Head of Marketing
The Avenue Tennis is a charming club located in Havant, Hampshire. Providing an inclusive community for over 1000 members where people of all ages and abilities can meet and play tennis, is the biggest aim of the club. You might not believe it at first glance, but The Avenue also swears by the possibilities of innovative high tech. The club has 17 courts, ten of which are grass seven are all weather courts including four artificial clay and three synthetic grass – one of them equipped with Wingfield.
Driving change, moving forward.
In order to stay ahead of the curve and to improve their own offering, tennis clubs should always be open to any kind of innovation coming to the markets. Easy to say, in the end there always has to be this one innovator at a club driving change and putting new ideas on the table. Ashley Neaves, coach at the club, is this guy at the Avenue.
With Wingfield he brought cutting-edge technology to the club – a fantastic tool to start to incorporate a more digital touch into the club’s tennis approach. As far as members go, The Avenue has quite an older demographic. Thus the investment was intended to make the club appear more innovative and attractive – especially for younger generations who are really into their tech.
Wingfield created a real buzz – inside and outside of the club.
Since Wingfield was brought along, court eleven (the Wingfield Court) was booked out most of the time. The kids and younger adults loved it from the beginning on. And although it took a little while for the older generation to get familiar with it, the most critical ones are now the players that are using it the most. People are talking about their fastest serves, trying to beat the coaching team in Wingfield Drills but also comparing their drill high scores or rankings against other players in the club.
„When you actually start using it, you realize how useful it can be.”
Eve, member at The Avenue
Once word got out, the club became a bit of a local attraction. Since the head stringer of Wimbledon strings the members’ rackets at the club, a few professional tennis players sometimes come down to get their rackets strung and customized. Now they are using Wingfield to compare between rackets and different weights to see how it impacted the speed of their shots. It’s all about being creative to unleash the full potential of the court.
A real mix of people using Wingfield
To make the new opportunities quickly become the norm, it was essential that the coaches incorporated Wingfield into their training. They worked out new approaches for their tennis program using Wingfield for video or match analysis. The integration made practice sessions more interactive. Dedicating a video analysis session to a player’s technical problems for instance, not only helps them to understand their faults even better but also conveys the feeling of being looked after individually.
All in all, a real mix of people use the Wingfield court. A few of them take the clubs ball machine down to practise their forehands and backhands whereas others come alone with a few balls to practise their serves. The Wingfield Court can become addictive in a way. Once you play a Drill and see your performance score immediately on the court, you just want to get better and better.
But the most common use for the Wingfield court is during match play. Players love hitting practice sets on the Wingfield court and watching themselves back and comparing their match stats – insight that previously only have been available to players on the tour.
„The stat that I probably like the most is the height above the net. I’ve never even been thinking about that before.”
Becky, member at The Avenue
Free service to encourage people to play more tennis.
The initial plan when bringing Wingfield to the Avenue was basically to attract a younger demographic trying to get teenagers playing more tennis, getting young families into the club as well as trying to help current members to get more out of their game. And as far as the club goes the plan worked out. The Avenue got a lot more junior as well as adult members at the club using the Wingfield Court.
Of course, it would be presumptuous to claim that people have only joined the club because of Wingfield. Rather, it is the holistic approach and the idea of tennis at The Avenue. In the end, it’s about setting up a club in an innovative and future-oriented way to inspire players to play tennis in the long term. In the case of The Avenue, the use of technology in playing and training is one of many pieces of the puzzle. Thus the club decided not to additionally charge members for using Wingfield. People should be able to get more out of their game with the possibilities the court offers them. As soon as you put a charge on something it is a deterrent – although people would be more than willing to pay for it.
„A clubs goal should be to stay in the sport for longer and to play more frequently. Wingfield is one of the best ways to do that.“
Ashley, Coach at The Avenue
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