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Family Sports

Net Gains: Tennis Offers Healthy Returns

Tennis is among the most often-played sports in the world, ranked #4 in popularity. The physical and psychological challenges of the game make it a lifelong passion; many people continue to hone their skills from childhood through retirement.

Tennis is an anaerobic sport, with short bursts of activity that promote strength, speed and power. It also builds endurance, agility and eye-hand coordination, plus requires tactical thinking and alertness. It’s a fun sport that the whole family can play together, or that just two can play alone.

The basic rules of the sport, like how points are awarded and what constitutes a foul, are easy to learn. The skills, strategies, subtleties and nuances, however, require frequent playing time and coaching.     

During training, you’ll learn how to effectively grip your racket, execute both forehand and backhand strokes, toss and serve, rally, return serves, take overhead shots and ground strokes, control the ball, play at the net, move your feet, manage your emotions and more.

Equipment Needs

  • Buy recreational versions of racquets – not professional tournament play models at first
  • Consider a racquet with an oversized head in the beginning so you have a larger contact area for hitting the ball
  • Be sure you buy the right grip size for your hand. The racquet should be comfortable to hold – not too wide or too narrow
  • Get balls designed for the surface you’re going to play on – hard or soft clay
  • Get tennis shoes with a smooth sole, not running shoes that grip the court’s surface and restrict your side-to-side motion (and could injure your knees)
  • Wear shorts with pockets so you can hold extra balls for your serve
  • Wear a comfortable top that isn’t too loose or too tight in materials that breathe
  • You can wear a visor or hat, as long as it doesn’t block your view of the ball or arc of play
  • Secure glasses or sunglasses to your head with a sports band
Learn to Love the Play
There is free, public access to tennis courts in most communities and on most bases. Join a club or community group and set up practices with other players. Ask about affordable clinics or coaches and soon you’ll discover that tennis is a great social network of people of all ages and skill levels.  
The first time you hit a winning shot and feel the rush of success, you may find yourself dreaming of competing at Wimbledon or the US Open. That’s OK. It’s all part of the allure of this energetic, fun game.

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