Breaking down barriers
We’ve long talked about how to eliminate barriers to playing tennis. Our sport can be expensive, difficult to access, and while many of us have found lifelong friends through the game, it can sometimes be hard to pick up the sport if you do not know someone who plays.
COVID-19, though, affects all of us—it knows no barriers, continuing to cause businesses and communities to close, halting all sports and play. So how do we battle through? We come together.
We—as coaches, teachers, volunteers, parents and fans of the game—now have to unite if we are going to make tennis better than it was. It is our time to put individual desires and agendas aside and re-evaluate what is best for growing our sport.
Instead of competing against one another, imagine if we linked arms in each city and designed a strategy that can bring new faces to the courts. For instance, for those programs that have the means to obtaining equipment, what if they were able to donate racquets and balls to other programs that may not be as fortunate, to help jumpstart the sport throughout an even wider area of the community.
Coming together like this can bring health and happiness back into our communities. But also, as one force, it will make us all stronger.
No matter where we coach and play, we all respect the game and want it to thrive. As tragic as this pandemic is, the time has come to put aside differences in coaching styles and methodologies and open our arms to one another to save our sport.
Leah Friedman is the USTA’s National Manager, Net Generation.
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