Our Serve: It Starts With a Court
When we talk about growing the game, often it’s about participation, or equipment sales, or leagues and lessons. But when you think about it, growing the game starts under our feet… on the tennis court itself.
It sounds basic, but you need a court to play this game. I know, you can start kids playing on temporary courts in driveways, on playgrounds and parking lots, in gyms, etc. But eventually, you need to get them onto courts designed for tennis — whether 36-, 60- or 78-foot courts. And to create the frequent players that this business needs to sustain itself and to grow, you need courts for them to play on — for them to play in leagues, take lessons and clinics, participate in round-robins and Cardio Tennis.
That’s why it’s so important to this game to keep facilities updated, renovated and playing and looking their best. For tennis centers, it’s important to give your players the type of surface that will keep them enjoying the game and coming back over and over. And a well-maintained court is inviting. When you see a court with torn nets, sagging windscreens and cracks in the surface — who’s going to want to play in those conditions? Not only is it unappealing visually, but it can pose hazards to players.
When courts aren’t maintained, they probably don’t get the use they should. It also is easier for management — or your local park and rec if it’s a public court — to make a case for getting rid of that court. And fewer courts aren’t what we need for this industry.
These are some of the reasons why we’ve done an annual Court Construction & Maintenance Guide for many years, along with running other construction stories throughout the year. This is a topic that all tennis providers need to know about.
There are a number of resources available to help you maintain your courts — and to help in building a tennis facility, too. One of the best, in my humble opinion, is “Tennis Courts: A Construction & Maintenance Manual,” which is co-published by the USTA and the American Sports Builders Association. In the interest of full disclosure, I have to admit my bias toward this manual: I worked with an incredibly talented “Joint Editorial Board” of court builders and designers to help update the current edition of the manual.
Our Court Construction Guide references topics and chapters in the manual, and we even reprint the “Annual Maintenance Planner” that appears in the current edition. Make sure you use this handy resource to keep your courts in top shape.
Your players, and this sport, deserve it.
See all articles by Peter Francesconi
About the Author
Peter Francesconi is editorial director of RSI magazine.