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TENNIS TIPS - how to self-rate

New to competitive tennis

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You may be wondering why there's a sudden shift of excitement in the air at your club, why players are talking USTA teams, partners and uniforms, and of course wondering, "why am I not involved?" The good news about spring season being upon us so fast, is that it gets us thinking about whether we're ready to wet our toes in competitive tennis, because before we know it the 'king' of USTA seasons (summer) will be here and trust me, you're not going to want to miss any minute of it!

Towpath's 3.0 40 & Over team.In case you need a little background, the United States Tennis Association (USTA) is the most notable tennis organization in the country for players that want to play competitive tennis. It's a long-tested, well-run, rule-implemented structure that players (not all the time, but most of the time) enjoy following so they can get out and play a fun, fair and competitive game of tennis. The USTA primarily follows the general rules of tennis, with many of it's own amendments for different scenarios and regions around the country. The summer season has gained the most notoriety because that's when most players are free to play thus why there are more teams. Plus, nice weather makes people want to get out and DO something!

But here's where things come to a halt for most newbies. The hype of the new season usually gives way to the fear of what the word competition actually means with players asking themselves, "Am I ready for this?" The short answer is yes. The long answer is yes, you ARE ready! And in case you don't believe me, here's the 'unofficial' pre-requisite to playing on a USTA team:

3.5 Men's team finishing a match.

  • Can you serve?
  • Can you somewhat hold a rally?
  • Do you know how to score?
  • Do you want to exercise while having fun?
  • Do you want something to do in your spare time?
  • Can you play well with others (aka-not be a jerk on the court)?
  • Do you want to get better at tennis fast?
  • Do you want to meet new players and test your skills?
  • Do you want to make friends?
  • Do you like drama? (J/k! Contrary to common belief, not ALL teams are drama-filled.)

And to answer some of your lingering questions: Yes, you can play at any age. Yes, you might get double bageled (lose 6-0, 6-0), and yes, you just might have a little bit of fun. Honestly, the best way for newbies to go into the USTA is to jump in with an open mind and a positive attitude--corny but true. Even at the 4.0 level, I still go in with this mantra. I might not win every match, but I'm going to do my best to come off the court laughing.

One of Towpath's many Mixed Doubles teams.

So, whether you're completely new to the scene or resurrecting your game, I highly recommend giving USTA play a shot. Even if you don't think your game is 'competition ready' (whatever that means), try to look at this experience as a way to meet new players, gain some confidence and add value to your game.

Your next step is to talk with our desk staff, one of our pros or one of your tennis buddies and ask how to get involved, -OR- come down to watch one of our many spring combo/mixed teams over the weekend to get a taste of what the competition is really like. You might be so enticed to commit for a team right then and there, because we guarantee it won't be long before you join in on the fun!

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