Gearing Up for League Tennis in the Mid-Atlantic

It’s one month in to 2019 and tennis players in the Mid-Atlantic are counting down the days until the spring adult tennis leagues get underway in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, DC.

Spring is generally when some of the most popular league divisions play with many advancing to Mid-Atlantic Regional and Sectional tennis championships. Thousands of people join league tennis play in the spring. It is an exciting time as the snow melts, flowers bloom and tennis players get back out on the courts.gear-up-for-mid-atlantic-league-tennis

While many of us sit and pine for the days of spring when our calendars are packed with tennis matches, let’s not waste this little bit of downtime to get prepared for the season ahead.

USTA Mid-Atlantic wants to help you “gear up” for the spring tennis season. We’ve put together a series of articles that you’ll find here on the Tennis on Point blog in the Tips and Tricks category that will help get you ready.

The “Gearing Up” series will cover topics such as: 

  • The top questions players have about playing leagues – for both the seasoned player and someone returning after a break from the sport; 
  • Getting in shape physically and mentally so  you are ready for tough athletic matches with the right fitness and mindset;
  • And of course we’ll touch on some gear that you may want to have on the court with you this year.

Look out for links to the latest articles on our Facebook page throughout February or subscribe to our blog to never miss an article.

If you’ve got tips or tricks that you use to get ready for the tennis season, share them with us on social media – tag us and use #ustaspringgearup. We may also have some fun surprises you can snag to help you “gear up,” so watch out for those!

Check out the first article in the series and let’s get ready to “gear up” for USTA Mid-Atlantic League tennis!

DIY Holiday Decor Sports Theme: Tennis Ball Wreath

The holiday season is here and for so many of us in the Mid-Atlantic that means a time to take a break, relax and enjoy some down time with friends, family and loved ones. We love the holidays for so many reasons, but a big part of what makes it special is the chance to do certain activities that maybe we don’t often get to do other times of year, such as baking, binge watching Hallmark Channel, hanging out in PJs all day and maybe doing crafts and other hands-on activities or special outings.  For all of our tennis friends out there, we know (hope) this time of year means extra time to get in lots of tennis too!

But if you’re looking for fun DIY activities during the holiday break, either for yourself to try or to do with your kiddos or grandkiddos, look no further. Tennis fans will be sure to love this DIY Tennis Ball Wreath activity! This wreath is great for the holidays and really, can be transitioned to use any time of year, especially during your tennis season and hung during the US Open too! Just leave off the holiday embellishments or make a version with out those holiday touches for more versatile use throughout the year.

Alright, let’s get making! Grab those used tennis balls and fire up the glue gun, and get ready to have some fun!

Tennis Ball Wreath

What You Need

Gather your supplies 

What you need: 

16-17 used tennis balls

1-2 sleeves of ornaments

1 wire clothes hanger

Ribbon or Bow

Glue Gun

Scissors

Box cutter or X-Acto knife

Instructions 

Step 1: Unravel your wire clothes hanger and shape into a circle.Step 1

Step 2: Cut two 1” slits on each tennis ball. If doing this project with kids, make sure an adult is there to supervise or this is a step that only an adult does. 

Step 3: Feed tennis balls one by one onto the wire hanger, filling the wire hanger.Step 2 and 3

Step 4: Re-twist the wire hanger at the top to leave a hook for hanging. Note: at this point you can decide if you want your tennis balls in line with each other, or want to rotate them up or down to add dimension (see two final wreaths below for layout).

Step 5: Pull out those ornaments and glue gun. Place ornaments throughout the wreath using hot glue to secure them.Step 5

Step 6: Add your ribbon or bow to the top, below your hook.

Step 7: Hang on your door for a festive tennis feel or gift these out to all the tennis fans and players in your life!

 

We’d love to see your finished products! Make some tennis ball wreaths and send us a picture or post it to social media tagging us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram!  And keep on playing and using those tennis balls up so you can make more crafts! Learn more about playing tennis with USTA Mid-Atlantic. 


Shell Wood is the Events Manager for USTA Mid-Atlantic. She enjoys crafting and repurposing items, especially tennis equipment, to bring a little pizzazz to our events. 

Top Things we are Thankful For About Tennis

At  USTA Mid-Atlantic we often say tennis is so much more than a game played with a racquet and ball. We believe tennis is a culture, a community and a passion that builds character, enhances your life and makes you who you are.

With the Thanksgiving season here, we started thinking and talking about the sport we love and why we are so thankful to not only be working to grow the game and get more we-love-mid-atlantic-tennispeople playing but also simply why we. LOVE. Tennis. So. Much!

So we started a list of things about tennis we are so thankful for and appreciate. By reflecting on this appreciation we hope more people can understand why tennis is special and feel motivated to show their support during the charitable giving season to ensure all people in the Mid-Atlantic region, especially children, get to experience the benefits of a game that gives back in so many ways. Our list is by no means complete so we definitely want to hear from you on what you would add too. Here goes:

Tennis makes us thankful for…. 

