**This post has been sponsored by Cooper Fitness Center to bring you this experience!**
As a year-round sport, tennis has many benefits to encourage you to pick up a racket. Tennis programming at Cooper Fitness Center encourages kids and teens to gain confidence and build better playing skills through private lessons, clinics and summer camps with our Tennis Pros.
Read on for the top 10 benefits of giving this lifelong sport a try.
- Improve your fitness: Tennis blends coordination, speed, balance, agility and strength. An excellent form of physical exercise, tennis can be a demanding workout that increases both aerobic and anaerobic fitness. Many research studies, including our own 1989 landmark study from The Cooper Institute, have demonstrated clearly that the more fit you are – as measured by treadmill stress-test times for fitness – the lower your risk will be for mortality from all causes.
- Sharpen your brain: Sports such as tennis can actually benefit your brain just as much as your muscles. Neural connections in the brain are sharpened by the focus and coordination aspects of tennis – which help formulate thoughts and ideas in a more clear and concise manner. The mental game of tennis requires a tennis player to develop self-discipline in order to focus on the game at hand. Additional mental aspects include concentration, self-awareness, planning ahead and decision-making.
- Collaborate with others: With variations of tennis such as doubles play, league play and singles, a tennis player must hone their ability to not only communicate, but to work in a group setting. Without the ability to come together as a cohesive unit, it is nearly impossible to find any success on the court. Learning to set aside differences and focus on the task at hand as part of a collaborative effort, teaches players the life skill of teamwork.
- Work independently: There is a sense of duality in tennis; while one aspect requires near immaculate comradery, there are also times where you must lean on your own competitive spirit to find success. In singles tennis, no teammates are available to back you up if things go awry. The ability to fight back with a tenacious spirit bodes well for coping with the ups and downs of the competitive world in which we live.
- Connect socially: Whether you play at a local park, in a USTA league or at Wimbledon, you find tennis players from all walks of life. Getting to meet such a diverse population not only helps develop social acumen, but can lead to lifelong friendships.
- Solve problems: Ever wondered how you could put to use all of the geometry and physics you learned in school? Tennis has you covered. From topspin to backspin and slice – numerous variables exist in tennis and each has a direct correlation to the math and science courses we took in school! The path of the ball, the configuration of the court and the positioning of the player can all affect the game. Tennis can help you improve your ability to process problems in the moment and quickly come up with a solution.
- Develop a strong work ethic: Tennis requires a great deal of gross motor skills that generally can only be developed by improving our muscle proprioception, or sense of self-movement. Without devoting time and energy to improving these functions, it will be an uphill battle to improve your tennis skills. Investing time and effort in order to see results in your game teaches the lesson of a strong work ethic to improve in any area.
- Lose gracefully, win humbly: Unfortunately, we won’t always be successful in everything we do. There are times where someone or something gets the best of us, and we must learn to accept that as a temporary setback, rather than a reflection of who we are. In tennis, you are bound to have some matches where you don’t come out on top. These are moments to practice taking a loss with dignity and honor and to use as motivation to improve whatever we are attempting in life. Just as there are appropriate ways to accept defeat, there are appropriate ways to earn a victory. Tennis teaches you how to appreciate your victory and to accept a win in a professional manner.
- Reduce stress: A specific degree of physical, emotional and mental stress comes with playing tennis. Experiencing negative emotions in a competitive setting can help you increase your capacity for dealing with stress that you will experience in your life. “Stress is part of life,” says Kenneth Cooper, MD, MPH, Founder and Chairman of Cooper Aerobics. Stress can increase your chance of suffering a heart attack and pose a serious threat to your health. But, “it’s not stress that kills, it’s the way you manage it,” Dr. Cooper notes. He also recommends exercise as the best way to manage stress, highlighted in his 8 Steps to Get Cooperized.
- Have FUN: Although tennis can teach many life lessons and skills, at the root of this sport is the end goal to have fun. Physical challenges and exertion and a healthy sense of competition can all lead to a boosted mood and overall sense of joy!
If you’re looking for hands-on tennis instruction, look no further than Tennis Programs at Cooper Fitness Center. Cooper Head Tennis Pro Corey Noel and Assistant Tennis Pro Andre Vahdat bring more than 25 combined years of teaching experience to the court as certified U.S. Professional Tennis Association (USTA) Pros. Private tennis lessons and parent-child lessons are available year-round, so register today!
Gavin Raley is the Programs Manager at Cooper Fitness Center. Gavin studied Kinesiology and Exercise Science at The University of Texas at Arlington and plays an integral role in the Cooper Youth Programs.
Cooper Fitness Center has offered youth programs for more than 25 years and features a variety of year-round programming for kids, including basketball, swimming, tennis, boxing, martial arts, soccer, summer camp and other seasonal offerings. Download our Youth Programs Guide and register at cooperyouth.com/Dallas.