By David Bowman
First time visitors to the Oak Ridge High School tennis courts are discovering a unique public facility that accommodates three distinct racquet sports. Blue lines were added to Courts #1-6 as part of an Oak Ridge Youth Advisory Board project. The blue lines combine with the white lines to divide the six regulation courts into 24 smaller courts. These smaller courts meet United States Tennis Association specifications for conducting sanctioned Ages 10 & Under tennis tournaments. Smaller tennis nets were provided at the tournaments, the players ages 10 and under used special low compression balls and smaller racquets. Combined with the smaller court size, age-appropriate equipment has been proven to help young children experience success at a faster rate.
The City of Oak Ridge painted red lines onto Courts #11-14 this past summer. These new boundaries define the court surface needed for the sport of pickleball. As a teaching professional, I’ve found pickleball is great cross training for teaching tennis technique to my students. In Oak Ridge, more than 170 players participate in a pickleball program sponsored by the Oak Ridge Senior Center.
During the past few years, I’ve conducted an “Olympics” style event for my tennis students. Its purpose was to test players’ tennis skills in fun ways to win prizes. The event this year is open to the public, with pickleball and youth tennis instruction added to the medal competition. It will be held from 2-4 p.m. on Saturday, October 28 at the Oak Ridge High School facility. Two Olympic events will challenge tennis players’ hand-eye coordination. There will be a fast serve contest and a target hitting competition that is similar to playing “Around The World” on a basketball court.
The deadline for entry is Thursday, October 26. Attendance is free for spectators and pickleball. Cost is $20 for ages 10 and under tennis training for parents and their children. Cost is $20 to compete in the Olympic events. Registration forms are available at the Oak Ridge Civic Center, Oak Ridge Chamber of Commerce, and at the ORHS courts. You may download a form at davidbowman usptapro.com or email me at [email protected] to request a form be sent to you.
David Bowman is a USPTA Certified Teaching Pro helping the city promote recent improvements to the tennis courts at Oak Ridge High School.