FISD serves up new tennis court reservation system


Pujan Shah

Redhawk tennis is looking to redeem themselves Tuesday against Heritage after a tough loss last week. “Our district is stacked with tennis talent, so every match will be a battle,” assistant tennis coach Neil Grobler said.

A sound akin to an explosively loud, brief, hollow pen click.

One long beat of silence, riddled with anticipation.

And then, as expected, another sound of that nature rings out.

Everybody knows that sound–it’s the sound of tennis, one of the most popular sports in the world.

It’s so popular, in fact, that the process of reserving one of the courts anywhere in Frisco ISD has often been as chaotic as the matches themselves, even as continued expansion has seen the number of courts rise into the hundreds.

“We don’t have data on how much the courts are used,” FISD athletics communications facilitator Matt Wixon said. “We didn’t have a reservation system of any kind before and so there was no way to track how much they were used. However, we had seen times at facilities when most or all courts were taken and had heard from members of the community that it could be difficult to find an open court.”

Part of this could be due to other nearby districts’ tendency to lock up their tennis courts as soon as school ends.

“In recent years, many school districts in the area, such as Allen ISD, have begun locking their courts outside of school hours and do not allow community members to play on them at all, “ Wixon said. “McKinney ISD, another large nearby district, prohibits community play at two of its three high school campuses and closes all courts at sundown. The combined population of these cities is more than 300,000 and tennis is very popular among their residents. Many residents in those cities can make a 5 to 10-minute drive to one of the more than 100 courts in Frisco ISD, which allows community use of its tennis courts.”

To better manage the massive influx of players, change is underway, thanks to a court reservation system that has been in the works for more than a year.

“It’s not just community members using the courts,” Wixon said. “It’s tennis instructors who are trying to avoid fees charged in other cities to use courts to give private lessons. We’ve had complaints from FISD community members that those coaches are monopolizing the courts, essentially grabbing a court and staying on it to give hours and hours of lessons.”

I am hopeful that this will give more players an opportunity to play,

— head coach Erica Dopson

Redhawks tennis coach Erica Dopson is hopeful the new system will help tennis players have a place to play when they want to play.

“I think this system will help overall with people being able to find courts in and around Frisco,” head tennis coach Erica Dopson said. “I am hopeful that this will give more players an opportunity to play. Currently the courts are always full and there is no way to know if a court will be available. This new system can help guarantee a court and eliminate the need to drive around and look for one.”