With “no-tennis” order starting to lift in different parts of the country (my Pelican Bay courts just announced they are opening up today!), the USTA has put out some guidelines to consider before getting back onto the courts.
BEFORE YOU PLAY
- The USTA Medical Advisory Group highly recommends competitive players ease their way back into play prior to competition. Given the layoff from competing, players will be more susceptible to under-training, over-use and other injuries. The USTA strongly recommends at least three weeks of on court and off court conditioning before competition begins.
- Arrange to play only with family members or others who live in your household or with individuals who are considered to be low risk.
- Do not play if any of
- Are exhibiting any symptoms of the coronavirus: mild to severe respiratory illness with fever, cough and difficulty breathing, or other symptoms identified by the CDC.
- Have been in contact with someone with COVID-19 in the last 14 days.
- Are a vulnerable individual and your state and region is in Phase One or Phase Two. A vulnerable individual is an elderly individual and/or an individual with serious underlying health conditions, including high blood pressure, chronic lung disease, diabetes, obesity, asthma and those whose immune system is compromised such as by chemotherapy for cancer and other conditions requiring such therapy. (For states and regions in Phase Three, a vulnerable individual can resume public interactions, including playing tennis, but should practice physical distancing.)
PREPARING TO PLAY
- Protect against
- Wash your hands with a disinfectant soap and water (for 20 seconds or longer), or use a hand sanitizer if soap and water are not readily available, before going to the court.
- Clean and wipe down your equipment, including racquets and water bottles. Do not share racquets or any other equipment such as wristbands, grips, hats and towels.
- Bring a full water bottle to avoid touching a tap or water fountain handle.
- Use new balls and a new grip, if possible.
- Consider taking extra precautions such as wearing gloves.
- If you need to sneeze or cough, do so into a tissue or upper sleeve.
- Arrive as close as possible to when you need to be there.
- Avoid touching court gates, fences, benches, etc. if you can.
- Try to stay at least six feet apart from other players. Do not make physical contact with them (such as shaking hands or a high five).
- You should consider not playing doubles, which could lead to incidental contact and unwanted proximity. If you do play doubles, avoid all incidental contact, NO Bryan Brothers Chest Bumps and NO whispering to each other from a close distance to strategize.
- Avoid touching your face after handling a ball, racquet or other equipment. Wash your hands promptly if you have touched your eyes, nose or mouth.
- Avoid sharing food, drinks or towels.
- Use your racquet/foot to pick up balls and hit them to your opponent. Avoid using your hands to pick up the balls.
- Stay on your side of court. Avoid changing ends of the court.
- Remain apart from other players when taking a break.
- If a ball from another court comes to you, send it back with a kick or with your racquet.
- Leave the court as soon as reasonably possible.
- Wash your hands thoroughly or use a hand sanitizer after coming off the court.
- Do not use the locker room or changing area. Shower at home.
- No extra-curricular or social activity should take place. No congregation after playing.
- All players should leave the facility immediately after play.
My advice? When you first get back on the court, don’t expect too much of yourself – in either skill or stamina. Be patient and wait for your “old self” to emerge over the next week or so.
But at this stage, I would agree to wear a clown’s costume to get back on the courts! How about YOU?
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