Handle It: Addressing Common Tennis Rules and On-Court Questions

Nothing is more frustrating than when you are having a great tennis match and a question comes up about a rule that stops your game or makes you lose focus. USTA Mid-Atlantic is here to help! We talked with our expert official from the Mid-Atlantic Section, Dzarr Daniels, to find out a few concerns/questions and tips for handling them. These scenarios are good ones to know whether you are playing competitively in USTA League play or for recreation and fun.

  1. Can I call foot faults in non-officiated tennis matches? Yes you can – on deliberate ones where your opponent’s foot is clearly over or on the line as they’re serving the ball.  In a respectful way, you should inform your opponent and request that they monitor their feet before they serve.
  2. Here is a really good one.  Can Player A call a double bounce on opponent Player B?  No, you can’t. Only the player B while attempting to hit the ball can make that call.  And a let should never be played. If player A prematurely makes a call for them they still will lose the point.
  3. In a doubles match Team A was serving to their opponents on Team B.  After Team A served to their opponents one player from Team B called the ball “out” but their partner stated the ball was good.   Team B wanted to play a “let.”  No let is played. Team A subsequently won the point since their opponents saw different versions of the ball. They would have to weigh in the favor of the ball being “in” and the point goes to Team A!

For more information about common issues and “Friend at Court,” questions you can also check out this great resource from USTA, “What’s the Call.”

And if you are looking for ways to spend more time in the sport you love, give consideration to officiating. Officiating can be a great way to deepen your involvement with tennis and gain new experiences and appreciation for the sport. New officials are always in need. Find out more about getting on the path to officiating now. You can also contact Bonnie Vona at USTA Mid-Atlantic about becoming an official in the USTA Mid-Atlantic Section.

Gearing Up for League Tennis: The GEAR (Giveaway)

From that pop and hiss of a fresh can of tennis balls to the feel of a new racquet, to the latest tennis apparel trends, having the gear to get your season of USTA Mid-Atlantic Leagues started right is just as essential as it is to making sure you’ve got your rating and registration all taken care of!

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There’s just something alluring to having new tennis gear items in your bag at the start of the season. When your tennis gear is ready, you’re another step closer to fun competition.

We’ve been getting you prepared for the season with our “Gearing Up” series of articles. So far, we’ve covered:

Now, let’s talk a little bit about gear. Any tennis player knows that your basic essentials include a tennis racquet, tennis balls, the proper shoes and attire, and towels or items to keep you dry/cool. A bag is helpful to keep everything organized, too, and don’t forget a water bottle. You may want some additional accessories such as grip tape, vibration dampeners for your strings, and of course if you are playing outside, protection from the sun (hats, visors, sunglasses) and sunscreen.  

And you’ll want to proudly rep the Mid-Atlantic Section this league season, so you’ve got to get some gear in our official “color wars” color for 2019: ROYAL BLUE!

To go a little more in depth, there are excellent articles on USTA.com that have helpful information about tennis gear, from selecting the right racquet, to the importance of the strings in your racquet, to buying the right shoes. Check them out here.

As tennis enthusiasts ourselves, we love new gear just as much as you do! So we want to get you “geared up” and ready to play with a fun GIVEAWAY to kick-off the spring adult tennis league season.

You have a chance to WIN our Gearing Up prize pack that includes tennis strings from @MainandCrosses, 10 grips from @AlienPros, a case of tennis balls, a foam roller, and $100 in  gift cards. To enter, simply leave a comment on this Facebook post telling us “I signed up for my local spring league” and let us know which one. The contest is open now, March 6, 2019 and will run through Friday, March 22, 2019. One winner will be drawn at random at the end of the contest period; good luck!

Read the official rules here.

What tennis gear do you have in your tennis bag? Let us know on Social Media. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and subscribe to the blog.

The 2019 calendar is here for you to see which leagues are registering in your area. Contact the listed Local League Ambassador for your local area or our Tennis Connect service to get playing!

Gearing Up for League Tennis: Mental Toughness on the Court

Get  answers to questions about playing USTA Mid-Atlantic adult leagues, check! 

