By Robert Soneru, Tennis Director, USPTA Elite Professional
Played for hundreds of years and by millions of people worldwide, tennis has been called the sport of a lifetime. Its origins can be traced back to the 12th century in northern France where a ball was struck with the palm of the hand and called jeu de paume (“game of the palm”). Since then, the game, the rules and the equipment have evolved into today’s modern game which offers tremendous year-round social enjoyment and health benefits.
Tennis is a sport that can be played by every age and ability level, whether playing individual tournaments, league competition or in a social, laidback "hit and giggle" setting with friends. You will spend time with old and new friends, experience teamwork, build sportsmanship, and have fun.
Competitive tennis burns more calories than aerobics, inline skating or cycling, according to studies on caloric expenditures. With the constant change of direction and running to reach the ball, you develop and tone your muscles and improve flexibility especially in the quadriceps, hamstrings, calves, arms, shoulders and upper back. According to physician Ralph Paffenbarger of Harvard University School of Public Health, people who participate in tennis three hours per week at moderately vigorous intensity cut their risk of death in half from any cause.
In addition to the physical benefits of tennis, tennis players scored higher in vigor, optimism and self-esteem while scoring lower in depression, anger, confusion, anxiety and tension than other athletes or non-athletes, according to Dr. Joan Finn and colleagues in a study done 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 is simpler to learn than it has been in the past. With the introduction of softer balls that don’t bounce as high or fly off your racket as quick, it’s a little bit easier to control your shots. This will make your rallies last longer and that means you spend less time picking up balls and more time having fun.
See you on the courts!