Where Are They Now? Wes Lemke, PTU
Wes Lemke shares how his experience in the Cliff Drysdale Tennis PTU program at John Newcombe Country Club prepared him for a successful transition to Director of Racquets at The Clubs at Houston Oaks in Hockley, Texas!
What originally prompted or inspired you to join the PTU program?
I really enjoy connecting with people and making their lives happier, healthier, and better. I also love tennis and have spent almost my entire life training and playing. Coaching tennis is the perfect opportunity to combine those two things, but I just didn't have much coaching experience. I found the PTU program and on paper it was the perfect way to get training and experience that I had hoped (but doubted) existed. In reality it's a program that was even better than I had expected. Right from the start I was on court, connecting with people and getting tons of experience, but with all sorts of opportunities to get feedback and to grow and improve as a coach. All of this came packaged with classes designed to familiarize us with CDT processes and operations, so that down the road we would have a built-in path for advancement within the company that had invested in our growth.
What would you say has been your biggest growth area since starting as a PTU to now?
I have absolutely grown as a coach in basically every way. I have more and better technical knowledge, better technical skills (feeding and demonstrations), and I am far better at engaging with and managing groups of players, both children and adults. I think my most important development is with engaging with players better. It doesn't matter how great your technical knowledge is if people don't care to learn from you.
How did the PTU program prepare you for a leadership position at CDT? Any challenges along the way?
Obviously the on-court experience helped me develop into a better leader in a lesson and clinic setting, but the classes in the PTU program were even more beneficial when it came to my development as a potential leader for CDT. CDT has outstanding structures and operations in place - as it must, to run as many clubs as there are under the Cliff Drysdale umbrella. The amazing thing about PTU classes is that they give you some generally useful instruction, but they also focus very specifically on how CDT operates. Taking those classes is the perfect preparation for working as a director, because you get practice doing the exact tasks you will be asked to do as a director.
What are you currently working on from a career development standpoint?
I'm always trying to increase my own coaching knowledge and discover new and better ways to help and communicate with players. One area in particular where I'm doing this more than others is with pickleball. I didn't interact much with pickleball during my time in the PTU program, but Houston Oaks has dedicated pickleball courts, and a LOT of people interested in playing. So I've been expanding my own knowledge about the game so I can coach it more effectively, and I've also been experimenting with the best ways to expand my programming options so that I can cater to players' fascination with pickleball. It's a work in progress, but so far it's been a great process.
Describe a typical day for you as Director of Racquets at The Clubs at Houston Oaks.
I start my day just making sure that everything is set for morning clinic(s) (water, balls, etc...), I then run my clinic(s), and I will often follow with a lesson. After that lesson I typically head to the club's employee grill for lunch (an amazing perk of working at Houston Oaks). From there I usually have a little bit of time to take care of various administrative tasks (billing, Teams meetings, filling out various reports, corresponding with club staff about anything going on). My afternoons and evenings have filled up with a lot of after-school junior lessons, so I end my days with lessons and then texting and emailing members about any lessons or clinics that I have going on the next day!