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Meet David Hierck of A.T.L.D Arizona

Today we’d like to introduce you to David Hierck.

David, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I decided when I was 12 years old that I wanted to be a tennis coach when I grew up. I got my first opportunity at 15 when I was hired as the Junior Tennis Pro at my local club, and I have been coaching ever since.

My Junior playing career led to a tennis scholarship at Lindenwood University outside of St. Louis, Missouri, where I completed my degree in Sports Administration. After graduation, I returned to my home country of Canada and worked for a number of tennis clubs and recreation centers around Vancouver.

In 2012, after having worked for many clubs and rec centers throughout Canada and the US for the prior 12 years, I decided to start my own company, and founded A.T.L.D Vancouver. My small team of coaches and I were fortunate to find a lot of success in Vancouver, and people were attracted to our combination of tennis knowledge/experience, friendly on court interaction, and reasonable prices. Soon we were working with an average of 150 clients per summer season.

Vancouver was a great place to live and work, but 6 months of cold, rainy weather is not ideal for tennis. Having always been attracted to warm weather, my family and I decided to move to Arizona and arrived in Chandler in July of 2016, changing A.T.L.D Vancouver to A.T.L.D Arizona. I have been thrilled to have received a warm reception in the community, and in the first year of operations, A.T.L.D has provided tennis lessons for nearly 100 individuals in the East Valley.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
The path to making A.T.L.D a successful business has been fairly smooth. While there have been some small challenges along the way, such as dealing with the extreme summer weather in the Phoenix area, and scouting out courts that are central to my clients and open for lessons, I have been fortunate to have seen an immediate positive response to my lessons in this area.

I attribute the relatively smooth path to the gradual route I took to business ownership. Rather than jumping right in at 18, I made the choice to get my education in a relevant degree, and spent many years learning from great coaches and facility managers in a multitude of places. When I decided to launch my own company, I was able to lean on those prior experiences to make for a smooth transition.

A.T.L.D Arizona – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
A.T.L.D Arizona is a provider of private, semi-private, and small group tennis lessons. It is a mobile company, and I try my best to accommodate my clients in regards to their preferences in lesson times and court locations.

The main thing that I feel separates A.T.L.D lessons from other lessons is that I try to provide a total lesson experience. Over the course of my coaching career I have witnessed too many lessons that I felt were one dimensional: Some coaches were excellent on the technical aspects of the game, but were not good at interacting with and engaging their clients. Others were incredibly jovial and social, but seemed to lack the playing ability and technical knowledge to really improve their client’s games. A.T.L.D tries to be a one-stop-shop in this regard: I want you to learn as much as possible from a technical standpoint, but I also want you to truly enjoy the hour you spend on the court with me.

A.T.L.D is also an independent company. By being free of any tennis clubs/centers and their associated fees, I am able to keep costs lower for my clients. I also provide bulk packages for lessons that can considerably lower the rate. It is my aim to make tennis relatively affordable and accessible to everyone, (both in price as well as in my flexibility in terms of times and lesson locations), which is something I feel is an essential part to ultimately growing the game in America.

What is “success” or “successful” for you?
I define success for my business in a few ways. For my clients, I am of course looking for them to achieve their playing goals. For some, this can be as simple as being able to rally with their spouses. For others, it may be more achievement based, and include success on their school team, the obtaining of a college scholarship, or success at their local club or city tournament.

I also consider my clients enjoyment of the lesson to be a marker of success. It is not enough for me to feel like my client obtained some tennis knowledge while they were with me. I also want them to enjoy the hour or two that they spend with me during our sessions.

On a personal level, I consider it a successful day if I come home tired but content and stress free, which, when you get to play tennis and interact with interesting people for a living, comes pretty easily.

In terms of numbers, I pay attention to the number of clients I work with per year, as well as the number of clients who come back season after season to continue advancing their games. If those numbers go up, I consider it a successful year!

Pricing:

  • Private lessons: $40/hour (can be reduced by as much as $10/hour with bulk packages).
  • Semi-private lessons: $50/hour ($25/person). Can also be significantly reduced with bulk packages.
  • Hitting sessions: $30/hour. For those clients who are further along in their games, or who are looking for a great workout.
  • Group lessons: $10-20/session depending on group size.

Contact Info:

Getting in touch: VoyagePhoenix is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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