There’s a reason that pickleball is the fastest growing sport in North America. Sure, it’s fun and accessible and it’s a good workout, but so are lots of sports and games. No, the real reason that pickleball is growing in popularity every single month is that it’s a great social activity.
Because a pickleball court is smaller than a tennis court, people can check in with friends, hold conversations with other members and bond with family.
The reason we all love pickleball is that we’re a community of players of all skill levels. And the most successful pickleball clubs aren’t always the ones with the most courts, or the lowest prices.
They’re the ones with the strongest communities. So if you want your pickleball club to thrive, you need to build a strong pickleball community among your members and players.
Here are five simple ways to do that.
1. Understand your members
There’s no such thing as a “typical” pickleball player. Some members will be serious competitors looking to test themselves through close matches. For some, they’ll be more interested in the number on the scales than the score on the courts. They could be any age, any gender, and from any background.
So if you want to build a new community of pickleball players, you need to understand who’s booking your courts. Using the right pickleball club management software will help you learn a little more about who your members are.
2. Find out what they like (and don’t just say “pickleball”)
So now you know who’s coming to your club and booking courts. But do you know why? Don’t settle for just knowing the demographic basics and making assumptions. Use that software to communicate with your customers. Ask them what they love about your club, and what they want to see more of.
Are they veteran players looking for the next challenger to prove their worth against on the court? They’ll want matches based on DUPR ratings to make sure they’re competitive.
Are they looking for fun family activities with a welcoming community feel (and a calm, relaxed space to unwind afterwards)?
Or do your members focus on fitness, using pickleball to pick up that heart rate and burn those calories in a fun, friendly way?
Chances are, you’ll have different groups of members looking for different things. And that’s absolutely fine. Pickleball is for everyone, so your community should be too.
3. Give them more of what they love
After you’ve heard back from members, start drawing up plans. Maybe you need to create new membership levels for each kind of person who joins your club – competitors who want the court five times a week, or social members who only head down on a Sunday.
It could be that you need to invest in different facilities – family locker rooms, or somewhere to grab a bite to eat after a game for example. By asking members ahead of time, you’ll have an idea of which facilities will be used and by how many people.
Or maybe you’ll need to really focus on running and marketing pickleball and tennis tournaments to appeal to your top competitors.
By responding to your members and giving them what they want more of, you’ll foster a real community spirit. As long as they’re always kept fully informed.
4. Stay in touch with your members
A strong community is all about strong communication. It’s no use investing into your club if your members aren’t aware of what’s new.
Making use of push notifications so that members instantly know about upcoming events, weather alerts, or confirmations and payment receipts keeps you in constant contact with your members.
They feel like you’re taking the time to speak to them, to communicate, and that will really start to build that all important community feeling.
5. Reward them with discounts and incentives
Finally, show your members how much you care, how much you love them being part of your community, by showing some appreciation.
Whether it’s discounts for renewing early and creating a stable network of familiar faces, or incentives to bring along family and friends to keep conversations flowing and your member list growing, giving something back to your members really creates a connection.
That connection, when it’s combined with the best possible experience, is certain to build a strong pickleball community throughout your whole club.
Software like Court Reserve doesn’t just help you manage your pickleball club, it can help you stay in contact with the community your club has created with a whole host of marketing features.
Schedule a call today to find out how.