Rackets

RACKETS RETURN TO PLAY GUIDANCE

Updated: 27 Nov 2020 Post lockdown measures
Published: 02 Sep 2020

Post Lockdown


Release from Lockdown December 2020 (updated 27 November)

The Prime Minister's Statement on 23rd November has made it clear there will be changes at the end of the current lock-down based on the national system of Tiers adopted in England. While the detail for sport needed to be understood the assumptions are that Rackets may continue in Tier 1 areas, subject to the six-player bubbles articulated under Phase 2 of the Return to Play Guidelines. In Tier 2 areas, play is restricted to Zones or same household or support bubbles, effectively Phase 1 of the Return to Play Guidelines. In Tier 3 areas then play is restricted to same household or support bubbles.

Full Guidance Documents

We are still awaiting the publication of the Government's full, detailed guidance and legislation so that we can update our full guidance documents for Tennis Clubs and Schools, professional and players, detailing all procedures and information needed to for Rackets to take place safely and in line with Government guidelines. Therefore, while we had hoped to be in a position to publish these documents today (27 November), it is now unfortunately not likely to be possible until w/c 30 November - these will however be made available as soon as it is possible to do so.

While waiting for the full guidance to be confirmed, the T&RA have published an updated summary grid for Rackets by tier that can take place on 2 December. The updated guidance documents for players, venues and professionals will follow.

Play at schools is unaffected and may continue subject to the guidelines below.

T&RA Guidance for Schools

Recognising the current unique position of schools the T&RA has produced the following guidelines for Rackets in schools to be used in as far as they adhere to each school’s policies and risk assessments.

  • Rackets can be played (including competitive singles or doubles) within, but not between, the school’s ‘bubbles’ or ‘households’.
  • Socially distanced ‘Zones’ can be played between players not in the same ‘bubble’ or ‘household’; in which case, players should handle different balls or wear a glove on their non-playing hand.
  • Social distancing should be maintained as far as possible during the warm-up.
  • Balls should be changed regularly, at least between play by different bubbles.
  • Hands should be sanitised before going on court, after play, and is recommended between games.
  • Unnecessary contact between players is to be avoided.
  • Players are to be discouraged from touching the walls, raising their voices or touching their faces while on court.
  • The court, gallery, office and entrance to the building should be ventilated as much as is reasonably possible.
  • Play should be scheduled to avoid congestion around the court, gallery, office and building.
  • Pupils are to use their own racket where possible; communal rackets should be sanitised after use.
  • Professionals are advised to coach from the balcony as much as possible; where it is necessary for the professional to be on court, they should maintain social distance from the pupils and not play singles or doubles with the pupils.

The full guidelines can be downloaded here.

T&RA Statement November Lockdown

COVID-19 case numbers are rising rapidly across the whole of the UK and we must act now to control the spread of the virus. The single most important action we can all take, in fighting coronavirus, is to stay at home, to protect the NHS and save lives.

To reduce social contact, the Government has ordered indoor leisure facilities to close from Wednesday evening, 4th November, which includes  Rackets courts. However, school courts may remain open for schoolboys and schoolgirls to play, subject to the school's own internal safety assessments. External evening clubs are not permitted.

Read the Cabinet Office Guidance (31st October) in full.

Covid 19 And Latest Tier Regulations: Update 29th October

The T&RA has reviewed the latest Government guidance and the evolving situation across the country. At this time, we are not recommending any major changes to the current T&RA Play Safe Guidelines.

One area in which we are now issuing more specific guidance is for play by over 18-year olds in educational teams. The Government guidance provides an exemption that allows any number of over 18-year olds to play indoors where it is for educational purposes. We interpret this to mean that play is currently permitted in all Tiers amongst players that represent university clubs or teams. For this purpose, and in line with Government guidance, university clubs or teams are defined as clubs or teams who represent (and are made up of pupils from) schools, colleges and universities. Organised Rackets permitted within educational teams includes coach-led/supervised activity, including team training, practice, or inter-mural competitions subject to the relevant club’s COVID-19 rules and policy. Note: this does not include non-student members of school or university clubs who use the school or university court.

T&RA continues to lobby the Government to address the inconsistencies and unnecessary restrictions in their current rules. We share our members’ frustrations, and remind members that the T&RA Play Safe Guidelines are our interpretation of the Government rules, to try and assist clubs to enable as much compliant Rackets as they can.

The next scheduled review will be at the end of November.

Update 12th October 

The relevant provisions of the Tier 1 and Tier 2 regulations and links to those regulations are set out below.

In summary

In Tier 2 areas indoor sport is only permitted for same household, including those who have formed a support bubble following government rules. Hence no Rackets except for same householdCoaching is still permitted with one household or bubble. Under 18s may continue to play subject to Play Safe guidelines. 

In Tier 1 areas the Rule of 6 continues so singles is possible, subject to T&RA Phase 2 guidelines.

 

TIER 2

The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Local COVID-19 Alert Level) (High) (England) Regulations 2020 UK Statutory Instruments 2020 No. 1104 https://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2020/1104/contents/made

Tier 2 restrictions on gatherings

Participation in gatherings* indoors

No person may participate in a gathering in the Tier 2 area which—

(a) consists of two or more people, and

(b) takes place indoors.

The above sub-paragraph does not apply if any of the exceptions set out below apply.

*Note that a gathering takes place when two or more persons are present together in the same place in order—

(a) to engage in any form of social interaction with each other, or

(b) to undertake any other activity with each other.