Get new tips and tricks to get physically ready for the tennis season, check! 

Reviewed the USTA Mid-Atlantic adult tennis leagues playing in my area and know the registration dates, check! 

If you’ve got these items crossed off your list, than it sounds like you’ve been following along on our “Gearing Up” series! We want you to have your best season of team tennis so we are continuing along with more information to help you “gear up” for spring leagues.

Here’s a topic you may not often give much *thought* to: improving and staying mentally tough on the tennis court.

Sport psychologists have examined how mental skills training helps athletes improve performance by not only developing skills, such as concentration and stress control, but also making efforts to influence personal characteristics, such as self-esteem and sportsmanship. We went straight to the experts from the USTA Player Development program to provide you with some tips on how to be, and stay, mentally tough on the court. What’s key is developing a routine between points. 

Dr. Larry Lauer is a mental skills specialist for USTA Player Development and has been a sport psychology consultant for over a decade with elite tennis players from juniors, college, and pros. Dr. Lauer developed a concept called “The Green Light Routine” that helps outline basic steps to be able to let go of the last point and focus on the current point.

There are four basic steps to Lauer’s “Green Light Routine,” outlined here, and we’ve included a VIDEO below of him discussing these steps:

Step 1: Respond

As soon as the point has ended, there will be a response. It will be positive, negative or neutral. The goal is to stay positive or neutral. Go to your strings, show positive body language and walk briskly back behind the baseline. A slumping posture will only fire up your opponent.

Step 2: Relax

Take deep breaths and let go of the last point. You want to slow down your breathing and heart rate and quiet your mind.

Step 3: Refocus

Use a towel, touch the fence, pick up the balls, walk around and focus on the current point. You should have full commitment to the current point knowing your play. Serve and Return – Visualize and commit to it. Turn and walk to the line when you know what the plan is and you are committed to it.

Step 4: Ready

Bounce the ball however many times you feel comfortable according to your routine (like a free throw shooter in basketball); sway back and forth on your returns, take a deep breath and lock in on the ball. You are now NO LONGER THINKING. Quiet the mind and trust what you are doing.

Check out this video featuring Dr. Lauer explaining the routine: 

Read Dr. Lauer’s article to get more details about this and other mental health routines.

What routines have you used to help you stay focused and mentally tough during a tennis match? Share them with us on social media – tag us and use #ustaspringgearup.

Follow us on social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter) and subscribe to the blog so you can keep up with more articles to come as you “gear up” for spring adult league tennis in the Mid-Atlantic.

And be sure to check the 2019 calendar here to see which leagues are registering in your area. Contact the listed Local League Ambassador for your local area or our Tennis Connect service to get playing!

Gearing Up: Physical Fitness for Adult Tennis Players

We are keeping the “Gearing Up” series going for all you adult tennis league players out there in the Mid-Atlantic so that you are prepared for your best season of tennis yet! Besides getting some of the top questions you may have about playing USTA Mid-Atlantic League tennis this season answered, part of getting prepared is being ready physically.

We caught up with Atlantic Orthopaedic Specialists, who are the provider of certified Athletic Trainers at all of our USTA Mid-Atlantic tennis Championships in the Hampton Roads, Virginia area. They’ve spent a lot of time with Mid-Atlantic tennis players at our regional and sectional events and have taken a range of questions from players. Out of all the questions asked, they identified the top three they heard the most during the 2018 League Championship year as it relates to physical fitness. They have provided the questions here with their top tips associated. Read up and see how these tips may help you prepare for playing league tennis this spring in the Mid-Atlantic.

1. How do I prevent myself from overheating and becoming too dehydrated during match play, so that I can perform my best all tournament long?

There are many preventable ways to beat the heat and maintain a low body temperature and proper hydration levels during your match and throughout a tournament. Here are some tips and guidelines to ensure you stay healthy!

