Rick Willsmore
Rick Willsmore

Rick is the founder of Scarborough Tennis Academy. From just a few players in the beginning (2007), the tennis academy has grown over the years to now boasting up to 350 players per week. In 2010, Scarborough Tennis Academy was awarded finalist in the renowned Stirling Business Awards.

Rick’s coaching credentials include being a certified Club Professional, qualified Talent Development Coach, a Bollettieri level 1 coach and coach to several juniors with rankings as high as 6 in Australia.

We spoke to Rick recently about his passion for tennis and business:
What do you like about tennis?

Tennis is a challenging sport and as you get to higher levels is really very fast paced and intuitive. I love the mental challenges that tennis provides which is normally in between the points.
What is your professional background?

After playing junior tennis in South Australia competing in state and national level tournaments I spent a year in US college tennis system on a scholarship. After a brief university stint doing international business I decided to become a full time tennis coach. I moved from Adelaide to Darwin to work at Gardens Tennis Complex while I did my level 1 coaching course.

After a couple of years I moved to Perth to take up level 2 coaching course and worked as an assistant coach at North Beach Tennis Club and The State Tennis Centre. I then moved to the UK to work for a year under the British Fed Cup captain, Nick Brown at Next Generation Cambridge Lakes.
I returned to Perth to set up the Scarborough Tennis Academy.

I have small business qualifications at TAFE and attended an endless number of courses on business, marketing and human performance.

What plans do you have for Scarborough Tennis Academy?

My plans are to further develop the player pathway from beginner through to elite junior. I also believe the club has some new directions to go and look forward to keeping membership high in a demanding time for clubs.

What challenges do you face?

There are always challenges with business.
Keeping clients happy and ensuring the tennis club has the right balance of enterprise and community. Ensuring that staff are providing quality lessons at all times whilst making sure that we are always innovating so that the business and club doesn’t get stale.

You believe in “Treating business like sport” – tell us more about this?

Sport and Business are the same thing. Both require goal setting, discipline, dealing with adversity and celebrating success. You also need to look at your competition but not at the expense of focusing on your own game.

I believe that as business owners we should be training to improve by attending workshops, courses, reading books etc. Like sport, business gives me the opportunity to be creative and with business and sport we should both strive to be the best we can be.
You are actively utilising social media such as Facebook & Twitter and tennis management software such as SportLogic inTennis. How are they impacting you and your business?

Technology is so important in a tennis business and also tennis coaching. As far as a tennis business goes, having a Facebook ‘like’ page is essential to create a community of supporters.
The status updates should not be all advertising but sometimes educating and sometimes just fun.
SportLogic software combines a whole lot of old systems such as Excel spreadsheets, court hire, daily takings sheets along with saves time with invoicing with a one click invoices all. To be a professional business in this day and age this type of technology is a must.

Twitter I use with some performance juniors who tweet their training diaries to stay accountable.
They also need to follow other tennis players and athletes/mentors to gain an insight to what its like to be a professional.

Who is your favourite tennis player?

Rafael Nadal and Lleyton Hewitt. I love a fighter.

Any advice for beginners or aspiring tennis players?

Practicing rallying to each other. This can be from in close or with modified balls. Forget about hitting winners for a while. The early focus should be on cooperation not competition.
Stay relaxed and take some deep breaths before starting each rally.


About Scarborough Tennis Academy

Scarborough Tennis Academy is based at the Scarborough Tennis Club which is located on Abbett Park, Deanmore Rd in Scarborough WA. Rick can be contacted on 0430 110 848 or by email at info@scarboroughtennis.com.au.

For more information, visit the Scarborough Tennis Academy website.

Tennis Venues