NEW ULM - New Ulm Tennis Association President Norm Kopp likes to say that if you're able to walk or jog, you're able to play tennis.
While that may not be completely true in all cases, it isn't too far from being a stretch. The sport is one where people of all ages can enjoy, both at a competitive or just a leisurely activity.
For those who have an itch to get out and get active this spring, NUTA may just be the cure for that desire to compete and get exercise at the same time.
Spring is upon us and Kopp says that the sport is easy to learn and is perfect for people of all ages.
"I think there's hope, because adults are looking more at exercise now, especially in New Ulm this is the way to exercise and not think about it," Kopp said.
Although there are a few members that belong to NUTA, the club is always looking for more for tournaments and just open play.
Kopp said a lot of younger players prefer a team sports, but tennis can be a team sport (doubles competition) and can be played by anyone of all ages.
"We have a core group that is pretty solid, but we've always had a hard time competing with the other sports in town," Kopp said. "This is a big town for baseball and soccer and the others too, and I think maybe it's a sign of the times too that the youth may be more interested in a team sport.
"The adults, I just think that they think they're too old," Kopp said. "I would encourage that if you can walk, you can play tennis. It just takes a few basic lessons or continue with lessons - I take lessons from time to time, so you're never too old to learn and sharpen some skills that you have."
Courts are available throughout the city. New Ulm High School, Martin Luther College, Washington Elementary and Lincoln Park all have courts available for anyone who wants to play or practice, barring they're being used competitively for competition at that time.
Compared to most sports, tennis is relatively cheap. Kopp said a racket for an adult can be purchased for about $80-$160 and it should last a long time.
The strings on the racket will become loose or broken, but the racket can be re-strung for about $25. A can of tennis balls runs about $3 and shoes will cost about $50-$75.
There is a an annual tournament held every August and an annual winter tournament every January at the Vogel Field House and there is another random draw tournament in August that is set up to include the Martin Luther College students.
NUTA has a several tournaments lined up over the year. There's a chance for a random-draw, mixed-up-doubles tournament in May or June and Kopp said that the tournament is for members to get a chance to know each other better.
Cost for membership is $25 for family, $15 for adults and $7 for students. There is open tennis at the New Ulm Recreation Center (Vogel Field House) for members from 6-8 p.m. on Tuesday nights and a league from 8-10 p.m. that same night.
Also, on Tuesday evenings there is a league for advanced students and adults at the MLC Courts. Cost is $5 and the first 12 to register get in to the league. Open plat at the MLC courts is from 6-8 p.m. Thursday nights and 8-10 a.m. Saturday mornings. There are children's lessons for ages 6-13 on Tuesday nights taught by United States Professional Tennis Association certified instructor Willis Runck with help from Bob Hildebrandt. Having Runck on board gives NUTA an advantage in tournaments, because he's certified and trained in all of the rules that may come up along the way.
Another advantage that NUTA has is that it's a member of the United States Tennis Association.
"That has some benefits in that they will do training for instructors and they have books available," Kopp said. "There's a representative that will be on hand for advice and even come to tournaments."
Kopp also said that New Ulm Telecom has been a key contributor in helping NUTA.
For more information, go to www.newulm.usta.com
For more information, contact
Norm Kopp (507) 359-1160
Willis Runck (507) 359-4308
Bob Hildebrandt (507) 217-1086
Or go to www.newulm.usta.com