Samasam Tennis, a Gujarat based venture aiming to make Tennis mainstream sport in India
In this cricket frantic nation of ours, tennis is just another sport. Tennis has always been a side sport to which the masses have never taken a favorable liking. The Indian torch in this sport was kept burning by Vijay Amrritraj initially, then came the team of Mahesh Bhupati and Leander Paes whose legacy was taken forward by Sania Mirza who brought glamour to the sport in India and now Somdev Devvarman is looking promising. Amidst this bits and pieces of glory, exist very few tennis academies and hardly any tennis counseling firms.Devinder Singh Bhusari was a pioneer in the field of tennis counseling. His firm Samasam tennis provides two kinds of services: Tennis Coaching and Tennis counseling.
Tennis Counseling refers to training on the mental aspects of the game namely, Strategy and Tactics and Match Temperament. To know more about this one of its kind firm, YourStory.in caught up with Devinder Singh himself.
When and why was Samasam Tennis started?
Samasam Tennis was founded in August 2010. I have played tennis at the International Level- I am a former Asia no. 1 (U-14), First ATP Ranked Player from Gujarat (Career High #1331), Eklavya (Junior) Award- Winner. I am one of the most prolific players from Gujarat State who made it big at the international stage.
I am an MBA in Human Resource from Symbiosis, Pune- (full time residential programme). I have a passion to train the next generation of tennis players and make them world champions. I have given up a very high paying corporate job with India's biggest company - Indian Oil Corporation- to start Samasam Tennis; my passion.
Tell us about the academy in details.
We offer two main services- Tennis Coaching and Tennis Counseling.In coaching, we offer various types of coaching- focused group coaching, personal coaching and specialized coaching package (for just one stroke)- More details available at http://www.samasamtennis.com/index.php/coaching/
Counseling is very unique. And we are doing some really exciting work. And we call ourselves the Tennis Doctors!
We offer counseling on almost all tennis topics - ranging from equipment, diet, fitness to match strategy and temperament.
What is your revenue model?
We are more like professionals right now, as opposed to businessmen. We charge per session fees for coaching and counseling. Sometimes we offer combined packages for a pre-defined period- say a week.
How do you plan to maintain the momentum you bring along with you?
We are very clear that our best promotion will be the performance of our students. We are only as good as our students' performance. Of course the players and their parents word of mouth is also vital.
We also write a blog on tennis every week-with the aim to establish our expertise in the field of tennis - blog again covers the entire spectrum of tennis activities - the strokes, technical instructions, mental tips etc.
Link to the blog: http://www.samasamtennis.com/index.php/blogroll/
Who are you targeting?
For coaching- we are only looking at players who want to make it big in tennis and play tennis at a good level. (We do not train beginners). For Counselling- The market is again all parents and players competing in tournaments and want to strike it big.
What are the biggest challenges faced in this space?
- To communicate the need of the counseling service to the parents- Since the service was non-existent before we started.
- Since I am a coach too, generally other coaches would not recommend their trainees to take counseling from me as opposed to I were only into counseling.
How did you finance the start-up?
Around Rs. 2 lakhs- which were taken from family and from my personal savings.
I am focusing on the services aspects only- I haven't ventured into the capital intensive services
How big is your team? Where are you based?
As of now, It is just me- the founder. No permanent employees or partners as of now. Samasam Tennis is based in Ahmedabad. I have taken help from friends for promotion.
Tell us about the strategic partnerships that helped you scale.
I work part-time as a coach at Shrimal Bhatt Tennis Academy(SBTA) at AUDA-NEO-PITA tennis courts in Ahmedabad. Most of the coaching students and quite a few of my counseling students are the trainees of SBTA. And Mr. Shrimal Bhatt (my coach when I used to play competitive tennis) has been very generous and helpful.
Tell us more about your expansion plans.
I am looking at promoting our counseling business and getting a lot of national clients.
Once we have established ourselves as wonderful service providers in counseling, we shall get into other services like fitness training, sports management etc.
What kind of support are you looking at from YourStory.in readers?
I would like to team up with passionate persons who want to make a difference in the field of sports. I am open to tips, ideas, feedback, suggestions, mentoring. If you like my service and the work that I am doing kindly spread the word. Let the next World Champ from India benefit from what I have to offer.