Holding Court in Bluewater
Brett Beattie Holds Court in Bluewater
Sometimes thinking small can serve up big returnsBy Christy Kearney
Tennis professional Brett Beattie is finally teaching tennis his way — in a small, personalized environment and on his own terms. The Florida native found his way to the Emerald Coast six years ago with his wife, Kara, and son, Grant, and quickly made an impact on Northwest Florida’s tennis scene. After four years working with the award-winning Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort tennis program, Beattie decided to set out on his own and start Emerald Coast Tennis in January 2009.
Based on three hard courts in Bluewater Bay’s pine tree-bordered Gleneagles neighborhood, Beattie’s infant tennis organization has already taken big steps to make a name for itself within the local tennis community. With more than 75 active players including some of the top-ranked local juniors and highly competitive ladies’ teams, Emerald Coast Tennis proves that being super-sized isn’t the only way to be successful in sports.
EC Magazine recently sat down with Beattie to learn more about what he’s serving up at Emerald Coast Tennis.
EC: What inspired ECT?
BB: After 25 years of teaching, I was ready to do tennis differently. I worked in larger clubs my entire career, and I’ve always dreamed of running a smaller, more personalized training organization. I began talking to Mike Duggan, owner of Recreation Services Inc. in Bluewater Bay, about three years ago. He was getting ready to renovate three courts in my neighborhood, and the idea for Emerald Coast Tennis was born.
EC: What’s the best part of owning your own business?
BB: Having the freedom to completely focus on training and tennis without the sometimes stressful demands of larger clubs. Not only do I love tennis as much as ever, but I am able to teach in a more relaxed environment.
EC: Do you specialize in anything as a coach?
BB: Much of my experience has been in junior player development and ladies’ team training. One of the things I have been most excited about is the ECT Junior Traveling Team. I attend tournaments with the team to encourage them, give feedback and support them in every way I can. When we get back on the courts the next week, I can focus on what each player needs to work on to be the best he or she can be. It’s been very rewarding to see our ECT juniors thrive in local tournament play.
EC: What makes ECT unique?
BB: Because we work on three courts, we are physically limited in the number of players we have on the courts at once — and that’s intentional. I don’t want any players to get lost in the shuffle, which can easily happen when there are a dozen courts running at the same time. The more intimate environment enables us to give the attention of private lessons in almost everything we do.
EC: What has been the key to your success?
BB: I think people instantly feel comfortable because we are located in a neighborhood. We provide high-level training in an unintimidating environment. Just because we are a smaller operation doesn’t mean we aren’t serious about tennis. We take a personalized approach with a focus on fundamentals, so our players are quickly finding success on the courts. When they are confident in their play, they are having more fun — which really is the point of playing in the first place.
EC: So, what’s next for ECT?
BB: We’ve already started working with residents in Kelly Plantation and Swift Creek in Niceville, offering lessons and clinics. That’s the beauty of ECT — we have our small headquarters in Bluewater, but we can travel anywhere along the Emerald Coast.