By Greg Ellison
(Oct. 1, 2020) Since partnering late final yr to handle the Manklin Meadows Racquet Sports activities Complicated, Tim McMullen and Terry Underkoffler have championed proposed court docket expansions and final week started attracting nationally ranked tennis tournaments to Ocean Pines.
Underkoffler, a licensed U.S. Tennis Affiliation teacher, stated the advanced hosted its first ever factors match on Saturday.
“We’ve by no means held USTA tournaments earlier to Saturday,” he stated. “Tim and I, that is our first time working this place [and] we needed to herald new programming and actually take note of the courts.”
The NTRP Match final weekend attracted a slew of USTA-member gamers to the Racquet Sports activities Complicated from throughout Maryland, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and even a competitor from Morgantown, West Virginia.
“That blew me away,” he stated. “I believed it might be solely locals.”
Underkoffler has additionally organized a subsequent USTA occasion, the Ocean Pines Seashore Doubles Match, which is scheduled on Oct. 10.
“What’s distinctive in regards to the NTRP Match is that these gamers are enjoying for factors to qualify for USTA Mid-Atlantic sectionals,” he stated.
Whereas Underkoffler is networking by the USTA to draw extra play, McMullen, who serves as racquet middle amenities supervisor, is overseeing a proposed court docket enlargement for tennis and pickleball into consideration for inclusion within the subsequent fiscal yr working funds.
McMullen stated Worcester County has granted approval to launch the allow course of to construct 4 further pickleball courts and a “Internet Era” tennis court docket used for instruction.
“We have now an excellent yacht membership [and] golf course [so] why not take this facility right here and make it the most effective … on the entire Japanese Shore,” he stated. “That’s what we wish to do.”
Underkoffler stated the necessity for added pickleball courts is urgent.
“Pickleball is exploding and we recover from 100 folks a day that come right here to play,” he stated.
Whereas pickleball demographics are step by step skewing youthful, the attraction can also be important for racquet gamers experiencing knee points.
“They will play 2-3 hours of pickleball and it’s not torturing their legs they usually’re nonetheless getting that competiveness,” he stated. “It’s a extremely fascinating sport.”
Already the one Japanese Shore racquet sports activities facility providing platform tennis, pickleball and tennis, website enlargement plans might add one other wrinkle with wheelchair accessibility.
“We’re taking a look at bringing in tennis for kids with disabilities,” he stated.
Underkoffler stated the intent is to coach workers members find out how to conduct handicap or wheelchair tennis packages.
“I acquired the thought from the Tennis Channel,” he stated.
Underkoffler stated the extremely aggressive sport has been gaining in reputation.
“Should you’re a child in a wheelchair, what are your choices for a sports activities exercise?” he requested. “We’re giving again to our space in a approach that’s distinctive.”
Underkoffler is planning to pursue associated coaching by the Skilled Tennis Registry.
“They’ve a category on find out how to instruct and promote wheelchair tennis,” he stated. “They put us within the chairs and also you get to expertise what they’re doing.”
The proposed facility enlargement can also be a response to market demand.
“We’re trying to develop our pickleball assets to have one other full court docket as a result of the numbers simply dictate the truth that they want extra space to play,” he stated.
Underkoffler stated moreover decreasing wait instances, the extra courts would heighten advertising and marketing capabilities.
“We really feel if we add yet one more court docket of 4 everlasting pickleball courts, we will pickup huge tournaments like we’ve occurring with tennis proper now,” he stated. “That may assist pay for our facility and assist with prices.”