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Find your ‘love’ for tennis

By The Health News Team | July 19, 2022
Athlete holding tennis racquet and ball

Did watching the pros at Wimbledon inspire you to pick up a new sport? Tennis is a sport you can learn to play at any age. It offers a wide range of physical and mental health benefits anyone can enjoy.

And according to Stewart Sanders, a doctor of physical therapy and certified athletic trainer with Sharp Rees-Stealy Medical Group, tennis gives you an all-around good workout. “It will help you improve your overall health goals for cardiovascular, range of motion and weight loss,” he says.

Playing tennis also provides mental health benefits, as it requires problem-solving skills. On the court, players need to think and make decisions quickly. “And one of the added benefits of tennis — often overlooked — is it develops camaraderie with friends and other players,” says Sanders.

4 tips for getting started
Ready to hit the court? Sanders suggests the following tips to help you get started:

  1. Get the appropriate gear.
    Begin with the right equipment and footwear. Choose a tennis racquet that is suitable for your age and skill level, such as for recreational entry-level classes. It is also important to find a pair of tennis shoes with good stability. In addition, wear comfortable clothes that allow for freedom of movement. 

  2. Find tennis courts in your area.
    There are plenty of indoor and outdoor courts in San Diego County — approximately 159 courts in the City of San Diego alone. Most courts are lit after dark. To avoid injury, choose a playing surface that has been well maintained. 

  3. Go easy and grow.
    When starting a new sport, it is important to go easy to avoid injury. Begin with a gentle warmup beforehand and wrap up with stretching afterward. The warmup should include basic footwork and swinging drills. Try to incorporate a light strengthening workout to support your activity, such as shoulder and leg exercises and balance training. Take time to appreciate that you are new to the sport. You will need to get used to the surfaces, shoes and stress placed on your body. 

  4. Tennis instruction.
    For professional instruction, find a tennis coach in your area. The U.S. Tennis Association (USTA) Net Generation is a resource that practices safe-play training. You can also learn how to play tennis by watching online instructional videos. YouTube offers step-by-step instructions on how to play tennis for basic to advanced levels.

“You should not step on the court and expect to be Roger Federer or Serena Williams,” Sanders says. “Know your limitations, grow your skill set and most importantly, have fun.”

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