The Experiences of Black Participants in Organized Tennis Leagues

James P. Gremillion, Mariela Fernandez, Gregory Ramshaw, Elizabeth D. Baldwin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Although the leisure research discusses how feelings of being unwelcome dissuade racial and ethnic groups from participating in recreational activities, less attention has been placed on what elements allow a sense of belonging to be developed among minorities. This study examined Black adults’ experiences in recreational tennis leagues. Specifically, the research questions addressed: (1) the elements influencing Black adults’ decision to start and continue playing in tennis leagues, and (2) the role of tennis leagues in creating a sense of belonging for Black players. Data were collected through semi-structured interviews with thirteen Black tennis players participating in tennis leagues in Columbia, SC. The data analysis revealed several themes related to the process of joining a tennis league, the benefits of playing in a league, and a sense of belonging. Elements that were crucial in drawing new players and retaining existing players were identified. Findings from this study should assist tennis organizations and professionals in recruiting Black adults to recreational tennis.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)115-133
JournalInternational Journal of the Sociology of Leisure
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • African Americans
  • Sports
  • Ethnicity
  • Race


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