March 27, 2015

Match point: ‘Soup Can Tennis’ clinics set

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- About 15 years ago Larry Geer, a tennis instructor and employee with Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s Recreational Sports and Services, decided he wanted to do something “fun” that would help people in more ways than one. Soup Can Tennis was born.  

The Soup Can Tennis concept is simple. Geer offers a group tennis lesson each Saturday, from spring through fall, at the tennis courts near the SIU School of Law. 

The group tennis lesson is for people of all ages and abilities. Anybody can come. There is no need to register in advance. Just bring three cans of food. Geer donates the food to charitable causes, usually the Women’s Center or the Good Samaritan House in Carbondale. 

In honor of the event’s informal birthday this year there’s going to be a big celebration. The 2015 kickoff for Soup Can Tennis is set from noon to 3 p.m. on Saturday, April 11.  

Geer said that typically, about 20 people come for the group lesson, but he is hoping to see at least 50 participants this time. Geer donates his time to provide instruction but for the April 11 session, other tennis instructors are donating their time as well so there will be an instructor on each of the six courts. In addition, there will be pizza for all of the participants about 2 p.m. 

The Soup Can Tennis, sponsored by Recreational Sports and Services and SIU, will continue each Saturday thereafter, as long as the weather allows, typically until late fall. Beginning April 18, the lessons are from noon to 1:30 p.m. The kickoff event will move to April 18 in the event of inclement weather on April 11. 

Participants should wear tennis shoes and are encouraged to bring tennis racquets. Tennis balls and a limited number of racquets will be provided.  

For more information, contact Geer at or Sally Wright at