Tennis Activity – latest update.

Tennis Activity – latest update – 21/03/2020

We all know tennis is a unique sport which has many benefits – the main one being health and wellbeing. While the LTA has suspended its organised activity, the Government have currently indicated that physical exercise (including grass roots coaching) that takes place at a safe distance from others and in safe exercise environments is something that can continue at this time.

The Department of Culture, Media and Sport has specifically advised us that tennis is one of the best examples of social distancing in practice, and so should be encouraged as long as the guidance permits.

Venues and coaching businesses across the country are all different and operate in different local contexts. They are also independent organisations and businesses. Making an assessment of whether a safe exercise environment can be provided also depends on a range of factors, which will apply differently at each venue – it is the responsibility of coaching organisations and venues to make that assessment together based on their local environment.

If a venue decides to continue coaching or tennis activity, we want to provide some practical suggestions to help you to operate in line with the Government’s advice:

Adapting sessions to accommodate the advice on social distancing.

  • Closure of all social spaces at a venue, including changing and toilet facilities
  • Use online booking for courts and sessions where at all possible
  • A buffer period be implemented between court booking slots to allow time for players to leave before next players arrive
  • Activity should only take place where travel to and from the courts can be done in a way compliant with social distancing advice, with players not travelling together unless they are part of a group residing in the same place
  • Activity should be in line with the Government’s advised social distancing measures at all times(defined by Public Health England as spending no more than 15 minutes and not within a 2-metre distance talking to someone), including when arriving to and departing from a court
  • If you are not confident that you can adhere to the social distancing guidance when undertaking tennis and coaching activity in doubles format, you should only facilitate activity with two players per court
  • Players are advised not to change ends during play
  • Coaches to avoid close proximity when giving feedback, or when players are resting
  • Ensure no physical contact between players during warm-ups or games
  • No extra-curricular or social activity should take place

Further Government information around social distancing is available here.

The Government is advising those who are particularly vulnerable to risk of severe illness from coronavirus (COVID-19) to be particularly stringent in following social distancing measures.

Adopting best practice in relation to hygiene, especially before and after training sessions, including but not limited to:

  • Players should wash hands before and after a tennis session without exception (or use an alcohol gel if washing hands is not possible)
  • Clean and wipe down equipment, including rackets, courtside benches, cones. Do not allow racket sharing or use of communal rackets
  • For tennis balls, consider using new balls where possible, and consider using a small number of balls for a lesson so fresh balls can be used for each session; achieve this in a financially feasible way, coaches can consider using a small number of balls (1-2 cans) for a lesson so fresh balls can be used for each session
  • Adaptations to drills will be needed, such as the use of live ball drills over basket drills; furthermore, it is recommended that only coaches touch the balls and players avoid touching the balls. Alternatively, each player could have their own tennis ball(s) clearly marked with their own initials and ensure that they are the only person to touch that tennis ball with their hands. For other tennis balls, other methods could be used such as lifting with a foot and racket or scooping up from the ground with the racket
  • Avoid touching your face
  • Outdoor courts and open spaces are preferable to indoor spaces

Coaching programmes and venues will want to make sensible decisions around what is practically feasible and review this on a daily basis, in line with the current and evolving Government advice. Be aware that this is liable to change at very short notice and so should be checked ahead of every session. We recommend you keep checking the official LTA position on their web page  to stay abreast of all current recommendations. 

Dave Smith

Welfare Officer

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