Tennis: why it's a game for life!


Tennis is more than just a game to me; it is also my profession, as I have been working full-time as a tennis coach for the past 16 years, teaching children as young as three, to adults aged 70-plus years. I have worked with absolute beginners to the more accomplished players; people who like the feeling of 'just hitting the ball', social players, as well as more serious competitors. I am going to try to explain from my own experiences as a child and now a parent, what I believe are the reasons why you should consider giving this fantastic sport a go if you haven't already done so.

Tennis is social and fun

Tennis is a great sport for families to participate in together; mum, dad and the kids all together on a court, having fun. Learning to play is easier these days with the introduction of slower balls, different court sizes and rackets, suitable for different age groups.

The majority of tennis going on at club level is social - this means people play games against each other for fun, fitness and to meet new friends! Many clubs run social events to help support the running of the club and arrange many family fun events with everyone getting involved.

The more serious players will no doubt venture down the competitive route, playing both singles and doubles matches. This too can be good fun, a great challenge and a fantastic way to develop your game further.

The health benefits

Tennis has long been seen as a 'sport for life', which is true! It's not often you see many other sports - with the exception of golf - with so many of the older generation still able to play. Tennis will improve your agility, balance and coordination, as well as build speed and endurance, and core strength. If nothing else, these are the fundamentals for most sports, so tennis is well worth gaining experience in at a young age.

I have seen many children develop these skills, which they have then transferred into other sports, such as cricket and football, and play at a high level. Playing tennis also engages the mind, requiring the planning and implementation of tactics and quick decision-making skills, making you more alert and mentally active. So it's no wonder that scientists and physicians from around the world view tennis as the most healthful activity to participate in.

Tennis can 'serve' us up important 'life skills'!

You have to learn how to win, as well as how to lose, and conduct both in a gracious respectful manner. This can also be a hard lesson in life too - the ability to cope with the many problems you may face, including stress and nerves. As a tennis player, you are often put in uncomfortable situations; this may be from your opponent, as well as the weather conditions. If you are not mentally strong enough, you may find you come out second best! Playing tennis engages both the mind and the body at the same time.

Summary

In conclusion, by playing tennis you will be engaged mentally, physically as well as emotionally. You can play competitively, or as a recreational activity with friends and family. Either way, playing tennis is a good sport to maintain your health and fitness.

It has been calculated that an hour-long game of singles burns around 600 calories for men and 420 for women! In addition to the fitness and health benefits, tennis also provides numerous social and mental health benefits as well.

If you are interested in giving tennis a try, look out for the various FREE open days happening this summer across the country. For more information, visit this Lawn Tennis Association site.
 
Gareth studied Sports Science and Administration at Nottingham Trent University and after graduating in 1999, he began tennis coaching at West Bridgford Tennis Club in Nottingham. He is a fully-licensed level 4 coach, who has a wealth of experience in coaching various standards of players, including players competing currently for Great Britain in the Special Olympics.