Did you know if you're a tennis player you're more likely to live longer?
According to a 2018 study, individuals who regularly play tennis have a predicted life expectancy gain of 9.7 years. That's nearly a decade of extra life (and a decade of extra tennis)!
You may have heard tennis referred to as the "lifetime sport" or the "sport of a lifetime" because of its ability to provide people with a lifetime of physical fitness, as well as mental stimulation and social opportunities in every stage of their life. Being a "lifetime" sport means you can likely play tennis well into old age, but it's also the perfect sport for young children who are just beginning to build their exercise habits.
In fact, tennis is widely considered one of the best sports for children to participate in because of the unique benefits it offers children that are not always present in other sports.
Keep reading to learn some of the benefits playing tennis offers young children, plus learn what to expect at beginner tennis lessons and how to get your child started!
Tennis isn't just a great cardiovascular workout. It also requires complex and strategic thinking, especially if you want to be competitive. Being forced to think creatively out on the court helps children develop problem-solving skills at an early age. Many children who play individual sports like tennis show more advanced tactical thinking and focus than their peers. According to researchers at the University of Illinois, playing tennis actually generates new connections between nerves in the brain, which promotes a lifetime of continuing cerebral development.
This has been shown to be particularly beneficial for children who experience attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or sensory disorders. If you have an independent spirit on your hands or a child who needs extra help in the focus department, tennis is a great foundational sport to start early.
Our social and emotional health is just as important as our physical health, especially in our early childhood years. According to Dr. Jim Gavin, author of "The Exercise Habit," tennis outperforms golf, inline skating, and most other sports in developing positive personality characteristics, like good sportsmanship, self-discipline, work ethic, and resilience. Tennis players are also more optimistic and have higher self-esteem while experiencing lower rates of depression and anxiety.
Playing tennis and participating in tennis lessons can also be a catalyst for helping more timid children come out of their shells and make lifelong friends. As they get older and continue with tennis, there are many social bonding opportunities in friendly competitions, tournaments, and doubles play.
In today's digital age, children spend an immense amount of time sitting in front of screens. Tennis is a fantastic way to get kids active. The constant movement involved in tennis increases heart rate, builds endurance and stamina, and provides fun and engaging exercise for growing children. Regular tennis practice also helps children become quicker, more agile, and more flexible—all skills that significantly benefit other physical activities and everyday life as children grow.
Tennis requires repeated contact between the ball and the racket, and with each hit, hand-eye coordination improves. The ability to judge distance, speed, and timing helps children develop important motor skills that they can apply to other activities, like playing an instrument.
All sports carry some risk of injury, so it can be challenging for a parent to decide what sport is right for a young child. Football, soccer, basketball, and cheerleading consistently rate as the most dangerous sports for kids because of the high risk of concussions, joint injuries, sprains, and fractures.
Luckily, tennis is considered one of the safest sports because of its low-impact nature. Players are much less susceptible to injury, especially if they learn good form and technique at an early age.
Okay, this one's pretty obvious, but tennis is FUN, which is arguably the most important benefit! Children who have fun playing a sport early on in their lives are more likely to continue playing sports and being physically active throughout their lives. It's not just a lifetime of physical activity but a lifetime of fun!
To help your child become a confident player, beginner youth tennis lessons will focus on teaching the fundamentals of the game and learning basics like how to hold the racquet.
At Western Racquet & Fitness Club, our youngest junior players in the Tennis U program, from ages 2.5 to 10, can participate in QuickStart lessons that start with the basics and scale up in complexity as your child builds on each new skill set.
Our Tiny Tots class for children ages 2.5 to 4 years old focuses on simply introducing and making tennis fun for kids with hand-eye coordination activities, introductions to basic strokes, and small courts and racquets.
Red Ball classes for children ages 4 to 6 teach the fundamentals—rules, basic groundstrokes, serves, footwork, and coordination—all using modified equipment and a smaller court.
Orange Ball classes for children 7 to 8 years old expand on the fundamentals and focus on the player's ability to rally while continuing to improve coordination and balance. Children learn more advanced techniques, grip selections, serve, footwork patterns, and preparation. Competitive play is also introduced at this level through fun game-based drills.
Green Dot Ball classes are designed to take players ages 9 to 10 to the next level in their tennis careers. In this program, players adapt to the challenges of a full court, and coaches will begin encouraging match play and tournaments for students who want to play competitively.
Throughout Western's Tennis U program, for ages 2.5 all the way up to high school seniors, there is an emphasis on teamwork, sportsmanship, and self-discipline, as well as a focus on having fun!
Western Racquet offers the Tennis U junior tennis program for kids ages 2.5 up to high school seniors all year round! With a wide range of coaches and levels, our program is perfect for any skill level, and we strive to meet children where they are and help them achieve their goals, whether that is to play competitively or just to have fun out on the court with friends.
By signing up your children for tennis, you'll be giving them more than a fun way to stay active. You'll be building a foundation for success that will last a lifetime.
Sign up your child for tennis lessons today and let them experience the numerous benefits of this fantastic sport!
Spring 2023 Tennis U runs March 27th through June 11th, and children can sign up at any time during the program at a pro-rated rate.
Learn more about kids' tennis lessons and download the Tennis U schedule and registration information at westernracquet.com/tennis-programs.