Being locked up isn’t fun. Especially when you can’t play fun, competitive sports such as tennis.
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“Just go on a run or do bodyweight exercises inside!” says your friends and family who don’t play tennis. (let’s be honest, they probably play something weird like lacrosse)
Good news. Playing tennis is entirely possible if you do it the right way. In this guide, we’ll go over how you can safely play tennis during, and immediately after the COVID-19 pandemic.
Check if your Local Tennis Courts are Open During the COVID Pandemic
If you’re itching to play tennis like me, you’ve likely driven or walked to your local courts only to find them padlocked shut. Fortunately, as the government begins to ease restrictions, tennis courts will be some of the first facilities to open up.
A large portion of golf courses across the United States are already open as of May. Tennis is just as much of a “non-contact” sport as golf, so there is reason for optimism.
Check Google Maps to see if your courts are “temporarily closed” or open. These notifications can frequently be outdated, so an in-person visit may be necessary. If it turns out your local tennis court (or club) is open, then congrats! Skip to the bottom of this guide to learn about how to play tennis safely and hygienically. If your courts are in a time out, then read on
Get Creative: Tennis Quarantine Style
If there is no way you can access an actual tennis court today, don’t fret. People across the country have been coming up with creative ways to keep the spirit of tennis alive.
Check out the video to the right for some inspiration. For the sake of not breaking valuables, we are not recommending you try this at home. Try and find an open area outside with lots of room.
A wall can be your best friend during the quarantine era. If you can find a flat, concrete wall with plenty of space to swing a racket, you may have struck gold. Many schools have something like this in their outside/recess areas. Use this opportunity to practice your strokes over and over. Repetition makes all the difference! Hitting against a wall represents a great opportunity to work on your control. Try to get 10 volleys in a row. Then 20, then 30, etc.
Hit with a Tennis Training Aid
Another great way to practice your groundstrokes, volleys, and serves is to hit against a tennis training aid. Start by filling up a weight with water or sand. Tie it to a strong rubber cord, and attach the other end to a tennis ball. You should be able to hit the ball as hard as you want, and it will rebound back to you.
Tennis training aids can even be used on a tennis court once they reopen—it takes the tedious yet frequent cross-court walk out of the picture. If you don’t have the tools to make one of these contraptions, the basic aids are available on Amazon here. Additionally, feel free to check out some of the more advanced tennis training models such as Billie Jean King’s Eye Coach Pro.
How to Play Tennis Safely and Hygienically During COVID-19
First things first: wash your hands immediately after playing tennis, even if playing with a family member you’ve been quarantining with. Contact-related tennis traditions should be avoided, such as post-match handshakes. If you are playing a match or set against someone you haven’t been quarantining with, avoid switching sides throughout the match. Virus particles can float in the air for longer than you’d expect (especially when heavy breathing from physical exercise is involved).
Obviously, use your own water bottle. We suggest changing racket grips every time you play, for maximum sanitation. Disinfect your racket after playing as well. If you prefer to be as safe as possible while playing tennis, bring two tennis balls that only you will touch—your hitting partner should do the same. As tennis courts and clubs continue to reopen across the country, we highly advise that you take all necessary precautions. Before attempting to play tennis, read your local community’s updates and recommendations, as situations can differ between cities. For further information on playing tennis safely, check out these tips from the USTA. Or, read about the focal point of this site, kids tennis.