Peoria Introduces New Group for All Players
Whether it is your first time on the court or returning after time away, tennis is the perfect sport in which to get involved. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), tennis has been named one of the safest activities to participate in during the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, tennis is a lifelong sport that can be learned at any age at a low cost.
Recently, Peoria introduced a new tennis group for all ages and genders to the area to promote all of the wonderful benefits of the sport. The group was initially formed by USTA Mid-South Illinois District League Coordinator Joann Blair when she invited players to participate in a drop-in play event.
"It's a good mix and everyone is eager to play, learn new skills, and improve on the skills they already have," said Jennie Hahn, member of the all-gender, all-age group. "Thankful to Bret Schrama and Jo Blair for coordinating this group."
From there, players were encouraged to invite new players and promote the group to others. While there is no level assigned to the group, many players are excited to learn and practice the basics of tennis through drills and competitive play.
To keep costs low, the group has been practicing outdoors with the hope of moving indoors in the winter.
"We welcome all players, and if they are too strong for the group, we will find something else for them," said Bret Schrama, USTA Mid-South Illinois Tennis Service Representative.
During one of the first practices, Blair and Schrama noticed that they needed to do just that and created a separate men's 4.0+ group. With the help of the initial players, the group has grown to 35 players.
"Depending on how many show up, we will always do some rotating doubles and sometimes some singles," said Schrama. "It is always good competition and some in the group will go out for food and drinks afterwards."
With both of these free play opportunities, players have enjoyed meeting new friends and learning tennis.
“We started getting our group together back in July after a USTA breakfast in the park event, and the group has continued to grow as time has gone on," said Patrick Callahan, member of the men's 4.0+ group. "We are getting some great competitive doubles and singles on a weekly basis.
"It’s been awesome to meet new players in the area and get to play with some regularity.”
As the all-gender, all-age group continues, the hope is that players will develop their skills and more competitive play can begin. Eventually, USTA Leagues will be able to form from the pool of players.
Tennis has seen a big boom in the Peoria area with no signs of slowing down, making it a perfect spot to try tennis for the first time or get back into the sport.
Interested in joining? Contact Bret Schrama to get started!
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