  • Acclimatize your body before your match by performing a 5 minute warm-up so there won’t be a sudden shock to your body on hot days!
  • It’s imperative to limit sun exposure (as much as possible) in between and during the break times during matches.
  • Make sure to bring cold packs and cold towels with you to the court to cool off during breaks and changeovers.
  • It is very important to MAINTAIN HYDRATION during your match with ICE COLD water and sports drinks.
  • Wear proper attire to allow for breathability and provides moisture wicking properties that will assist in keeping body temperatures low.
  • Be cautious of too much caffeine and alcohol consumption because these can cause dehydration, especially on warmer days.

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Review additional resources on hydration and heat:

Heat and Hydration tips

2. I will be playing a lot of tennis this season and want to protect my shoulder. What can I do to keep my shoulder healthy?

In order to keep your shoulder healthy in any overhead sport, such as tennis, it is important to address strength and mobility. The Throwers Ten Shoulder Program is a relatively simple but comprehensive compilation of shoulder exercises to address weakness and promote proper shoulder mechanics. Click here to view a video of one of our athletic trainers performing these exercises.

It is also important to prepare for the season by slowly increasing your activity level over time.  After a period of rest during the off season, your body needs time to acclimate to the stresses being placed on it. Follow a natural progression by increasing the demands placed on your shoulder over a few weeks. Click here to find an interval tennis program to help increase your activity in a systematic fashion.

3. My elbow hurts and I’ve been told it is most likely “Tennis Elbow.” What exactly is tennis elbow and how can I treat it? 

The medical name for Tennis Elbow is Lateral Epicondylitis. It is a painful condition involving the tendon attachment to the bone on the lateral side of the elbow. The tendons help to anchor the muscle to the bone. The muscle involved in this condition, the Extensor Carpi Radialis Brevis, helps to extend and stabilize the wrist. With Lateral Epicondylitis, degeneration of the tendon’s attachment occurs, weakening the anchor site and placing greater stress on the painful area. This can then lead to pain associated with activities in using the muscle such as lifting, gripping, and or grasping. Such sports as tennis are commonly associated with this condition secondary to the repetitive nature of the sport. Treatment options for Tennis Elbow can include bracing with a tennis elbow strap, proactive stretching, ice massage, anti-inflammatory medications, and strengthening the surrounding musculature. Below you will find further explanation of these treatment options. If pain should persist following treatment, please consult with an orthopaedist for further evaluation.  Find our other article about Tennis Elbow on Tennis on Point with more information.

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What are some ways you get yourself in shape physically before the start of the tennis league season? Share them with us on social media – tag us and use #ustaspringgearup.

And be sure to check the 2019 calendar here to see which leagues are registering in your area. Contact the listed Local League Ambassador for your local area or our Tennis Connect service to get playing!

Follow us on social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter) and subscribe to the blog so you can keep up with more articles to come as you “gear up” for spring adult league tennis in the Mid-Atlantic. 

Playing Adult Tennis Leagues: Top Questions Answered

We are gearing up for the 2019 USTA League tennis season in the Mid-Atlantic. Just like spring signifies renewal and awakening, starting a new tennis league season may be awakening some questions in you!

We reached out to two players – one active USTA League tennis player and one USTA League tennis player coming back to the sport after a break – to find out what questions they have  as they get ready to get back on the courts. See if these questions are similar to yours and get the answers you need.

If you still have questions feel free to send us an email and we’ll help you out!

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Getting ready to play adult tennis leagues this spring? What questions do you have?

Top Three Questions for Players Returning to Tennis

Jessica Manley is a former Division I athlete, mother of one, and dedicated finance professional looking to get back into the game for the social benefits. She last played organized tennis  in 2016 as a 4.5 Computer Rated player in an Adult 18 & Over League out of Norfolk, VA. We caught up with her about the questions she may have in returning to the court in 2019:

Jessica: How can I find out what leagues are offered in Virginia Beach and when, so that I can see what could potentially work with my busy mom/work life?

USTA Mid-Atlantic: We are constantly updating our League calendar. Once you are on this page you can click on the region you would like to play in and see what has been officially scheduled to take place this year. You will also see the name of the Local League Ambassador(s)  in the region that you can contact to find details about playing.   If you don’t see what you are looking for, contact Lori Miller at USTA Mid-Atlantic and she will work with you to find options.

Jessica: It’s been awhile since I was in the tennis loop. How do I even find a team to join now?

