of hotels because of tornados, traveling during blizzards or hurricanes, having their cars broken into, or surviving flat tires and even flying car magnets.  

Over the past eight years, TSRs have had to work through sometimes funny and challenging circumstances, but their efforts have created long-time, dedicated customers and tennis advocates across the USTA/Midwest Section.

“I’ve learned to not always trust my GPS,” said Bret Schrama, Illinois TSR. “I am traveling on roads barely big enough for one car, no shoulder, no street lights, just corn and darkness!  I finally get to the destination and it’s a farm house in the middle of nowhere – not my meeting my location!”  Luckily, Schrama was not far from his actual destination so he was able to make his early-morning meeting.

TSRs put a lot of miles on their car as they travel their territory identifying new opportunities for growing the game of tennis.  As a “sales representative” you will find your TSR at meetings, conferences, health and fitness fairs and festivals, community tennis events and programs, and at your local schools. You’ll find them at any club, park, or other organization that is promoting and offering tennis, looking to implement tennis programming, or one that has the potential to offer tennis services.  

When asked who TSRs meet with, USTA/Midwest Section TSR Manager Jim Amick responds with a question of his own.

“Who do we not meet with?  Yes, we meet with coaches, local tennis professionals and providers, and others involved in tennis, but we also meet with representatives or teachers from local schools and after-school programs, as well as local and state government officials” Amick said.  

Often those providing tennis services are volunteers, and this group can be a mix of people who are familiar with and passionate about tennis, or people who have never before played the game.  In either case, TSRs are usually the first person people call when they have a question, need assistance with a program, or just don’t know who else to contact.  Over time, TSRs get to know their customers very well, establishing partnerships that build a foundation for growing tennis in their respective territories.

“We are very aware that volunteers are the life-blood to helping grow the game, and as a result, many of our meetings are in the evening or on weekends since that’s when they are available,” said Amick.  “We get to know our clients very well.  They are not just clients, but also friends, and some are like extended family.”

After programs are put into place, the TSR’s role is far from over.  Often they are involved in promoting and even leading tennis activities. From Kids Tennis Club programs, to Play Days and Tennis Festivals, to school assemblies, training events and adult programs, the TSR is often the “tennis consultant.”  In this role, the TSR provides training and instruction, and serves as the conduit to the USTA/Midwest Section which provides equipment and other resources to help kick-start programs and make sure they are conducted properly.

Obviously, the hope is that once a program is introduced, it will continue to grow and draw more participants through the years.  The TSR is active in marketing programs within their territory and works closely with program coordinators and organizers in their efforts to maintain, grow, and evolve the programs they offer.

“It’s not just new programming that we focus on,” said Erika Wentz-Russell, USTA/Midwest Section TSR.  “Helping to maintain and retain successful programs within our communities is extremely important and ensures a growth plan for players of any age who want to continue to play the game.”   

TSRs work closely with the USTA/Midwest Section in using marketing resources and tools to help in this effort.
“You can find information about what’s happening in our respective communities from our website pages, our Twitter feeds, through our targeted e-mails, or by meeting with us at a community event,” said Cameron Currie, TSR Indiana.
In this way, TSRs are also helping to connect people in ways that help support players and providers alike.  They often serve as the bridge that helps people find the tennis programs and play opportunities they want.  They also help connect providers with each other, providing a means for solving problems, sharing ideas, and expanding services within their communities.

“Our job is never done,” said George Lowe, TSR for Michigan.  “There will always be more people to introduce tennis to, and more people who want to introduce tennis to others who may be looking for advice or support.”

TSRs are passionate about tennis and committed to making sure tennis opportunities exist for people of all ages and skill levels.  And as the face of the USTA/Midwest Section, they are focused on making USTA/Midwest a trusted resource for anyone on the front lines who is delivering tennis in our respective communities.

“The TSR initiative is one of the best things the USTA has implemented,” said Mark Saunders, Executive Director for the USTA/Midwest Section. “They play a key role in carrying the USTA message to our communities, but more importantly, they represent the passion the organization has for the game and our commitment to making it accessible for everyone.”

All of the TSR’s work takes place within a strategic framework that supports both USTA District and Section goals.  Each TSR has specific measurable goals that are consistent with the USTA/Midwest Section’s strategic business plan and mission of continually growing the game.

“It is fun!  We get to see the game of tennis where it has never been before. We get to see the growth of the game as it happens, and we get to see what works in getting both adults and kids alike excited about tennis,” said Lowe.

Midwest Tennis Service Representatives
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TSRHeader-Ohio_WV-Ben   TSRHeader-Michigan
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