1. Learn How to Succeed
If you can’t adapt to your opponent, improve your game, develop weapons, and think strategically, you will stagnate. Guess what? This is exactly what happens in life. Everyone must challenge themselves, whether it be on the tennis court or in their careers. Stagnation and complacency are an insult to the abilities that you were given when you were born and the multitude of opportunities presented to you throughout your lifetime. Tennis will teach you to use your brain and a wide array of skills and shots to win. There will always be better players than you, but the fun thing about tennis is when you put the work in, improve your game, and move up in skill level. So get out there and improve your game.
2. Health Benefits
Tennis requires endurance, agility, strength, speed, balance, coordination, and a host of other skill sets to excel at the sport. This means you are in for one heck of a workout. The physical demands of tennis have been traditionally underestimated in favor of higher-contact sports. The average person burns around 600 calories per-hour playing singles. That’s two slices of pepperoni pizza (don’t eat that!). Running from corner to corner and swinging a racquet a few hundred times will get you in shape. And the mental demands of tennis keep the brain engaged which is extremely important as one gets older. Not to mention, winning matches and playing well can be extremely good for a person’s mental state and attitude. Playing tennis can really brighten a person’s day. I guarantee it.
3. Mental Fortitude
There are a lot of things tennis players have to deal with in a match besides their opponent’s skill level. Wind, heat, sun, a nasty opponent, the crowd, injuries, expectations, pressure on big points, money and bad line calls are a few things that come to mind. If you can’t deal with those things, then you won’t win many matches. Tennis players have to learn to ignore the things they can’t control, and take command of the things they can control (strategy, performance, attitude). Tennis is a wonderful platform for developing your mental strength.
4. Dealing with Defeat
Losing a match can be tough on a player’s psyche. Yet it is how the person deals with the loss that determines his or her success later on. Playing tennis will teach a person how to bounce back from tough circumstances. The key is to analyze how you were defeated, the weaknesses and strengths of you and your opponent, and how you will improve upon your weaknesses in the future.
5. Learn to Plan
Another skill that must be developed when playing tennis is planning. There is a lot of planning required, from figuring out your practice routine and scheduling tournaments, to charting out a timeframe for fixing your technique on a stroke. Without a plan, tennis players will never improve. This is another great skill to learn from tennis because it is directly applicable to your success in life. Set goals and make plans that will achieve them.
6. Social Connections
You can meet a lot of great people playing tennis. Whether you play in the highest level tournaments, USTA leagues, or at the local park, you will have a chance to meet a diverse range of people. Individuals who enjoy playing tennis like you. I have met many successful doctors, lawyers, bankers, and people from many other interesting professions. I even landed two jobs because of the friendships that I made through tennis. I’m not saying you won’t meet these types of people playing other sports or doing other activities, but there sure seems to be a heck of a lot of well-off people playing tennis. Tennis can get pretty expensive after all.
7. Tennis is a Lifetime Sport
You can play tennis your entire life. Have you ever seen a group of 90-year olds go for a game of football? If you have, please take a picture and send it to me. The USTA has tournaments for 70, 80 and 90-year old men and women. I have met many older tennis players and nearly dropped on the floor in astonishment when they told me their age. In my experience, tennis makes people look 10-20 years younger. I have some great friends on a USTA 40 and over team who all look like young 30-year olds. Here’s looking at you Reggie and Jon! It makes sense: think of the sports that seniors play. Tennis and golf usually come to mind first. And if you start playing tennis relatively early and continually improve your game, you will rack up the wins for decades to come playing one of the most beautiful and challenging sports ever created.
I hope that the list above will convince you to play more tennis. Tennis is a truly wonderful sport that has vastly improved my life because of the lessons learned and connections I have made throughout my tennis career.
For those of you who haven’t tried tennis, I highly encourage you to give it a try. And if you already play tennis, remember the reasons why it is so advantageous so you are motivated to keep playing. See you on the court sometime, and thanks for reading!