5 reasons why you should start playing tennis
The summer has arrived. The sun is shining and it’s the perfect weather to get outside and active.
July saw Wimbledon dominate our television screens as the greatest players from around the world took to centre court to battle it out to win the trophy.
Whether Novak Djockovic is your hero, you want to be the next Simona Halep, or you’re inspired by Dylan Alcott – there are plenty of reasons to put down your Pimm’s and fresh strawberries and pick up your racket.
Playing tennis regularly has lots of health benefits. The constant movement during a tennis match will give you a full body workout, improving muscle tone and strength and lowering body fat.
Not only will it give you a great workout, but the sport can also help to lower your resting heart rate in the long term.
You may have heard of American player John Isner after he took part in the longest ever tennis match against France’s Nicholas Mahut at Wimbledon 2010. The match lasted a humungous 11 hours and 5 minutes! Don’t worry though, just 30 minutes of tennis play can do wonders for your health.
Did you also know that Isner holds the record for the fastest ever serve as recognised by the ATP? In the 2016 Davis Cup, he recorded a speed of 157.2 mph. Now, unless you’re taking on the great American in a game, you probably won’t have to be returning balls quite at that speed but tennis will help to improve your reaction times no matter what speed the ball is being served at you.
Tennis is great for reducing stress and anxiety. Not only will you get the rush of endorphins and the vitamin D benefits from playing outside in the sun, but nothing quite beats taking your frustration out on a tennis ball after a stressful day at the office!
2. Meet new people
As well as the physical health benefits tennis can provide, it will also give your social life a boost. They say it takes two to tango but it also takes two to tennis (or four if you fancy a game of doubles).
The sport will give you an opportunity to meet new people and there’s nothing like a bit of healthy competition to grow friendships.
If you have nobody to play with, don’t worry. Take a look around and you’ll find there are group coaching courses within your local area or communities to help match you with other players at a similar level. Everyone loves a new challenge so you’ll quickly find yourself with plenty of people to grow a friendly rivalry with.
You can even hire a court with existing friends and family. You’ll get a dose of healthy exercise and a chance to nurture your relationship with your nearest and dearest.
3. A sport suitable for all
Tennis is an inclusive sport meaning it can be enjoyed by anyone and everyone. It’s suitable for all ages and abilities and can be adapted in various different ways including the court size, racket size and low compression balls.
For younger audiences, it’s a great way to teach good sportsmanship and learn how to work as a team. It also encourages important life lessons on how to control emotions, overcome challenges and move on from mistakes.
4. Set yourself goals and smash them
We all love that feeling of accomplishment when reach goals we’ve set ourselves. Of course, trying a new sport, or picking something up that you haven’t practised in a while can be a bit daunting. Sometimes breaking out of your comfort zone can be the most eye-opening and rewarding experience.
Start by setting yourself small goals, for example ‘Today, I am going to return a serve.’ By starting small, you’ll be able to keep yourself motivated with goals that make you try hard but are achievable. Take pride in each of your accomplishments, no matter how big or small.
If you don’t achieve your goal straight away, don’t worry. The best goals make you work hard to complete them. The harder you work, the more accomplished you’ll feel when you get there. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with taking the time you need to reach your goals, and setting yourself new ones to help you get there.
You can always find an excuse for not picking up the racket. There’s always something in the way, work to be done, washing to be complete and friends to catch up with. But it’s equally important to make sure you take time for yourself. Reserve some of your free time to participate in activities that make you feel happy and fulfilled.
Tennis could be that ‘me time’ that you never knew how much you needed. The only thing holding you back from giving it a go, is you!
This blog was written by Macca Neaves, Head Coach at Portsmouth Tennis Centre.