USTA Mid-Atlantic: We love to help players get on teams and have a resource just for you – it’s called Tennis Connect. We have staff at USTA Mid-Atlantic whose sole job is to connect players with avenues to play in their local area. We will work with the Local League Ambassadors who run USTA League in your region to find opportunities for you to play. Simply fill out this form with your information, and we’ll help you find the right match for a team in your area. If you have any additional questions you can email us here.

Jessica: Since participating in a USTA League in 2016, I have dealt with an injury and would like to appeal my current NTRP rating. How would I go about this?

USTA Mid-Atlantic: Jessica, we are sorry to hear about your injury! Individuals who have a current or valid USTA rating are able to file a medical appeal (if you don’t have a current rating there may be other avenues for your rating to be considered for an appeal). The important thing to know before filing an appeal is that the injury or illness must be permanently disabling. Each appeal is reviewed through a Section and National Committee so the process can take some time, so be sure to give yourself enough time to go through the process.

To file a medical appeal, complete and mail or email the Medical Appeal form  to USTA Mid-Atlantic. All medical appeals MUST be accompanied by a letter from your treating physician stating the date the injury/condition occurred, the nature of your injury/condition, your prognosis and treatment rendered, and whether the injury/condition is permanently disabling. Your physician must also complete the Attending Physician’s Statement found here. We’ll let you know via email as to whether your appeal was granted or denied.

All appeals can be mailed to:
Appeals Committee
c/o Cassie Nocera, Adult Programs Coordinator
11410 Isaac Newton Square North, Suite 270
Reston, VA 20190 

If you have additional questions regarding Medical Appeals, please email Cassie Nocera or call 703-556-6120 x7017. We hope to get you back on the court soon!

Top Three Questions for Active Players

Laura Mitchell is a 4.5 USTA League player who moved from Northern Virginia to Virginia Beach, Va., five years ago. In her twenty-seventh year as a USTA member, she is also passionate about getting youth into the game and has served as the Northern Virginia Junior Team Tennis Coordinator since 2007, winning USTA National Junior Team Tennis Coordinator of the Year accolades in 2009. Laura participates in multiple USTA Leagues in Virginia Beach and Norfolk, Va annually.

Laura: Is it possible to see dynamic NTRP ratings?

USTA Mid-Atlantic: Dynamic ratings are not disclosed to players, whereas year-end NTRP ratings are published annually. The USTA respects the privacy of member information and does not disclose dynamic ratings to the public.  While this information might be desirable to some, in other instances it could negatively affect player experience and/or ability to participate in the USTA League Program.  Read more information on Dynamic Ratings.

Laura: Is it possible for TennisLink to have easier instant information/communication on the site such as a chat box?

USTA Mid-Atlantic: There is an online chat feature in TennisLink which you can find here: http://activesupport.force.com/usta/USTA_Contact, but Active Network and USTA is always trying to improve customer service on TennisLink. You can also reach out to Cassie Nocera, Adult Programs Coordinator at  leagues@mas.usta.com if you ever have a question regarding TennisLink during the year.

USTA has been making significant enhancements to the digital experience for players and members and some exciting changes will be rolling out throughout 2019 and 2020. Stay tuned for more information!

Laura: Will USTA League players have the opportunity to have UTR rating as well?

USTA Mid-Atlantic: USTA recognizes that the UTR is a great tool that can be used to help grow the game of tennis in the United States. It is being heavily used at the collegiate level in assisting college coaches to assess players. USTA Mid-Atlantic uses UTR at the junior level, but NTRP will continue to be the ratings used for the USTA League program.

Maybe you are returning to play organized adult tennis in Maryland, Virginia, Washington DC or West Virginia from a long break? Or perhaps your NTRP rating changed and you’ll be at a new level and you are not sure how to get started. What questions do you have as the spring adult tennis league season approaches? How are you “gearing up” for USTA Mid-Atlantic tennis leagues? Tag us with your tips or questions on social media and use the hashtag #ustaspringgearup. Don’t forget, we’ll have more information throughout the month so subscribe to the blog and make sure you are following us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.