Ready to serve up some new friendships, ace your fitness goals, and rally for adventures near and far? Starting a sports club might just be your match point.
When I traded Melbourne’s nightlife for Sydney’s beaches, I braced myself for what some articles dubbed “the unfriendliest place on Earth.” My reality? Entirely different, thanks to sports clubs.
Your social standing in Melbourne is directly proportional to your knowledge of the trendiest (i.e. not yet on Broadsheet) bars, restaurants and galleries. But Sydney? Oh, it’s an entirely different ball game – literally.
Here, it’s about what sports club you’ve affiliated with – usually before the crack of dawn – followed by where you’re meeting for coffee. My initiation came from being coaxed to join the 440 run club (the sadistically early of the lot). And suddenly, I had an instant community. It was incredible for making friends, getting fit and starting my weekend in the most smug way possible.
Like what you see? Sign up to our bodyandsoul.com.au newsletter for more stories like this.
But the real jackpot has been the tennis club, which I unexpectedly helped co-found but can now claim sole name rights to. We are called “Hitz & Spritz”. What began as a single item on my buddy Laura’s bucket list has evolved into a solid friendship group.
Are you keen to expand your social circle or ride the Matildas’ explosive “Yeah the girls” women’s sports wave? A quick tip: sports clubs are your golden ticket.
Here are the five most important lessons about starting and maintaining a sports club. Because while starting a sports club can be an absolute ball, you might also get thrown a few curveballs along the way.
1. Pick your leader
It was all casual “Let’s start a tennis club” banter until Laura, our newfound Sydney-sider from Newcastle, grabbed the reins. She wasn’t just throwing ideas around; she was on a mission to find her tribe in a new city.
Here’s your gold nugget: Every club’s backbone is a strong leader with a compelling ‘why’. Laura was ours. She curated a group of us on Instagram (whether by magic or genius, we’re still not sure), reserved a court, and set the date: the last Saturday of February.
The kicker? Most of us barely knew each other. But with Laura’s diery determination, everything fell into place. She did the heavy lifting—booking, chatting, galvanizing. So, what is the key takeaway? Every chief needs a deputy. When Laura went on holiday, we quickly learned the value of a trusty number two, always on standby to keep the tennis ball rolling. It’s more about having eager hands ready than waiting for hands to go up.
2. Stick to a winning recipe
From day one, we struck gold with a simple yet fail-proof formula: one hour of tennis (Hitz) followed by an unscripted session (Spritz) that has since spanned restaurants, pubs, and even the movies (yep, it was the week Barbie came out).
This last Saturday of the month ritual quickly turned sacred, regardless of who could or couldn’t attend. Miss a month? No fuss; catch the next round. It’s about maintaining consistency for the benefit of the group over personal preferences; if you’re in our core group, you always have a standing invitation for the next month.
While spontaneous gatherings do pop up, they’re delightful extras, never replacing our core ritual. This consistency has helped us become the ‘Hitz and Spritz’ family we are today.
3. All about the look (and a laugh)
Sure, our tennis skills span from “prodigy” to “whacked it the wrong way… again”, but here’s the catch: it’s not about the tennis. It’s about the collective vibe, the laugh-out-loud moments, and – let’s be real – looking good while doing it.
So, how do we raise the style stakes? Tennis-inspired activewear. Over time, tennis skirts have made their way into our wardrobes, and every month, we debut our on-point look in a group snap and video.
Five minutes before our match ends, we snap pictures that flood our Instagram feeds, serving as a cheeky attendance register. Our in-house designer, Alicia whipped up a logo, and our custom Hitz & Spritz tees were born. Because, let’s face it, no merch means you’re just playing around. Dive into the spirit, dress the part, and let the good times roll!
4. Curating the crew
Flooding our Hitz & Spritz content on our social media had a ripple effect – our friends clamoured to join in. But here’s the twist: a thriving group dynamic can be as delicate as a house of cards.
While we’re all about welcoming new racket-wielders, we realise that not every addition is a perfect fit. So we’ve zeroed in on a golden rule: Bring along your mates for a match, sure, but they get the green light into our group chat only after a little ‘vetting’. It’s not gatekeeping; many have made the cut, it’s simply ensuring the magic stays intact.
5. Adventure beyond your home court
Sure, Rushcutters Bay is our home turf, but who says tennis can’t be an adventure? We turned our monthly matches into Sydney safaris, booking in different neighbourhoods, playing, staying, and venue-hopping afterwards. Take note: Unlike Melbournians, Sydneysiders tend to stick to their own ‘burbs. We’re changing that game, one serve at a time.
Our wanderlust took a wild turn when a Jetstar sale got us plotting our own “Byron Open.” Destination? The very luxurious Elements of Byron. Not only did this absolute paradise offer free court hire with our stay, one surrounded by lush greenery, but it also included racquets, saving our 7kg hand luggage woes!
Elements also aced hosting our large group. Our gang of eight nestled perfectly into two adjacent and beautiful two-bedroom villas. Our ‘Hitz’ was perfectly accommodated with free court hire, followed by amble locations for our ‘Spritz’ – our favourite being the adults-only pool with its beckoning swim-up bar. Convenience, luxury, tennis – it’s a trifecta we’re ready to repeat!
Looking back at the beginnings of our tennis club, I can’t help but wonder: What have I left ouf of the story? Because ‘Hitz and Spritz’ isn’t just about serves and volleys; we’re more than a tennis club. It is our sanctuary where egos vanish, and genuine vulnerability takes its place.
So, why not create your version of ‘Hitz and Spritz’? Forge those bonds, design that merch, and pave the path to your adventures. And while you’re at it, pencil us in; we’ll be expecting you on the opposing side of the court at the next “Byron Open” at Elements next September!
Elements of Byron is Luxury Accommodation in Byron with world-class health and wellness facilities set beachside amongst nature. It is perfect for any size group, and you can learn more about the resort here.