Exceptions in relation to indoor gatherings restricted by paragraph 1

Exception 1: (same or linked households) is that all the people in the gathering—

(a) are members of the same household, or

(b) are members of two households which are linked households in relation to each other (see paragraph 6).

Exception 16: (other sports) is that the person concerned is taking part in a permitted indoor sports gathering, defined as a gathering which is organised for the purposes of allowing persons who have a disability to take part in any sport or other fitness related activity, and—

(a) which is organised by a business, a charitable, benevolent or philanthropic institution or a public body,

(b) which takes place indoors on relevant premises, and

(c) in respect of which the gathering organiser or manager of the relevant premises complies with the required precautions

TIER 1

The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Local COVID-19 Alert Level) (Medium) (England) Regulations 2020 UK Statutory Instruments 2020 No. 1103 https://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2020/1103/contents/made

No person may participate in a gathering in the Tier 1 area which consists of more than six people. i.e. the Rule of 6 continues.


Update 22nd September

 

Following the Government’s update on 22 September, the immediate implications for Rackets are:

  1. Rackets remains at Phase 2 (bubbles)
  2. School professionals can continue to coach a single group of  up to 15 juniors within their defined school bubbles.
  3. Professionals can continue to coach a single pair of players but they must not coach multiple pairs simultaneously.
  4. Anyone inside a Rackets club is strongly recommended to wear a face covering unless on court or with an underlying health condition.
  5. All bars/restaurants/cafes in Rackets clubs must be closed from 10pm – 5am in accordance with national guidance for bars and restaurants.

Sport England have produced a useful FAQ page, which is quite useful.

PHASE 2 - What this means for you… 

From the 1st September all Rackets playing venues are able to move into Phase 2 of our ‘Phased Return to Play’. What this means for players is that they can form ‘Rackets Bubbles’ and play full-court singles matches although additional hygiene and club specific measurements will be in place.

‘RACKETS BUBBLES’

Clubs will gradually start using this term as they implement safety measures to keep players safe. Please bear in mind that some clubs may take longer to put all of the measures in place to adhere to the safety guidelines that are required.

WHAT IS A ‘RACKETS BUBBLE’?

A ‘Rackets Bubble’ consists of up to SIX players from the same club. Where schools have existing bubbles, e.g. a year group or a house, it is expected that players within that year group or house will form larger Rackets bubbles in line with the school’s overarching risk assessments.

Bubbles are able to play a full-court singles Rackets match (doubles is not currently permitted unless all players are in the same household bubble) with the following conditions:

  • ‘Zones’ must be used to maintain social distancing throughout the warm-up.
  • Each player serves at all times with their designated and separate ball, with both balls being changed at the half way point in the match, or if the opponent asks for a new ball (e.g. in the case of breakage/damage).
  • When a player reaches 8 points both players must wipe away any sweat, sanitise their hands and sanitise or change the balls.
  • Players must not wipe their hands on the walls.
  • Players are not allowed to shout or raise their voice.

With restricted court time, we recommend the following conditions on matches to help cap the time taken by each match:

  • Play the best of three games.
  • Play first to 15 points and then sudden-death at 14-all. (Sets to 3 or 5 are not played at this time).

We also recommend the use of protective eye-wear or visors at all times. 

HOW TO FORM A ‘RACKETS BUBBLE’

  • Agree what other five members are going to be in your ‘Rackets Bubble’.
  • Inform your club’s COVID Compliance Officer (CCO) of the name and contact details of your ‘Rackets Bubble’.
  • Confirm with your CCO that you have read the guidelines within this page and that you are allowed to play.
  • You can only belong to one ‘Rackets Bubble’ unless you have a 7-day break between joining another bubble and as long as your CCO agrees.

 

WHAT IF A MEMBER OR YOUR ‘RACKETS BUBBLE’ DISPLAYS SYMPTOMS OF COVID-19?

  • Follow the T&RA Guidance and follow your club’s or school’s protocol for those with COVID-19 symptoms.
  • Players within a club's ‘Rackets Bubble’ that have been in contact with the symptomatic player, within seven days prior, must self-isolate and adhere to the Government Guidelines.
  • Even if other players in the bubble show no symptoms they must self-isolate and take a test, whether or not the symptomatic player has tested positive or negative.
  • Players in the ‘Rackets Bubble’ can resume play if the COVID-19 test is negative.

WHAT IF YOU CAN’T FORM A “RACKETS BUBBLE’?

If you are not able to form a bubble or if your club has not got the measurements in place to allow ‘Rackets Bubbles’ we recommend playing ‘Zones’ which is a modified version of the game which allows players to adhere to social distancing measures. Find the guidelines for playing with ‘Zones’ below.

ZONES

‘Zones’ is a modified version of Rackets that allows two players from different households (outside a common support bubble) to play on court at the same time:

  • Only two players permitted.
  • The aim is to hit a winner or force an error from your opponent as in regular Rackets.
  • Only one player serves / touches the ball with their hand during the match.
  • Both players must keep to their side of the court throughout each rally, using the full length of the court whilst maintaining safe social distancing throughout.
  • If a player crosses into the other side of the court, they immediately forfeit the rally.
  • If there is a danger of players breaching a safe social distance, they must call a let and replay the rally.
  • Once a rally is complete, players switch sides of the court (maintaining a safe social distance) and the server restarts play.

QUESTIONS

If you have any questions please do not hesitate to get in touch by emailing office@tennsiandrackets.com

Please remember that we have developed this Phased Return in accordance with Government Guidelines and it is always evolving and may change at any point.

Download Guidance Guidance on Tiers (from 2 Dec) Guidance for schools HMG Advice Tier 2


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