Elevating Player Engagement: How to Encourage More Players to Participate at Your Club

Player Matchmaking

Increasing player engagement at your tennis or pickleball club can have a huge impact on your bottom line and your club’s overall success. 

The more your players are engaged, participating regularly and enjoying your facilities, the more likely they are to sign up or stay as members. The more committed they are, the more money they’ll spend with you. 

Strong player engagement is essential for every club. So how do you increase player participation and elevate engagement to the next level?

1. Check and improve your club’s facilities to attract more members

The first step in improving player engagement is to make sure your club’s facilities are all up to scratch. Players won’t want to visit courts that are in-need of repair or resurfacing. 

Give all your facilities a full, comprehensive audit, checking everything’s in good, clean working order and looking for any areas where you could expand your services. 

For example, check you have enough lighting for outdoor, evening play. If you don’t have them already, consider adding floodlights to increase nighttime engagement. 

Do you have shaded, seated areas for spectators? If not, adding some dedicated seating could encourage more participation in events and tournaments. 

Court reservation software like CourtReserve can help you review court utilization across your club, to look for any specific courts or facilities that are being under-used. If you know where there might be a problem, you can investigate and see what you could do to improve facilities there that might increase participation. 

2. Host more tailored social events to match like-skilled players

Social gatherings are essential to build a strong member community at your club. The more players you have turning up for a social event, the more likely they’ll either stick around to play, or return at a later date. 

Potlucks, quizzes, and watch parties are all great opportunities for social interactions, but you can also build your community through social events on the court too. 

CourtReserve’s Organized Play module lets multiple members sign up for a single social event, and then uses an automated system to generate court placements based on player rankings. Partners can be linked too. 

This helps match players based on skill level, so everyone feels comfortable and confident, meeting with other members who share the same abilities and encourages more engagement during and after the event. 

3. Personalize player booking experiences to increase reservations

Following on from social events that match like-skilled players, when you’re not hosting an event, you should also look for ways to let members book court time with other players who they’ll enjoy a competitive game with. 

There’s nothing worse for player engagement than an hour of tennis with a massively mis-matched opponent, where you’re either thoroughly beaten or you barely have to move. 

Court Reserve’s player matchmaking feature lets members personalize their booking experience by finding suitable opponents based on skill level. As well as planning ahead, it also encourages spontaneous games and impromptu gatherings, both of which encourage more engagement, more motivation and more satisfaction. 

For pickleball, CourtReserve integrates directly with DUPR rankings to facilitate competitive games and tournaments.

4. Encourage healthy competition through a player league

Competition is an intrinsic motivator for many players. Many of us want to challenge ourselves and put our skills to the test against others. Holding regular tournaments – or an ongoing league – is a great way to boost participation and engagement in your club. 

League management software makes it simple to organize and facilitate year-round. By creating different leagues for different skill levels, you’ll add extra excitement and friendly rivalries, as well as encouraging ongoing participation over several months. 

Plus, tracking progress through rankings gives your players something to work towards, keeping them coming back again and again. 

5. Offer more coaching programs or 1-to-1s to boost participation

Sometimes the only thing that’s holding your players back from more participation is a lack of confidence. They don’t feel like they’re good enough to play more often or to take part in events and tournaments. 

Introducing a coaching program with drop-in sessions or regular weekly lessons can help elevate engagement with many different demographics. Even a one-off clinic with one of your professionals can drive a huge boost in participation. 
They can also be a great asset to promote one-to-one coaching sessions, driving revenue for your club. Event and staff management software like CourtReserve makes it easy to organize coaching programs and encourage players to take part.

6. Promote all your member benefits to elevate engagement beyond the court

Finally, focus on what each of your membership benefits offers to your players, and make sure they’re all aware of them. Promote the value of your court reservation discounts, your exclusive member-only events and other special offers members can take advantage of – whether that’s discounted refreshments, free use of other facilities or dedicated reward programs. 

There are lots of ways you can promote your tennis club, to both members and non-members. 

Use your membership management software to communicate regularly with your players, updating them on all your upcoming events, notifying them of special offers or last minute cancellation and reminding them of all the value they get with their membership. 

Stay front of mind with your members, and you’ll increase player engagement and player satisfaction. 

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How automating your club is directly related to acquiring and retaining more members at your club

Tim Owens
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