If you’re like many, getting past your motionless quarantine has been a struggle. We are committed to safe training opportunities that keep the balance between new and old normals. Enter tennis.
Tennis is the ultimate socially distant sport, and Indianapolis has some skin in this particular game. As the home court of the Midwest section of the United States Tennis Association (USTA), which includes Chicago, our city hosted major professional tournaments for decades until 2009 and welcomes participants to the USTA’s regional recreational championships each year. A little something for your next water break: Before Mark Miles CEO of Penske Entertainment Corp. (ie IndyCar), he was responsible for professional tennis for men worldwide.
Whether you’ve never picked up a bat or since gym class, get ready to hug your inner Serena or Roger with these tips on how to get into the game safely.
Where to learn
Tennis isn’t just oversized ping pong, and it’s a lot more fun when you have the basic technique to collect the ball. Invest in a few lessons. Most clubs offer a class for non-members.
Tennis 101 at the Indianapolis Racquet Club (8249 Dean Rd., 317-848-2531)
Cost: $ 192 to $ 216
Duration: 1.5 hours, once a week, for 9 weeks
Details: This class streak at Indy’s largest tennis club has roughly four players per session, which is small which means more personal tuition. It is open to non-members and upon graduation you will receive half of an annual membership.
Start / Start the beginners class at the Carmel Racquet Club (225 E. Carmel Dr., 317-844-1177)
Cost: $ 250 to $ 273 per series
Duration: 1.5 hours, once a week, for 12 weeks
Details: This class series, open to non-members, has space for up to five players to learn the tennis ropes.
V1 Adults through Indianapolis Community Tennis Program (North Central High School, 1805 E. 86th St.)
Cost: $ 60
Duration: 1.5 hours, once a week, for 4 weeks
Details: This series of classes teaches five players each and coincides with the crash camp for beginners aged 7-14, making learning tennis a family affair.
Private lessons cheap
Contact the coach at a local college or high school and ask if there are staff or players giving informal classes. You don’t have to commit to several weeks at a time.
Where to play
Take advantage of the summer weather and open air by playing in one of Indy’s free public courts.
Garfield Park (2450 S. Shelby St.)
Number of dishes: 8
Advantage: Some of the places here are shaded in the early morning and early evening so that you can stay cooler than Federer in his Dri-Fit. Although they are known to be full by noon on weekends and after 6 p.m. on weekdays, the six standard and two single-only dishes typically have a short wait overall.
Disadvantage: no bathroom.
Pike High School (5401 W. 71st St.)
Number of dishes: 12
Advantage: Eight of the well-cared for dishes have backboards – a rarity – to hit on their own. In addition to its abundance of courts, the low fence between every other court keeps rolling tennis balls at bay.
Downside: You need to keep an eye on school games and practice before leaving for game time.
Wide Ripple Park (6376 Evanston Ave.)
Number of dishes: 6
Advantage: a quiet, wooded area, benches in the yard, some shade.
Disadvantage: They are popular. But you can watch pups frolic and frolic in the adjacent dog park while you wait.
Tarkington Park (45 W. 40th St.)
Number of dishes: 6
Advantage: Centrally located, toilets, great splash protection when the children want to cool off.
Disadvantage: The courses are not in the best shape, but beginners do not notice cracks and low nets.
Follow these professional tips for newbies to tennis.
- There are numerous courts in public parks and schools. Non-members are often welcome in racket clubs but pay a guest fee on top of the hourly court fees, which are typically around $ 20.
- In public courts, whether you’re a pickleball player or a tennis player, the rule of thumb is first come, first served. However, you may be asked to move if a pitch is reserved for a USTA league game.
- If the seats are full (and they have been to parks this summer) it is acceptable to ask the players when they will be done with them. Wait for a move to finish when playing a match.
- If one of your rogue tennis balls gets onto your neighbour’s court and someone could step on it, shout “Lassen” to alert them.
- Bring a folding chair to public courts as benches are often not readily available.
- Hit balls over the fence (accidentally), wear mismatched sportswear, sniff a shot – don’t sweat. There is no shame in a beginner game.
The COVID-19 rules
The USTA has set specific guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19 from happening at game time.
- As you probably know by now, you should keep the golden rule six feet apart. Skip high fives or handshakes for distant congratulatory applause and tap thugs on the net.
- Only use your own towels, water bottles, gear, etc., and avoid touching common surfaces such as court gates, fences, and the like. Bring hand sanitizer just in case.
- Although the USTA advises avoiding touching the ball by picking it up like the pros, it may not be easy for most novice tennis players. Bring your own balls and limit contact only to you and your opponent for a safer practice. If a ball rolls onto yours from another seat, try not to pick it up. Push it back with your racket or poke it with your foot instead.