Tennis made its long awaited return to my life yesterday.
After nearly three months off court I decided to book 10 coaching lessons. I’m hoping the long lay-off may help me reshape my game under the careful tutelage of the club coach.
I had a long list of issues that needed ironing out including my weak second serve, no real reliable winning shot and what I see as a lack of tactical awareness.
After he ran through the new coronavirus rules of play I had very little head space for learning anything new! The rules included:
- Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds before leaving home
- Take hand sanitiser with you.
- Take all your own equipment (do not share equipment such as racqets, grips,
hats and towels).
- Clean and wipe down your equipment, including racquets and water bottles
before and after use.
- Bring a full water bottle.
- Bring your own tennis balls that are clearly marked (e.g. with your initials)
- Only serve with your own tennis balls
- Allow others to leave before you enter the court – if you need to wait then do
so away from the courts and clear of the gates
- Avoid touching court gates, fences, benches, etc. if you can.
- Arrive changed and ready to play. Shower and change at home.
- Maximum of two people per court. Stay at least two metres away from other players at all times (including during play, when taking breaks and before and after play)
- Do not make physical contact with other players (such as shaking hands or high five)
- Stay on your side of court and avoid changing ends, or agree to change ends at opposite sides of the net.
- Avoid chasing the ball down to another court if other players are using it.
- Avoid touching your face.
- And the most difficult one of all, avoid using your hands to pick up tennis balls that aren’t yours – use your racquet/foot to hit/kick them to your opponent or return them to another court.
I must admit I found it almost impossible to not touch the balls even though I wasn’t doing any serving.
After rallying with me for a short while the coach started work on what I’d always assumed was I best shot – my forehand.
I need to move my feet quicker, take my racquet back sooner and hit the ball much higher on the bounce. He spent about 20 minutes telling me what to do with my feet, it felt like I was learning to dance as I kept getting the steps wrong. Of course as the lesson went on my forehand got worse not better.
Despite all the new things to learn and the coronavirus rules it was good to be doing something normal again, playing a sport I love on a balmy Spring morning. I will try to appreciate it more in the future, win or lose.