MUSCATINE, Iowa–From high school students just discovering the thrill of competition to older adults who have played for most of their lives, people from all walks of life enjoy a good game of tennis. However, finding opponents of about your same skill level or mentors to help you improve can prove tricky, keeping many people from playing as often as they would like to. Beginning Tuesday, May 24, and continuing through the summer, the Great River Tennis Association Association will host a free tennis league every Tuesday evening at the Weed Park tennis courts, located at 1 Park Drive in Muscatine.
Tennis players in Muscatine have gathered for regular games since 1975, when Dick Coulter organized the tennis club that eventually grew into the Great River Tennis Association. As the group continues their tradition of weekly play, they hope players of all experience levels will come join them. To allow as many people to participate as possible, all courts will have doubles games going on, with players of similar skill levels matched together.
To ensure that players can enjoy games at the level right for them, play follows a ladder system. New players will start out on beginner courts, allowing them to learn the fundamentals of the game while meeting other new players, a benefit, as many just getting into the sport may not have a friend to practice with. “When you’re learning, unless you have a hitting buddy, it can be hard to find people to play with,” observed Great River Tennis Association member Carol Ward.
As players continue to come back and earn higher weekly scores, they can move up the ladder to face more advanced opponents. These experiences will allow players to build their skills, learning techniques from players who have mastered them. As Ward put it, “when you play against people who are better than you, you get better.”
At the highest courts, the most competitive players will put on an impressive show, giving even veteran tennis players the challenge they crave from a good night of play. From her own experiences, Ward has found, “we have some really quality players in this town.”
Free and open to the public, the Great River Tennis Association has partnered with the Muscatine Parks and Recreation Department to make Tuesday evening tennis easily available. To help organizers prepare a fun night for everyone, Ward requests people planning on attending sign up online through the Great River Tennis Association website before each Tuesday evening meet up. Any players age 15 and up may come on as many Tuesday evenings as they wish.
To complement their regular league play, the Great River Tennis Association will also hold its annual T. Beckley Junior Tennis Open July 8 through 10. They also intend to add two beginners tournaments for children and teens age 12 through 18 on June 29 and August 31. These new, coed, tournaments will allow newer players to experience more competitive play against others just taking up the sport.
With the long warm evenings of summer just around the corner, Ward and the other members of the Great River Tennis Association encourage you to come join them, no matter how long you have played or even if you just want to give tennis a first shot.