Home » Episode #486: The Pickleball Clinic and Beyond-With Co-Founders Aaron Reznik and Matt Slowinski

Matt Slowinski, a college junior when the pandemic struck, found himself at a crossroads along with his friend Aaron Reznik. With their academic lives interrupted and traditional internships inaccessible, Matt turned to his long-standing passion for tennis as a way to fill his time. For years, he and Aaron had coached private tennis lessons during the summer break.

As they sought to shape their uncertain futures, Matt's entrepreneurial nature shone through. Leveraging his skill on the court, he suggested the idea of hosting a tennis clinic. With Aaron's marketing acumen behind them, they curated their client base and launched First Serve Tennis. This not only allowed Matt to nurture his love for the sport but also provided an avenue for professional growth during a time when opportunities seemed scarce.

Matt and Aaron's journey, punctuated by adaptability and ingenuity, illustrates how they turned a period of global upheaval into a chance to further both their passion and careers in an unexpected, but highly successful, way.

They discuss their entrepreneurial experiences, the challenges of managing multiple sports academies, and their perspectives on the future of the pickleball industry. 

When it comes to community engagement and getting started, Reznik states, "We put together 3 clinics a day for little kids . . . 5 to 9 year olds, 10 to 13 year olds, and high schoolers. So between the hours of around 10 and and 4 PM, we were out there on the courts teaching clinics to these group of kids, maybe 6 to 15 at a time. And then we both realized, 'Alright . . . people love this. We're doing really well at this. We enjoy it. We love it.'"

Key themes discussed

  • Tennis lessons turned successful business during COVID.
  • Low-cost tennis academy grows and expands organically.
  • Evaluate time spent, prioritize for maximum return.
  • Pro players, coaches, clinics, and memberships offered.
  • Uncertainty surrounds investment in pro pickleball.
  • Workout recovery products becoming essential for gyms.
  • Pickleball brings people together and gives purpose.

A few key takeaways:

1. Aaron Reznik and his co-founder, Matt, got into pickleball without anticipating how significant it would become. They started playing the sport and became addicted, eventually leading to a transformation in their lives.

2. Aaron and Matt ventured into the world of sports academies, primarily focusing on tennis and pickleball. They started with low overhead business models for their academies and reinvested their profits into marketing, courts, and coaches.

3. They initially operated with a handshake agreement before formalizing their partnership as 50-50 owners. They haven't sought outside investment for their ventures, preferring to reinvest their own profits back into the business.

4. Aaron emphasized the growth potential in catering to the 95-99% of pickleball players who are largely unaware of professional pickleball. They see the most potential in engaging recreational players and providing value to the community through their academies and media outlets.

5. The surge in pickleball injuries may be attributed to new players who play excessively without understanding proper recovery techniques. Despite this, the sport has been transformative for many individuals, providing social connections and combating loneliness.

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