Summer's here and the urge to frolic is upon us. For some, it must be hard trying to decide whether to stay home and watch Wimbledon matches or head to their local tennis court and play a few matches.
Or do you need to learn how to play tennis, first?
Plenty of people have batted tennis balls around for fun, with no real intent to get into the game while others, totally frustrated by this eternal, infernal pandemic, are finding safe ways to engage in sports while still staying out of doors and away from everyone.
Could there be a better sport than tennis to achieve all of those aims?
Even if you've not yet given tennis any serious thought - maybe, like my mate, you believe tennis balls are best left for dogs to fetch, maybe it's time you too learned more about tennis and how you could become a tennis player.
Let Superprof lay out a few facts for you.
The Benefits of Tennis
Activity does a body good, sport does a body better and some sports do better than others. Tennis falls into the latter category. To understand why, you have to know a bit about aerobic and anaerobic modalities.
Aerobic activities are those powered by oxygen. True, humans need oxygen to live but when we do aerobic exercises, our bodies rely on the heart pumping faster and the lungs pulling in extra oxygen to feed our muscles' demand for rich, oxygenated blood loaded with glucose. That's the real energy substance.
Dancing, cycling, swimming and cardio routines are all examples of aerobic exercise.
By contrast, anaerobic exercise does not rely on oxygen to supply muscles with the energy food they need. The muscles themselves produce it through a fermentation process that turns lactic acid into glucose. As it's not safe for our muscles to create their own food, this type of activity can only happen for a very short while.
Isometric exercises, sprinting, box-jumping and weightlifting are all considered anaerobic because the activity happens in short but intense bursts.
Now that that's understood, we can circle back to tennis.
The game of kings, as tennis is also called, is one of the few aerobic/anaerobic sports, which puts it in the same category as high intensity interval training, a discipline that calls for practitioners to engage in a prolonged bout of aerobic exercise, maybe running or cycling, and at regular intervals, burst into high-intensity movement - squats, push-ups or sprints.
HIIT is considered one of the most beneficial workouts because it helps you build strength, speed and stamina, all while boosting your metabolism. Tennis is in the same league, offering many of the same benefits as HIIT does.
Getting healthy and fit is just one benefit of tennis; there are so many more that we had to write a whole article about them.
Basic Rules of Tennis
Did you know that 'game, set, match' was a set of tennis scoring terms - not just a slang phrase used to describe a firm conclusion? I am not going to uni and that's game, set, match!
Back to tennis rules, now, and a scoring system that is the most confusing and complicated aspect of tennis for beginners to learn.
We covered rules for scoring fairly extensively in our Rules of Tennis article; so extensively, in fact, that we hardly had any room to talk about other rules of tennis, such as dress code, bathroom breaks and what happens if you curse at an umpire.
Do you remember when Serena Williams stepped onto the court in a catsuit at the 2018 French Open, causing a collective shock-gasp? The mountain of outrage reached the French Tennis Federation president, who declared that one must have respect for the game and place, and that her outfit went too far.
Fortunately, the International Tennis Federation revised their dress code since then, acknowledging that Ms Williams' compression tights were acceptable tennis wear and didn't require anything to be worn over them.
In another clothing scandal, Alizé Cornet realised her top was on backwards as she walked onto the court. She took a few seconds to fix it and earned herself a serious rebuke for unsportsmanlike behaviour. Outrage ensued, especially as male players routinely stand around shirtless. It's a move Rafael Nadal is famous for.
The Federation later removed the violation given her because the rule had been unfairly applied.
Some of tennis' more restrictive - and sometimes archaic rules lead players to explosions of frustration; more than one has smashed their racket on the court and, in one particularly noteworthy instance, led a player to beat the chair umpire's stand with their racket.
Such displays of temper can cost players points and, often, serious money. And these incidents are not all that rare; hundreds of players have faced penalties for racket abuse.
Tennis is full of decorum and rules to ensure that said decorum is maintained. Before stepping onto the court, it's best that you study up on them lest you find yourself losing points, too.
How Do I Get Into Tennis?
Whether it's the trim outfits or the panache of the action, many who witness a heated match long to see if they too possess that degree of flair. To say nothing of the athletic ability playing tennis requires.
How can you find out whether you have what it takes to get into tennis?
First, you should try the game on for size. Look for free trial classes in your area or maybe a tennis taster session. Is there a Lawn Tennis Association chapter in your town or city? If so, you might consider dropping in on them; they too might host free or low-cost tennis clinics.
You may also talk to any of our Superprof tennis coaches online to find out whether tennis is right for you. There are over 100 tennis Superprofs scattered around the UK; there may be one or more in your neighbourhood.
If, after getting a taste of the game, you still intend to pursue tennis, you should look around for tennis lessons. The first place to check would be your local community centre or sports centre; maybe they have at least one tennis player who wouldn't mind giving lessons.
If you live in a middling-big city, there's a good chance that there'll be a tennis club you could join, where you can find tennis coaches offering group and individual lessons.
Of course, learning how to hold a racket and hit the ball is not all there is to tennis, you also have to learn all the rules, as well as the scoring system. But you don't necessarily need a coach or instructor for that; you can learn those on your own.
Save your valuable coaching time for learning how to play!
Once you decide to get serious about tennis, you should look into buying what you need to play: a decent racket, a stock of tennis balls and suitable shoes. You might also consider a sun visor and maybe some wristbands so you can quickly arm the sweat from your brow. A small towel would work well, too, but they are not as handy during the game.
As you're planning your purchases, remember to factor in the cost of tennis court rental fees and club membership, if you plan to join.
In all, getting into tennis is not that hard. As soon as you're sure it is a sport you want to invest time and money into, the most difficult part is over... well, except for learning the scoring system.
The Cost of Tennis Lessons
As unsavoury as ending a discussion with money is, that's the tack we want to take because you're going to be pleasantly surprised at how inexpensive tennis playing can be.
Tennis goes by many names: the game of kings, the elite game and so on, all of which imply that it must cost a king's ransom to play. Don't let those names fool you; playing tennis has become far more democratic a pursuit than it used to be. In fact, anybody who wants to can play.
Crisscrossing the UK to discover what prospective tennis players might have to pay, we were astounded to find that, in some places, lessons could be had for as little as £3. In one city a year's worth of court fees amounted to exactly £30 - hardly a princely sum, wouldn't you say?
When considering the cost of tennis lessons, the type and format of the lessons matter, as does your age and ability. For instance, if you were deaf or learning disabled, you might need a tennis coach who is trained to work with special needs.
Let's say you're the head of a household who wants to get the brood moving, and you want to get moving together. You might seek out family tennis lessons. Or, if you move quite enough but you want your kids to have more to do, you might need to find a coach who works with kids.
The bottom line is that the cost of tennis lessons is far more reasonable than you might think and, depending on what you're looking for, you might become at least tennis-proficient much sooner than you thought!
Let us know how you get on, won't you?
The platform that connects tutors and students