Anticipation – Returning to the Court after COVID 19 Lockdown

This document has been created through a collation of best practice ideas and therefore we do not claim ownership of any single piece of information. Instead it’s shared freely to all concerned and will be updated in due course based on the evolving situation.

We have focussed on areas which relate to junior programming and facilities and do not claim to have consulted medical experts in its’ development. As such there are a number of other documents out there that we have used as references and they are listed at the end of this guide.

Furthermore, we have prepared this document as a menu with practical suggestions and accept that some may be more or less actionable in the variety of facilities where tennis is played. You should review the ACTION MENU and select those that you feel are appropriate, compiling the three documents with standards for Facility, Staff and Players/Parents.

Summary Concept

As people move out of the lockdown phase of the COVID 19 pandemic the world will be in a quite different place. Our industry has always been about meeting fundamental human needs but now more than ever we need to understand what people want from the tennis facility environment and be fully prepared for this.

Tennis has a challenge and an opportunity! We must look to create a level of security and safety within the club environment while ensuring that more than ever we provide a level of value in our programs.

There are three key considerations that we must keep at the forefront of our minds during this time.

  • Does the customer feel SAFE in our environment?
  • Are we taking all reasonable steps to maintain the HIGHEST STANDARDS?
  • Do customers regard activity within the program as being VALUABLE?

While we may be tempted to create a highly regimented environment that creates strict rules and regulations, we must remember that tennis is a leisure activity and therefore we have to find a balance, both minimizing risk and the fear that the virus may have created.

An environment which ceases to be enjoyable serves no-one’s agenda.

So, before we dive into logistics and concepts let us consider the world through the eyes of our customers. We believe that people will now fall into three categories.

  • Let’s Get Back to Normal – There will be a certain group of people that believe that the situation is now over, and we should go back to how things were before. These people are either oblivious to the risk or are willing to take it. Although these people will not want to change their behavior, don’t be tempted to structure programs based on their perceptions as they are unlikely to be the majority.
  • It’s not safe out there – This group will not be keen to get into situations around other people. They have very serious concerns about the virus and may choose not to return to any activity. There will be some but those that arrive at the club are likely to be very cautious, so listen to what they want and help them to gain confidence in your program and precautions.
  • I want to stay healthy – The last group are likely to be the biggest group of people. They want to get back on court, but they need to know that they are protected, and you have taken every step possible to ensure this is an every day reality. Your major focus should be to create a set of standards and procedures that support this group.

While group one players will play regardless and group two players may not come back for a very long time, there is a very good chance that they will eventually return. If do your job effectively you may even attract players from less naturally self-distancing sports (most team sports).

Most people do not want us to SANITIZE THE WORLD. We can’t dehumanize our programs to the point where they lose value in the eyes of the customer. However, we can take steps to minimize risks and show how much we CARE!

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