Courts: Test Your Court Knowledge
Take out your pencils. Put away your construction books. Here’s a pop quiz to see how much you know about tennis courts:
- True or False: Net tension should be checked regularly.
- True or False: Power-washing can remove stains from courts.
- True or False: Backboards and hitting walls should be placed on the north side of the court.
- True or False: Cracks can be temporarily addressed with a hot-pour rubberized crack filler so that play can continue until the builder can look at it.
- True or False: An oil-based stain-blocking paint can help hide marks on the court.
- True or False: Basketball can hurt a tennis court.
- True or False: Lines for 10 and Under play on 78-foot courts should be white.
- True or False: All lines for 10 and Under play are 1-1/2” wide.
- True or False: 10 and Under lines should stop 1” short of regular playing lines.
1. Net tension should be checked regularly.
False. Net tension, set correctly, should not require constant correction. “Lots of court owners are confused about net tension,” says Lee Murray of Competition Athletic Surfaces in Chattanooga, Tenn. “We suggest they set the net to the proper height and tension they prefer, then remove the handle. There’s no need for adjusting and certainly no need to allow every player to tinker with the tension.” Various net tensioning devices are available on the market.
2. Power-washing can remove stains from courts.
True, but power-washing shouldn’t be attempted without professional supervision. “If hosing and gentle scrubbing won’t remove a stain,” says Murray, “they can try a pressure washer, but they need to use common sense and to be careful about doing damage to the surface, either cushioned or hard. In the end, very few owners tackle this effort themselves.”
3. Backboards and hitting walls should be placed on the north side of the court.
True. It’s not a rule, but a recommendation, at least for those who live in the north. “Most of the time I find that owners who install bang boards or windscreens do not take into consideration the shading their work will produce on the courts,” says Fred Kolkmann of Fred Kolkmann Tennis & Sport Surfaces, LLC in Grafton, Wis. “In our part of the country, and I’m sure the rest of the northern tier, when someone installs a bang board, plants trees, or leaves windscreens up too long (or worse-case scenario leaves them up all winter) on the south fence lines, the result is always peeling paint in that shade area.”
In addition, he notes, the shade keeps snow from melting, and doesn’t allow surface water to evaporate as well as it should. “When I meet with clients or give seminars, I always mention that permanent structures should always be placed on the north side of the courts and windscreens on the south fence lines should be the last up and first down as soon as the season is over.”
4. Cracks can be temporarily addressed with a hot-pour rubberized crack filler so that play can continue until the builder can look at it.
False. As much as you want to hide cracks so that play can continue, leave it open until the builder can see it and make a diagnosis as to the cause. “A hot-pour crack-filling product will also become tacky with heat and will not accept acrylic coatings,” says Pete Smith of the CourtSMITHS in Toledo, Ohio.
5. An oil-based stain-blocking paint can help hide marks on the court.
False: “Never apply oil-based products to surfaces needing water-based acrylic coatings,” notes Smith.
6. Basketball can hurt a tennis court.
True. The basketball itself might not hurt the court, but players often don’t wear court-friendly shoes, and those can mark the surface. Ditto for inline skating and other sport uses. In particular, remember that players of other sports can sustain injuries by running into net posts, fencing and so on, and that playing area sizes will vary from court to court. Why open athletes (not to mention yourself as a court manager) up to that kind of risk?
7. Lines for 10 and Under Tennis play on 78-foot courts should be white.
False: On 78-foot courts with blended lines for 10U play, the 10U lines should be distinctly different from the 78-foot white playing lines, and should never be white. USTA recommends they be in the same color family as the court surface itself. In other words, if the court surface is dark green, 10U lines should be a bright or light green.
8. All lines for 10 and Under play are 1-1/2” wide.
True. All 10U lines are 1-1/2” wide. For 78-foot courts marked for regular adult play, centerlines and center service marks are 2” wide. All other lines are between 1” and 2” wide, except for the baseline, which may be up to 4” wide.
9. 10 and Under lines should stop 1” short of regular playing lines.
False: 10U lines must stop 3” before the white lines. (They may not run up to, over or into the white lines, either).
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