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Things to Ponder As Our Kids Return to the Court

With tennis clubs and public facilities beginning to open back up for play, it occurs to me that we each need to give some thought to what will make us feel comfortable sending our kids back out to train and play. The graphic above was sent out by the club I belong to in Orange County, CA.

I’ve seen several discussions on social media about this very topic and thought it might be helpful to pose some of my ideas – and those I’ve seen suggested elsewhere – here for you to think about then share your thoughts in the Comments below. If you have additional ideas or questions, please add them. Of course, none of the information below is meant as a guarantee against contracting COVID-19. It is simply a list of ideas that may keep us all safer as we venture back out into the world. Please take whatever measures you deem necessary for you and your family.

For those not quite ready to return to the tennis court (count me among them), use our Tennis At Home resources here. And, most of all, stay safe and well!

General Precautions
  • Do not touch any common areas such as door handles, gate latches, etc. – all entries are opened and closed by facility staff (who wear masks and gloves).
  • Have hand sanitizer available on all courts and at the facility’s entrance/exit.
  • Players bring their own towels and drinks and dispose of them immediately after playing.
  • Do not use facility restrooms. Use the restroom at home before leaving for play.
  • No handshakes, high fives, fist bumps or other contact between players. Instead, maybe it’s time for tennis to adopt a slight bow or yoga-inspired “Namaste” at the end of play, maintaining at least 6′ distance between players at all times.
Suggested Precautions for Singles Play
  • Open one can of balls.
  • Only one person serves the entire session. That same person is the only one who touches the balls.
  • No side changes.
  • Each player brings his/her own towel and uses it only at the baseline.
  • Each player brings his/her own water and keeps it at the baseline.
  • Each player brings a folding chair to sit in at the baseline during what would be normal sidechanges.
Suggested Precautions for Private Lessons
  • Coach and player stand on opposite sides of the net throughout the lesson.
  • Only the coach touches the balls during play and during pickup.
  • If the player wants to work on serving, the player provides his/her own balls then picks them up and keeps them separate from the other lesson balls.
Suggested Precautions for Group Drills
  • Start small, maybe 3-4 players per drill group.
  • Use brightly colored tape to mark spots at least 6′ apart behind the baseline for players to wait their turn to hit.
  • Only the coach touches the balls during play and pickup.
  • Each player brings his/her own towel and water and keeps them in a designated spot at the fence. Use colored chalk or other means to ensure each player knows where to put his/her things.
  • Players use hand sanitizer on their hands and racquets before leaving the court.
Suggested Precautions for Doubles Play
  • Only play One-Up-One-Back format. 
  • Each player provides a can of balls which they mark with their name or initials in brightly-colored marker. Only serve with your own marked balls.
  • No high-fives or fist bumps between players.
  • No handshakes.
  • At the end of play, each player leaves the court separately, waiting for enough distance before the next player leaves.
Suggested Precautions for Tournament Play
  • Singles play only. No doubles play.
  • Players check in for their matches via an app.
  • Players report match scores via an app.
  • All communication between the Tournament Director and Players is handled via an app.
  • Each player provides his/her own clearly-labeled balls and uses only those balls to serve. 
  • One player per court is designated to change the score apparatus at each side change. Tournament staff wipe down the score apparatus after each match leaves the court. Players may also wipe down the apparatus as they come onto the court.
  • Players sit at opposite baselines during side changes on their own folding chairs.
  • Players keep their towel, water bottle, and other gear at least 6′ from the other player’s gear.
After Play
  • Use hand sanitizer to clean hands and racquet.
  • Place used towel and any other items (wrist bands, socks, shirt) into a plastic bag then tie it. Wash these items in warm or hot water as soon as you return home.
  • If possible, put on a clean shirt and remove tennis shoes and socks before getting into the car. Also, be sure to use hand sanitizer again before touching anything inside the car.
  • Dispose of the used tennis balls and can in proper receptacles.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water once you return home.


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