What We’ve Learned at the Tennis Shop

sprinkler on clay tennis courts at Quaker Ridge
The clay tennis courts at Quaker Ridge need to be watered regularly to keep them in top condition.

By Shana Belfast and Luis Gonzalez

Shana Belfast

Shana Belfast

I work in the tennis department at Quaker Ridge, and the best part of this job so far has been the people. Everyone is very friendly, open, and welcoming. The positive energy that the tennis coaches bring every morning makes me excited to go to my internship.

I enjoyed getting to know all of the coaches. For example, Coach Raissa is currently majoring in psychology in college, which is my future major. She is a really great and fun person, and she even showed me some of the classes she was currently taking on the first day of my internship.

My day begins around 9:00 a.m., when I arrive at the tennis courts. Usually the first task for me and my fellow-intern Luis is cleaning the outside tables, which the guests use to rest and to socialize before or after a tennis lesson or match. After that, Luis and I take lunch orders for the tennis staff, including ourselves. I make sure guests have fresh, clean towels, and occasionally I check guests in.

One really interesting task that I have liked learning about is stringing a tennis racquet. Racquet strings lose their tension over time as a result of the force of the ball on the racquet face. When this happens, the ball does not bounce as much. A racquet-stringing machine is used to repair it. My job was to add the string to the machine and adjust the tension.

Sometimes in the mornings, I watch the coaches teach the guests. I especially like when the guest is a child, because I am interested in working with children in some way in the future. It is so great to see them learn while they have fun!

When it is almost lunch time, I usually go with one of the tennis coaches on a golf cart to help pick up lunch. I enjoy this part of the day because it allows me to see the beautiful natural green space, people playing golf, and other parts of the club that I do not usually get to see when I’m on the tennis courts.

At times when there are no guests on the courts and we have some free time, the coaches play tennis with us and give us some technique tips, which is also fun.

Luis Gonzalez

Luis Gonzalez

Like Shana, I also enjoy working with the staff in the tennis department. Having in-depth conversations with them has improved my knowledge of career paths in tennis and other fields.

I also enjoy interacting with members who come on a regular basis to the tenis department’s power workouts and clinics. Their perspectives on the club have been enlightening.

One thing I’ve learned about is the maintenance that must be done on a clay tennis court. As the surface material is not a fixed object, and more like sand than concrete, keeping the layers even is extremely important for playing. That is why the courts are cleaned regularly, usually every other day. However, when evening out the surface, some of the clay goes onto the lines. The club has a separate cleaning device to keep the lines clean.

Other than keeping an even surface, tennis courts must also have a consistent moisture content. So the courts also have sprinklers. Whey they are on (see above), it is a sight to behold.

All in all, my experience so far has been amazing.