One thing that we often hear families and young professionals inquiring about are fun, social outdoor activities to enjoy in the area…events where you can be active while meeting new people and enjoying time with family and friends. That’s exactly what Delmarva Beach Tennis has in mind for their Play Day events and tennis clinics. “It’s a really great way to meet people and to get a good workout too,” said Delmarva Beach Tennis Director Erika Cook this week as we sat down for a Q&A. Cook brings a strong background in tennis to her local business, but she also maintains a sincere passion for the sport, a sport that has played a major role in her life since she picked up her first tennis racquet.

“I have been playing tennis since I was six-years-old so it’s always been a major part of my life,” explained Cook, whose father passed on his love of the game to her at an early age. From there, Cook’s talent and passion kept tennis at the forefront of her life, eventually leading her to Salisbury University to play tennis at the college level. During her time at SU, Cook was the #1 singles and #1 doubles player, as well as the tennis captain. It was also during this time that Cook met her husband, Jacob, who was also a member of the SU tennis team. After graduating and entering the workforce, Cook found herself missing the game immensely. “That was a really hard time for me – not having that hour or two hours a day to just go out and hit balls.” After having a baby and taking time off of work, Cook knew she needed to get back in the game, especially the teaching aspect. As a result, Cook started teaching lessons and heading up kids clinics at the Ocean Pines Racquet Club. “I was able to find my love for the sport again,” she said. “I just really started to fall back in love with teaching people and I felt that I absolutely could not step away from this.” With support and help from her husband, Cook launched Delmarva Beach Tennis, with the aim to provide fun, affordable lessons for all ages.

One aspect of Delmarva Beach Tennis is teaching kids, which according to Cook, lessons can start as early as age 3. “What’s really cool about tennis nowadays is that they’re really trying to target younger kids,” said Cook, explaining that the racquets and tennis balls are even being designed specifically for younger players. Emphasizing fun over competition is another way that she likes to keep tennis exciting for kids. “When they are ten and under, it’s all about them having fun with the sport.”

Encouraging fun is an element that Cook has emphasized for all ages and skill levels at Delmarva Beach Tennis, particularly for adult beginners that might be hesitant about giving a new sport a try. “It’s mostly about, how do I get that person who might be a little intimidated to get out here and have fun,” she said. The Play Day events are one way that Cook hopes to inspire new players to take up tennis. The family-fun events (the first of which will be Sunday, June 5th from 12pm until 2pm) will provide players with an intro-lesson or refresher course in the basic skills of tennis. The Play Day events are also designed as a way for parents to come out and enjoy time with their kids, for couples to find a shared activity to enjoy outdoors, or as a way for locals to socialize and meet new people. What’s more, it’s affordable (at just $10 per player). “You’ll get to come out to the courts for a few hours and get some instruction from myself and some other pros that I know,” explained Cook. “These events make it fun too; it’s a fun, instructional lesson.” Cook also has plans to do a few combo clinics; for example she has plans for a tennis-yoga class in July in which attendees will receive 45 minutes of instruction in tennis, followed by 15 minutes of yoga.

Other events, clinics, and lessons are available at Delmarva Beach Tennis, which can be found online on their website, via their Facebook page, or by subscribing to the Newsletter.

“Tennis has always weaved its way through my life. Like everyone says, it’s a sport for a lifetime,” added Cook. And after receiving a mini-lesson this week, we couldn’t agree more! Besides being an intense workout, it truly is a sport that can stay with you for a lifetime while providing you with a great way to get outside with family and friends. We’ll see you on the court soon Delmarva Beach Tennis!