Tennis Racket

Tennis: The Workout You Didn’t Know You Were Getting

Compared to the usual fast-paced sports we enjoy- basketball, soccer, and football for example- tennis tends to be seen as less aggressive and less physically demanding. And who can blame those who might think that way? In football, the players are going at full sprint for about three hours while getting their butts kicked into next week on every play. Basketball and soccer, although considered less physical than football, are still pretty strenuous.

The players in those sports run an average of at least 7 miles every game. Having played basketball and soccer for 17 years, I should know…it was brutal (Uh oh, Vietnam flashback) but I do remember most of us were in pretty great shape as a result of our muscles being strengthened every day.In tennis, however, all we see are the players darting side to side in short bursts instead of running the length of the field for the entirety of the match. Thus, many are fooled into thinking that tennis doesn’t require a ton of physical strength.

But if they were to look at a few of the different physiological benefits and the overall strengthening that tennis can provide, they would realize that they are mistaken. Because believe it or not, you are actually building some serious muscle out there!When tennis is played, the physical benefits are almost immediate. Kinetic energy starts the moment your feet press against the ground, and that energy spreads throughout your entire body in a matter of seconds.

The cardiovascular benefits are also something to consider. A tennis player can burn up to 300 calories in 30 minutes of playing time, as well as build up overall wind and endurance.Lastly, consider the cognitive benefits. Because of the fast paced nature of the game, studies have shown that tennis players are significantly better at reacting quickly to things than those in other sports. Playing tennis on a regular basis could contribute to increased hand-eye coordination, as well as more overall brain activity due to the increase of blood flow all over the body.

Developing a Wicked Tennis Backhand

For most tennis players, hitting with their dominant side- the forehand- is hard enough…so why would anyone want to start hitting with their non-dominant side too?! Simple…the backhand allows a player to cover more of the court. But what IS the backhand?The backhand is a hit that’s executed when a player uses the back of their racquet head to reach a shot that has landed on the side opposite of their playing hand.

The player reaches across their body and hits the ball. This is preferable to manually switching the racquet to the opposite hand anytime a ball lands on someone’s less dominant side.There are two different techniques of the backhand: one-handed and two-handed, and both styles serve different functions. Generally the double backhand is most often seen in professional tennis, as well as with young children who are just starting to familiarize themselves with the technique.

As their level of skill progresses, many players will switch to the more challenging one-handed backhand.For many tennis fans, the beautiful one-handed backhand slice used by Roger Federer is a shining example of perfect execution. Professionals like Federer often make it look easy, but the reality is that there is still a lot of work that needs to put into mastering this technique.

The Serves of Tennis

Traditionally, a serve is the official way to kick off each play in a tennis match. The first player sends the ball at the second player, and the two rally until the ball goes out of play. While the serve might be seen by some as simply a match formality, there is actually much more to it than that.With different types of serves, there are different types of strategies. Often in a tennis match, a good serve will be the decider of victory, as opposed to the volley that preceded it. For beginners, it is recommended to do a basic bounce n’ hit serve, while the more challenging overhead serve is favored by players at the intermediate to advanced level of skill.

There are many different serve styles to consider and their respective benefits on the court must be taken into account in order to choose the right one for the occasion. Here a few options a player can choose from: the bounce n’ hit, the flat serve, the overhead serve, the reverse kick serve, the underhand serve, and the slice reverse serve.As one of the main strategies in tennis is keeping the other player off balance, having a plethora of serves at your disposal will serve you well. If you keep in mind that developing a good dependable serving style is crucial to your success as a player, you will not go wrong.

Other Racquet Sports

With tennis receiving a massive amount of television and internet coverage, who would stop and think about tennis’ counterparts in the sports world? You know, the sports that we played in the old middle school and high school gyms with the dim lighting that reeked of old socks and adolescent uncertainty? Badminton was my personal favorite (BHS Gym Class Champions 2009-woot woot!) Oh, how the memories come flooding back….

The general concepts of badminton, racquetball and squash are very similar, but are also very different from the game of tennis. Racquetball and squash are played indoors and both are played off the wall. They are extremely fast paced and require a unique skill set.  Badminton is the most similar to tennis, with the only notable differences being the object that is hit, the type of racquets, and the scoring system.

These descendents of tennis do not necessarily enjoy the same media exposure as their counterpart, but are still enjoyed by many people recreationally nevertheless. Squash and racquetball are often played at health clubs on Saturday mornings, while badminton is known for being a source of recreational enjoyment at picnics, graduation parties, and many other outdoor events. These sports are not as common, but there is no doubt of the potential for a fun and physically beneficial workout from all three of them nevertheless.

Badminton vs. Tennis

When conducting an in-depth analysis of two great racquet sports, badminton and tennis, it is important to be able to tell the difference between two. Sure, some of the obvious differences are well known to people- one is played inside, the other is played outside, one of them has a ball and the other one of them has a birdie, all the usual stuff. But there is a lot that people do not consider when it comes to making the comparison.

The boredom of some of the Queen’s finest officers in colonial India in the 1850’s resulted in giving the world the modern version of badminton that people continue to play today. Surprisingly, very little has changed from the original format. Badminton is mostly played for fun at backyard parties and therefore not widely seen on television or any other form of news media.

Tennis, on the other hand, is much more glamorized. Widely covered by the sports media, it receives a lot of television coverage. In addition, the racquets used in tennis are widely commercialized due to their endorsement by popular professional tennis players. So, how are badminton and tennis alike? How are they different? I personally prefer badminton over tennis, and that’s probably just because I was so bad at tennis that I actually defied the law of physics…but never mind that.  Badminton and tennis are similar in some ways, but both require a surprising amount of skill to perform well.

Best Tennis Warm-Up Stretches for Preventing Injuries

How many times have you gone to play a sport, and injured yourself somehow as a result of not stretching out or warming up first? Maybe some of you are lucky and are able to partake in physical activity having to do those things. But I’ve been barking up that tree for years now, and it does not work for me. At 6’6, I could never afford to skip warming up before playing sports. If I did, I always pulled muscles.

Seriously, never fails, it’s like clockwork.Tall people are naturally more prone to straining or tearing muscles, I think, but the benefits of warming up before physical activity are not strictly limited to gigantaurs like me. No matter what size you happen to be, the fact is that everyone can benefit from a little pre-game warm-up. Stretches such as the cross stretch and the groin stretch can make everything a heck of a lot easier on your legs. Many people also forget the importance of warming their muscles up before they stretch. If muscles are cold, or not warmed up, there is a much greater chance of something tearing FROM THE WARMUP ALONE.

Jogging a few easy laps can help warm up your muscles and get them ready so that you can stretch worry-free.Anyone who likes to partake in physical activity should be looking at some warm-ups and stretches they can do to help prevent potential tennis injuries and allow more flexibility on the court. I bet you’d be amazed at the difference a few simple techniques can make in your tennis form as well as your overall physical well-being.