Tennis is a Social Distancing Sport


Most sports like football, basketball, hockey, and soccer involve physical contact among players. Obviously that’s something you want to avoid during a global pandemic. If you’re looking to play sports and stay active, now is the perfect time to start playing tennis – the ideal social distancing sport.

The Ideal Social Distancing Sport

Social distancing and tennis have always gone hand-in-hand. Leading up to the US Open Tennis Championships, USTA CEO Michael Dowse has described tennis as “the ideal social distancing sport.” Social distancing can be easily achieved (players spread 6 feet apart), especially during singles play, because tennis doesn’t require direct person-to-person contact.

Unlike typical contact sports, in tennis opponents are spread out across the court from one another. Furthermore, the net serves as a barrier between players. Doubles play is still possible, but partners should coordinate with one another so that physical distancing can be maintained and physical contact should be avoided (such as high-fiving, chest bumps, etc.).

According to an article from The Houston Chronicle, “The Texas Medical Association ranked tennis as one of the least risky activities during COVID-19. On a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being the safest, tennis is a 2, the same as pumping gasoline or ordering takeout.”

Why You Should Play Tennis

Staying physically active is important for your overall health and wellness. Tennis is a great activity for people of all ages. It’s truly the sport of a lifetime. Players young and old can benefit physically and mentally from the exercise involved, just as long as physical distancing can be maintained and other safety recommendations are followed. Tennis is an excellent cardiovascular activity that can improve heart health and burn calories. Most importantly, it is a great deal of fun!

Aside from the health benefits of playing, tennis can also be a social sport. It’s easy to meet new players, especially at a tennis club like Lakeshore Sport & Fitness-Lincoln Park.

Even if you’ve never played tennis before, now is the perfect time to start! Dr. Linda Yancey, infectious disease specialist, says “Tennis is a good example of a sport that is really well suited to a pandemic.”

Guidelines for Tennis COVID-19 Safety

The USTA and its Medical Advisory Group have created safety guidelines that you should follow when playing tennis. Many are straightforward, but should still be followed to ensure the safety and enjoyment for all players. Here are some of the highlights.

Do not play tennis if you are experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19. First and foremost, you should not play tennis or come in contact with anyone if you are experiencing symptoms such as fever, cough, shortness of breath, headache, chills, muscle soreness, or any other symptoms you may suspect might be related to COVID-19.

If you have been in contact with someone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 within the last 14 days, you should self-quarantine for another 14 days. By self-quarantining, you will not put any other tennis players at risk of exposure.

Wash your hands before and after play. Wash your hands with hand sanitizer or soap and water for at least 20 seconds before and after playing tennis.

Avoid sharing equipment such as racquets, towels, water bottles, hats, grips, etc. Be sure to wipe down any surfaces you have touched that another player may come in contact with. Use new balls whenever possible. Each player should use their own set of 3. That way, each server is only touching balls from their own can. While there’s no scientific evidence that the virus can be transferred via tennis balls, USTA CEO Michael Dowse says, “We always want to err on the side of being overly cautious, so as much as we can put in to make it safer, each player having their own can of balls makes a tons of sense.”

Pick up balls using your racquet and foot. If you need to send a ball to another player or court, kick or hit the ball instead of tossing it with your hands.

Do not shake hands after each match. As a show of good sportsmanship, it’s customary for players to shake hands after a match. Instead, verbally acknowledge your fellow players, wave to them, or give them an “air high five” without physical contact.

Avoid changing ends of the court. For recreational play, it’s best not to change ends of the court. If for some reason players agree to swap ends of the court, maintain physical distancing when doing so. Best practice would be for each player to move around the opposite end of the net.

Start playing a social distancing sport like tennis today! Click the button below to learn more about our programs and offerings at Lakeshore Sport & Fitness.

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