Dress Up Tennis Courts

Brogan, chairman of the American Sports Builders Association, says he has yet to hear complaints from a customer who has had the new lines put on. In part, this is because lines for 10U play are generally a different color from those of the existing lines, and are unobtrusive to those who have been playing for years.

The book, Tennis Courts: A Construction and Maintenance Manual, notes that while the use of dedicated QST courts is preferred, “both the ITF [International Tennis Federation] and USTA agree that painting QuickStart lines on 78-foot tennis courts is acceptable, even on courts used for competition, except those used for Davis Cup, Fed Cup, and ITF-sanctioned matches. Painted lines for QuickStart courts should be a color within the same color family of the 78-foot court surface (e.g., light-blue on a dark-blue court). This differentiates QuickStart playing lines from the lines of the 78-foot court.”

If the playing lines on the regular court are white, for example, the new lines should not be white, nor be any other color that might easily be mistaken for white (such as grey).

“We have striped a lot of shared lines on various colored courts,” says Lee Murray of Competition Athletic Surfaces inChattanooga,Tenn.“Using a color several shades darker than the playing area is the best solution. Adult players aren’t as distracted when the Quick Start lines are darker than the playing area and farther from the color of the white lines.”

Complete information, including court diagrams, can be found at www.10andundertennis.com/

The Learning Experience

To reinforce the facility’s ability to host new players, make it welcoming to those who want to teach. This type of court should have the following: 

  • Electrical outlets. These are helpful for using teaching equipment, such as ball machines. If several courts are in a battery, there should be multiple outlets so extension cords don’t have to be used any more than necessary.
  • A sound system. It’s useful for many things, including giving instructions. If your facility sponsors Cardio Tennis, a pro will be able to use upbeat music to encourage players to keep moving.
  • A hitting wall, rebound net or backboard, to allow players to groove their strokes.

Other useful amenities, not necessarily tied to teaching, include benches or tables so players can rest, and storage lockers so phones, mp3 players, and keys can be safely stowed. A secure area where the pro can keep his or her equipment is also useful. Having a clock by the courts will help pros and players.

As a side note, some tennis-court builders advocate higher fencing around courts used by new players. Others, noting those players with developing skills may be self-conscious, recommend keeping “beginner courts” as private as possible by using a windscreen, divider netting, and other equipment.

The Watching Game

In courts used by players who may have more experience, spectator seating is a nice amenity. This can range from an outdoor ”lounge” area where individuals can wait for a court or watch a casual match in progress, to a more-competitive stadium court, with bleacher-style seating.

Shaded seating is always appreciated, as are amenities like water fountains, restrooms, and a pro shop. The level of amenities provided will, of course, be tied to the budget of the municipality. Some facilities regard a tennis court as more of a do-it-yourself fixture (much like a basketball court) that players use on a first-come, first-served basis, while others use timed reservations and are more program-oriented.

Bringing In The People

A park director’s nightmare is having unused or underused facilities, despite having provided resources to improve them. So, ultimately, once the tennis complex is in good repair, and the proper amenities are in place, what helps bring in people? The old philosophy of “If you build it, they will come” doesn’t generally hold true.

Bring in people by creating awareness, say the pros. Schedule play dates, “try tennis” events, a mini-tournament, or a pro-am, or ask a local tennis shop about partnering for a “demo day” to showcase new racquets, grips, strings, and shoes. The most important thing is to make people aware of the facility, get them to it, and then keep them coming back.

Your tennis complex may include two, four, six, eight, or many more courts. No matter how many you have, getting them filled and keeping them filled is the best recipe for success.

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