With Wimbledon in full swing, there have been casualties a plenty with some of the biggest names in the sport making an early exit. While these exits may have detracted somewhat from the spectacle itself, Wimbledon still helps create a great enthusiasm for the sport, with many people taking up tennis after a long time or giving it a go for the very first time.
There are a number of social and physical advantages to playing tennis that can benefit various aspects of your life.
Playing tennis, particularly a singles game, is one of the most arduous sports as you are always on the move, having to cover large areas of the court. This constant movement brings about an increased heart rate, allowing more blood and oxygen to get around your body, helping your muscles work harder, building up lactic acid and helping to burn off fat.
The more tennis you play over a certain period of time, the greater fitness levels you’re going to achieve, allowing you to not only function better on the tennis court, but also improve all other areas of your life.
While a singles game of tennis focuses on your own ability to move around the court to reach a number of different shots, playing a doubles game with a partner requires a completely different mindset. Rather than relying on your physical skills, playing with a partner requires you to be more tactical, playing on your ability to work together and be co-ordinated as a team.
If you play a doubles game like you would a singles game, you’re just going to get in each other’s way and not cover the whole court. Initially, playing with a partner can be a difficult task if you have not done it before. You will need to have trust in your partner that they will be able to get to a shot as well as being able to effectively communicate with each other.
While you may only be doing this in an attempt to win a doubles game, the skills you’ll develop within these doubles games are ones you can transfer into both your private and personal life. Particularly within the workplace, having a colleague as your doubles partner will help improve your communication levels in the office, increasing trust and helping the office become much more efficient.
Improved Agility And Balance
Particularly when playing a singles game, the need to move around the court and reach a range of shots will help improve your own balance and agility as well as your hand eye co-ordination. Just like all other skills learnt on the tennis court, these are transferable into everyday life as this increased balance can help prevent any trips or falls, as well as increasing your overall maneuverability.
In addition to work done on the tennis court, you can also do a number of exercises to help further enhance your agility. These generally should be aimed around short speed burst exercises and stretching. The short speed burst exercises will help improve your reactions and muscle memory, whereas the stretching will help you to maintain the flexibility required to perform to the highest possible standard.
Reduce Risk Of Heart Disease
Playing tennis regularly allows you to lower your blood pressure, decrease your body weight and lower your cholesterol, helping to greatly reduce the risk of heart disease. According to research carried out a number of years ago by the College Alumni Health Study, they found that on average, men who burnt around 2,000 calories a week reduced the risk of heart disease from anywhere between 25% to 33%. Playing tennis two or three times a week, along with light exercises away from the court to maintain healthy muscles, will be more than enough to burn in excess of 2,000 calories a week, improving the health of your heart.
However, in addition to exercising, you must also make sure that you try and maintain a balanced, healthy diet. Eating a lot of junk food creates a build-up of cholesterol in your arteries, greatly increasing the risk of heart disease. Maintaining a healthy diet reduces this build-up of cholesterol and significantly reduces the chance of heart disease occurring. Particularly if you’re in your later years, this is something you really need to be aware of as you are at a much greater risk of heart disease than someone of a younger age.
Improved Mental Strength
All forms of competition, whether in sport, business or in your personal life, require you at times to be mentally strong and tennis is no different. In order to be victorious on a regular basis, you need to be able to stay focused, play one shot at a time and concentrate on only the next point. If you get disheartened after playing a few bad shots, it’s going to have a knock on effect on the rest of your performance, reducing your focus and breaking you mentally. Rather than your opponent beating you, you will have beaten yourself.
Mental toughness isn’t something that you can get straightaway if you don’t already have it, it takes time to build up. The best way to do this is to create belief in yourself and willingness to win. Once you have developed that, you will begin to become more mentally tough, making it much more difficult for your opponent to beat you. Many professional sports stars use a variety of techniques to always try and maintain the highest mental discipline. This includes carrying out regular yoga and meditation to try and create an inner calm as well as talking to a psychiatrist and hiring a mental coach.
Another motivation technique to help you succeed is to actually go out and purchase items for you to play tennis, such as rackets, polo shirts and other items that are going to help you look the part. If you’ve spent money actually purchasing goods for the purpose of playing tennis, you’re going to be much more focused to succeed as you won’t want your money to go to waste. However, this doesn’t just mean go out and spend a large amount of money on high-end products. It’s not the amount that matters, it’s just the motivation of knowing that you have some financial incentive to achieve success. However, in the early stages, particularly when learning the game, you may want to try using good value, affordable products until you have achieved a level of ability where you wish to take a step up to the next level. There are a number of great offers and competitions across the web that can help provide you with all the items you need to hit the court.
This article was written by John Johnston. John is part of the marketing team for Workwear Express, one of the UK’s leading workwear and printed t-shirt suppliers.