What would you add to the list that we have not included? Leave a comment or tweet us (@USTAMidAtlantic) with your comment using #ThankfulforTennis.

 

League Captain of the Year

Meet Amy O’Brien from Leesburg, Virginia. She captained 13 teams in 2016 and has already signed on for more this year, in addition to her commitment to growing tennis throughout her community.  She has won 2 tickets to the 217 US. Open along with $500 for travel spending for this honor! This is what others had to say about Amy:

“She is tireless and a great captain helping both rookies and advanced players.  She sacrifices so much of herself to the sport of tennis…it is the fabric of her soul and she truly is deserving.”

“She manages so many teams from doubles, mixed, singles to juniors. She is on the tennis board for our neighborhood, coordinates classes and schedules for contract time–the list just goes on and on!”

Here’s a deeper look at our Captain of the Year!

When did you first pick up a racquet? I decided to take lessons five years ago when our new pro arrived at River Creek Tennis Club. I thought it would be a good way to get some exercise but not realizing that I would really enjoy the game.

How long have you been captaining USTA League teams? I’ve captained teams for about 4 years.

What do you enjoy about captaining a USTA League team? Meeting players and making new friends not only from our club but other clubs as well.

What’s been your favorite or most unique “captain” moment so far? I have several favorite moments. One of favorite moment ( or a sense of accomplishment) of being a captain is seeing the growth in our membership and teams. In the past everyone in our community played for other clubs. We didn’t have a men’s, junior or mixed doubles team. But now we have over 16 teams for all  ages and level of players. It is nice to see our tennis community and membership grow at River Creek Club.

What do you think your players or other players should know about what it’s like to captain? I welcome feedback and being a captain is easy when you have a great network of support system from not only your teammates but parents as well.

What is your strategy on recruiting new players? How do you find and fill your team with new players each year? We recruit by a lot of networking. Sometimes, I see people playing that I don’t know at our club, I will ask them for their names and phone numbers and invite them to play in our round robin or  at our social events. We try to be very inclusive. Other times we discovered that new players are nervous to play with others and we tell them all levels are welcomed as we all started from somewhere. We want to make sure everyone feels welcome.

Why do you like to give back to the sport of tennis so much? Because  I made some true and long lasting friendship due to tennis.  Also,regardless of your age tennis is a sport that everyone can enjoy . It is a sport that my kids really enjoy and I want to support them as much as possible.

If you could have any professional player (current or retired) on your league team, who would it be? Why? Federer because of his mental toughness and how he always stay calm.

Congratulations, Amy! USTA Mid-Atlantic would like to thank all of our outstanding USTA League captains for their service to the program.  From scheduling lineups to making calls to players at the eleventh hour, we know and definitely appreciate all they do to keep the USTA League program fun for everyone!

To learn more and get involved in USTA League tennis, click here.

 

Happy Hallow-Tweener!

Doubles, Doubles, Toil and Trouble!

Halloween is right around the corner, and we bet you’re thinking the same thing as us: I haven’t prepared a costume yet! Don’t fret. In an effort to help you better prepare for this Halloween season, we have prepared a list of possible tennis related costumes for you tennis-lovers out there.

  1. Go classic. What a better way to announce to the world that you love tennis than to dress as a giant tennis ball? They say you’re supposed to “Be the Ball” when you play, and what better opportunity to do just that than Halloween! Pro Tip: do not try to papier-mâché this while you are wearing the costume – only bad things will happen.

coolest-tennis-ball-costume-2-21306197

Not a fan of papier-mâché; papier-mâché not a fan of you? Lucky for you there are options to purchase already made tennis ball costumes. If you’re even luckier, maybe you’ll be as cute as this little member of Net Generation here.

tennis-ball-costume-2-year-old

  1. Overachieve, just this once. Feeling like all these other tennis costumes are too run-of-the-mill? Why not try going as something coveted by USTA league players around the US – a tennis trophy. All you need is a spot on pose and a lot of gold paint to make it happen. Bonus: have your partner go as a golf trophy – that’s a winning pair if we’ve ever seen one!

golf_n_tennis_trophies

  1. Throw it back like Hollywood. The talk of the tennis world this fall was the Battle of the Sexes movie, and if Emma Stone and Steve Carell can pull it off, so can you. Break out your best 70s tennis gear – bonus points for a Sugar Daddy jacket or a pet pig – and wooden racquet to create the most topical tennis costume of the year.
  1. Pop-tennis. Remember when Cher played tennis? Remember when Drake kept referencing tennis in his songs? So many tennis, pop-culture references, so little holiday!

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  1. Go classic Halloween. Nothing says “I love tennis, but it is Halloween” like a good ole gory, zombie tennis costume.

zombie-tennis-ball-head

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At the end of it all, we are sure you will look great no matter how you dress this Halloween – as long as you are dressed with a tennis theme.


Helen Li, is the diversity manager for USTA Mid-Atlantic. In her spare time, Helen is teaching her dogs to fetch by bribing them with cheese.