IPRO Director’s Message—October, 2019

‘State of the Art’

Often it is good to reflect! For example, let us take the AmPRO organization. Some thoughts:

….In the mid 1980’s, a group of four helped to launch it. 

…The curriculum included over 100 pages of programming; half of that on instruction.

…Energy for learning and participating in classes was apparent throughout the country.

…There was a playing base with a greater percentage of youth and women than today.

…Over 40 instructor certification courses were held consistently over many years.

We have operated the organization since December of 1997. The demand for course enrollment has since declined. A changing Health and Wellness industry, demographics, and technology are some contributors to this reality.

We must concern ourselves with what is NOW, and try to recapture momentum with strong programming efforts, meaningful relationships across the board, and incremental growth in the following areas: youth and women play, greater college/university inclusion, and a better perception of our sport. Access needs to be provided at more venues. When large club organizations preclude youth from participation, we are at a standstill. Fortunately AmPro is aligned with the IPRO wing outside the USA. In Mexico and Bolivia, vast numbers of boys and girls across the age spectrum convene daily for playing, training, and enjoying the game. ‘There is a time for YOUTH.’ Currently, numbers of youth (under 19) playing in most locations in the USA are closer to zero. Forty is the new 18, a function of access and lifestyle. Our NGB recently marketed our sport as ‘fast & furious & fitness.’ Manufacturers, media, and others perhaps should use the moniker, ‘fun & fitness & friendly.’ And, what about the network with IHRSA, the athletic club conduit around the world? 

Numbers of players in the 1970’s and 1980’s were inflated; so enormous that many of those who jumped onto the ‘court club business bandwagon’ lost their shirts and more. The 14 million players was a hype and a myth; realistically the figure was around 5 million players. 

In closing, let us understand today’s reality, and move forward with workable ideas, forward moving motives, and strong relationships that help to sustain our infrastructure and allow for more opportunity and growth.

Gary Mazaroff

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