Fitness

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With the leaves beginning to fall and the cold weather just around the corner, the indoor tennis season is kicking in to high gear.  The Capital District is home to approximately 30 indoor tennis courts that are busy from September through May each year. Tri-City Fitness in Latham, Saratoga Regional YMCA Wilton Branch and Sportime Schenectady each offer a full array of indoor tennis programming. For anyone looking to channel his/her inner Roger Federer or Serena Williams, there are plenty of opportunities to get involved!
Tennis as a lifelong sport
Tennis is a sport that can be enjoyed by the entire family. It’s healthy, active, social and a lot of fun.  From preschoolers through octogenarians and beyond, there’s something for everyone.
Kids – For the younger players, “Ten and Under” youth programs utilize age-appropriate equipment such as mini-nets, shortened courts, smaller racquets and larger tennis balls that bounce lower. Players are taught the sport using a games-based approach, where the kids are all actively engaged and having fun learning tennis skills (ball tracking, balance, coordination, etc.) that are easily transferrable to other sports.
In addition to lessons and group clinics for kids, opportunities exist through club-based leagues and Junior Team Tennis, the United States Tennis Association’s (USTA’s) nationwide competitive program for youth up to age 18. USTA also offers a competitive junior tournament structure where players travel to compete and earn ranking points. These programs help prepare juniors to compete on high school and college teams.
Young professionals – There are programs designed for young professionals that combine the competitive element of tennis with a social component. For example, this fall an indoor “Sets in the City” league was created for players age 21-45. Co-ed teams play doubles, singles and mixed doubles and socialize after the matches. (Similar to softball leagues, the winning teams earn a pitcher of beer each week.)
Adults – Avid adult tennis players often book contract court time, where a group of players essentially “rents” court space on a given day/time for the entire indoor season. Many contract groups play together year after year and enjoy the regular play commitment, the competition, and the friendships formed on the courts.
All three area clubs also offer private lessons, semi-private lessons, and group clinics where players hone their skills under the direction of teaching professionals. Many of the teaching professionals at the clubs have extensive experience teaching and playing at the top level.
Indoor clubs provide a variety of programming. Examples include cardio tennis classes (high energy aerobic classes that combine cardiovascular exercise with hitting tennis balls), “shot of the day” clinics (to work on a specific shot), breakfast club (matches for the early risers), and club ladders (where players challenge each other in singles matches to rise to the top of the ladder standings). The schedule and pricing for club programming differs; please see the related article for contact information to learn more.
There are two adult leagues in the Capital District that are organized by independent organizations and scheduled at all three indoor tennis clubs—USTA leagues and World Team Tennis (WTT) leagues. Players enjoy the camaraderie of playing as part of a team. Winning teams earn the opportunity to advance and compete against teams from other parts of the state and the country. For additional information on leagues, see contact information in the related article for USTA and All Points Tennis.
For the competitive adult player, indoor clubs often host tournaments—either USTA-sanctioned (for ranking points) or club-based tournaments (for bragging rights). These events follow either a single elimination format similar to professional tennis tournaments or a round robin format where each person or doubles team plays each other person or team in the draw.  Occasionally, clubs will host round robin-formatted charity tournaments. In September, Tri-City Fitness in Latham hosted Serve for the Cure, a breast cancer benefit tournament with 60 players that raised over $3,000 for Susan G. Komen of Northeastern New York. Also in September, Sportime Schenectady hosted a charity event for the Schenectady Cancer Foundation.
Play opportunities
The Capital District enjoys a thriving recreational tennis community, with opportunities for players at every age, at every level. All of these exist during the indoor season and are accessible through the three indoor tennis clubs.  All three clubs offer competitive recreational programming for youth and adults, during daytime, evening and weekend hours. The clubs are membership-based; however, there are some programs and leagues with different pricing for members and non-members.
Although commonly thought of as an outdoor sport, tennis thrives in upstate New York with thousands of active recreational players who compete regularly during the winter months.  See the related article for the websites and phone numbers for local indoor tennis clubs and tennis organizers in the community.  Call to learn more about specific programs. Hope to see you on the courts this winter!

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