Learn tennis! It’s fun and free at Cottonwood courts

Instructors Pierre Moresi (left foreground – black shirt) and Al Wagner (right foreground – black shirt) coach students (from left) Mike Aubrey, Edith Tanniru, Kim Vargas, Pat Mc Roberts, Karen Daugherty, Ralph Howland, Jerzon Vargas and Jack Veit.

Penny Petersen

Free tennis lessons, courtesy of Cottonwood Tennis Club, are just beginning. Every Monday and Tuesday evening, teachers and students gather on Court 1 at 7:00 p.m. Everyone who wants to learn a fun and challenging game is welcome to attend. You do not have to be a member of Cottonwood Tennis Club to attend. The classes are offered beginning November 12 and run through April 9 with breaks for holidays. Beginners are welcome as well as those who once played but haven’t in a long time. Students learn how to serve, work on forehand technique and backhand shots. They learn how to keep score and tennis strategy.

But the classes are not just for beginners. All levels are welcome. The teaching team divides people up by ability level, and several courts are utilized. Pierre Moresi directs the classes with the aid of five to six assistants. Assistants include Heidi Gilbert and Al Wagner, both certified tennis instructors, as well as Barry Mowers, Ollie Johnson and Joan Osoinach. Al Wagner manages the Tuesday sessions. In addition to the Monday and Tuesday classes, drop-in tennis sessions are scheduled for 6:30 p.m. on Thursday and Sunday evenings.

The free lessons program, sponsored by Cottonwood Tennis Club, was initiated 25+ years ago by Don Neu and has been offered every year since. Each year, it serves more players, both beginners and those with experience.

During the 2017-18 tennis season, about 85 people each week benefited from the lessons and practice sessions. Many graduate from lessons to playing regularly. Joining Cottonwood Tennis Club is optional, but many who start with lessons become club members and then are eligible to sign up for weekly match play called “Organized Play.” The courts are reserved for such play Monday and Wednesday mornings for women, Tuesday and Thursday mornings for men and Friday mornings for mixed doubles. Participants sign up a week ahead of time, and then a coordinator matches each person with three other players of similar abilities.

After students feel comfortable with “Organized Play,” they begin to sign up for the leagues and tournaments that are offered. The two women’s leagues are on Monday (for highest ranking players) and Wednesday (for lower ranking players). The men’s leagues are on Tuesday (for lower ranking players) and Thursday (for higher ranking players).

CTC also offers several competitive tournaments including the following: Rainbow Classic in October, Triple T in December, Gender Doubles in January, Mixed Doubles in February and East/West in March. The tournaments range from three to six days in length and use the courts all day with lunch served at 11:30 a.m. or noon. Prizes are given for the first and second place winners.

Cottonwood Tennis Club has become known as “the most congenial club around,” a place that has good competition in a friendly atmosphere. Members make life-long friends as well as getting lots of healthy exercise. And, many times, it starts with Monday and Tuesday night lessons. So “Come-On-Down” as they say on the quiz show. For further information, you may just show up on Monday nights beginning November 12 or contact Pierre Moresi at  tinpie1116@gmail.com.