Frequently Asked Questions – court availability Autumn & Winter

Frequently Asked Questions about court availability in Autumn and Winter. 

October 30th 2020 

I was playing tennis 3 evenings a week in the summer but now can’t seem to book a court in the evenings, why is this? 

In summer members had unprecedented access to courts as COVID-19 restrictions meant we were unable to host our normal schedule of inter club matches and organized club sessions. At the same time our junior programme was only just getting re-started after 2 months of shut down. At the end of September the club returned to its ‘autumnal norm’ with its full programme of activities. The Coaching Sub-Committee and Tennis Committee work on the detailed schedule and agree court allocations. The mid week court allocation for our autumn programme remains the same as it has been for the last few years.  

There never seems to be a court available at weekends? 

Every year, at the end of September the LTA inter club winter league matches commence. This year has been no different  – except perhaps this October will be one of the wettest Octobers on record! This makes match scheduling a nightmare for us. When these matches are played depends on whether we get home or away draws. There are specific dates or round deadlines when matches have to be played. We try our best to schedule matches at a time that will optimise booking opportunities for members.

This year we had a high number of matches in the early rounds. Coupled with a very wet start to autumn this meant a number of early round matches had to be re-arranged. All of this resulted in courts being booked out more than we expected in the first part of this month. The situation will ease going forward.

It’s always worth checking the court schedule right up to the time you want to play. If any matches or coaching sessions are cancelled or finish earlier than expected we do our best to free up the courts for members to book.

To alleviate the situation a little, the Tennis Committee agreed this term to trial the scheduling of Club Social Sessions on a Saturday only to allow more court bookings on Sundays.

Why are so many juniors playing in the evenings? 

Highgate has always had a junior coaching programme running after school until early evening as well as Saturday mornings. Our club philosophy has always been to deliver opportunities for players of all levels to play and improve. Many of our members learnt their tennis at a club like Highgate. Our juniors will sustain the tennis clubs of the future. At the beginning of lockdown our programme was stopped. It was partially re-instated in June but is only fully up and running this term.

Due to the huge demand for tennis this year we have been able to fill our junior squads – something that did not always happen in previous the autumn and winter terms.

The committees have worked closely with the Director of Tennis to ensure the overall court allocations to coaching have remained the same as in previous years.

Have you any tips on how I can get to play more?  

  • Be flexible – there are usually spaces to play on a day but not always at your first choice of time.
  • Look for spaces on Brookside or school courts; the main courts are always the busiest.
  • Check out last minute availability – we often release more courts on the day. Especially on a Saturday if social isn’t busy. Some Sundays will be for member use all day if there are no team matches.
  • Be realistic – we are not a park facility but a club that provides opportunity for juniors and adults to improve their tennis through coaching, club match play as well as individual play. Court access is balanced across all these different interests. 5hrs or more of tennis every week for every member is not realistic or fair on other members.
  • Investigate the opportunities there are for you to play in other ways – winter leagues, organised social sessions, coaching drills, join a team etc.

Get involved on the committees. 

The club is run mostly by volunteers, for its members and the local community.

Highgate is managed by a General Committee, Tennis Committee and Cricket Committee. We are always looking for volunteers to help run the club.  Currently we have vacancies on the Tennis Committee. If you have a specific skill you think we could do with or would just like to help out do get in touch and talk to a member of the one of these Committees. Full details on our website.