Many sports tout that it is a lifelong sport, but when it comes to tennis it most definitely is true. Young children can have success as early as they can pick up a racquet, while as we advance in age we can continue to play tennis both competitively and socially.
There are numerous, well documented, social, physical and psychological benefits to picking up a racquet. Here are just some of the facts documented by the United States Tennis Association (USTA):
- People who participate in tennis 3 hours per week (at moderately vigorous intensity) cut their risk of death in half from any cause, according to physician Ralph Paffenbarger who studied over 10,000 people over a period of 20 years.
- Tennis players scored higher in vigor, optimism and self-esteem while scoring lower in depression, anger, confusion, anxiety and tension than other athletes and non-athletes according to Dr. Joan Finn and colleagues at Southern Connecticut State University.
- Since tennis requires alertness and tactical thinking, it may generate new connections between nerves in the brain and thus promote a lifetime of continuing development of the brain, reported scientists at the University of Illinois.
- Tennis outperforms golf, inline skating and most other sports in developing positive personality characteristics according to Dr. Jim Gavin, author of The Exercise Habit.
Here are a few more physical and psychological reasons to play tennis or introduce your child to the game. Tennis helps:
- Aerobic fitness by burning fat and improving your cardiovascular fitness and maintaining higher energy levels.
- Gross motor control through court movement and ball-striking skills which require control of your large muscle groups.
- Fine motor control by the use of touch shots like angled volleys, drop shots and lobs.
- Cross-training by offering a physically demanding sport that’s fun to play for athletes who are expert in other sports.
- Bone strength and density by strengthening bones of young players and helping prevent osteoporosis in older ones.
- Immune system through its conditioning effects which promote overall health, fitness and resistance to disease.
- Eye-hand coordination because you constantly judge the timing between the on-coming ball and the proper contact point.
- Develop a work ethic because improvement through lessons or practice reinforces the value of hard work.
- Manage mistakes by learning to play within your abilities and realizing that managing and minimizing mistakes in tennis or life is critical.
- Accept responsibility because only you can prepare to compete by practicing skills, checking your equipment and during match play by making line calls.
- Accommodate stress effectively because the physical, mental and emotional stress of tennis will force you to increase you capacity for dealing with stress.
- Learn to solve problems since tennis is a sport based on angles, geometry and physics.
- Learn to win graciously and lose with honor. Gloating after a win or making excuses after a loss doesn’t work in tennis or in life.
The A.C. Nielsen Tennis Center’s motto is Try, Learn, Play and Compete. The philosophy mirrors the approach of USTA nicely. Opportunities start as young as three through active adults. New programs begin the week of January 23. Learn more at www.acnielsentenniscenter.org, by calling (847) 501-2065 or visiting the facility located at 530 Hibbard Road, Winnetka.