Chatham Tennis Club hoping to introduce new people to the sport

Tennis ball hits net. © Can Stock Photo Inc. / mflippo

As restrictions relax for outdoor activities across the province, a local tennis club is encouraging Chatham-Kent residents to give the sport a try.

After over two decades, the Chatham Tennis Club recently transitioned from a paper booking system to an online one to make it easier for people to sign up.

According to Director of Membership Linda McMillan, participants can now register for memberships and pay online all in one step.

McMillan said the club is hoping that the digital overhaul will help attract more people locally to the sport.

“We decided that our registration was dropping off, we didn’t have enough exposure out there,” she explained. “So what we decided was let’s do an online registration, as well as Facebook and going out directly by email.”

McMillan said that COVID-19 restrictions over the past year also had a negative impact on registration numbers. However, she said the club took advantage of the time off during COVID-19 to also re-do the clubhouse and revamp the programming that’s offered.

However, with COVID-19 restrictions expected to loosen for outdoor activities in the next few weeks, the club is anticipating seeing an increase in sign-ups, especially with indoor sports and recreational fitness still restricted.

According to McMillan, they offer programming for all ages and skill sets as well as lessons.

“It definitely gives a good variety for every skill level,” she said. “From beginning levels, or we’ve got some competitive nights arranged for people that are really into the game and as well as lessons for the kids who are just learning.”

McMillan said the club closely follows all COVID-19 public health guidelines to ensure a comfortable environment for people.

The province enters Step 1 of its Roadmap to Reopen on Friday, however, McMillan said the club is still only be allowed to offer training under Step 1 with no formal games or practices permitted. Programming and lessons will start when the province enters Step 2, which is anticipated to happen in early July, pending COVID-19 vaccination rates.

Although the thought of starting a new sport or hobby may be daunting to some, McMillan said she herself didn’t start getting into tennis until after she retired.

She added that it’s an activity that people will quickly fall in love with and after over a year of COVID-19 restrictions, it’s the perfect sport to help get Chatham-Kent residents active again.

“It’s an easy game to play, it’s a fun game to play and it doesn’t matter what skill level you are, there’s something for you out here,” McMillan said. “The club is a very friendly, welcoming group of people.”