There's really is no such thing as being "too young" or "too old" to play tennis; the consensus among prominent scientists and doctors from a wide variety of disciplines is that tennis is one of the best sports you can play to stay in shape, no matter how young or old you are. Wondering what the benefits are for your age group, or that of your kids'? Read on!
Young Kids, Ages 3-12
When it comes to developing physical coordination at an early age, you really couldn't choose a better sport than tennis. Children within this age range are already experiencing rapid physical growth and mental development, so placing a racket into their hands will only serve to further refine their motor skills and improve their physical agility.
Tennis enables young kids to make strong advances in their hand/eye coordination, and their reflexes and reaction time can be sharpened significantly through regular practice. Much of the foundational aspects of a child's overall athleticism are established during these early years, and playing tennis on a regular basis can give them a solid head start in this area.
Teenagers and Young Adults, Ages 13-25
This is the age category in which much of a person's emotional and character development takes place, and tennis can definitely help in achieving those ends. This is also the age in which the competitive aspects of tennis begin to become more important. Along with the obvious exercise benefits, young men and women in this category can also experience amazing mental and emotional development by way of playing in competitive matches.
Here are just a few of the ways in which tennis can help to build strong character and mental fortitude:
- Strong work ethic - The path to continuous improvement is always through consistent practice, and takes a lot of hard work to accomplish. Improving your tennis skills through regular drills and practice sessions can do wonders for developing a strong work ethic.
- Self-discipline and self-control - A young tennis player who does not master self will not master his/her opponent. The competitive element of tennis will force you to develop strong discipline and self-control, so that you can keep your cool and not lose it during an intense match.
- Managing mistakes - Tennis can teach a young player how to manage their mistakes, including their emotional responses to their mistakes, which is a critical skill to develop both on and off the court.
- Overcoming adversity - A young person can learn how to overcome adversity in the heat of battle on the court. This can be anything from battling back from a point deficit to managing fatigue during a match.
- Problem-solving skills - Tennis is a game of strategy, angles, physics and geometry. Learning how to leverage these aspects of competitive tennis requires quite a bit of mental exercise, which means that your critical thinking skills will be called upon on a second-by-second basis. This is excellent training ground for teenagers and young adults to sharpen their problem-solving skills, which will be an asset to them in all areas of life.
Adults, Ages 26-40
When many of us enter adulthood, we also enter into a more sedentary lifestyle, which can definitely work against us when it comes to combating weight gain. Tennis helps adults to stay in good all-around shape, which is especially important for those of us who spend long hours behind a desk every day.
Tennis will improve your flexibility, enhance your reaction time and keep your cardiovascular system in good shape. It will also keep your muscles strong and active, which will keep them from diminishing or turning into flab due to inactivity.
Adults, Ages 41-64
For many adults, health problems can really start to emerge during their 40s and 50s years; this is largely due to increasing physical inactivity. Playing regular rounds of tennis every week can do wonders towards reinvigorating your body and keeping your weight at a healthy level. The cardiovascular benefits of tennis are fantastic as well, which is a huge advantage, since heart health definitely becomes more of a concern during these years.
Seniors, Ages 65 & Older
Seniors who regularly play tennis can expect to enjoy the benefits of keeping their bodies strong and flexible, and keeping their minds sharp as well. Even a leisurely game of tennis on a regular basis is enough to keep your joints and muscles from getting stiff, and can provide you with a greater sense of mental clarity. You don't have to worry about trying to run all over the court like a professional player; you can get great exercise just by focusing on having fun and playing at a casual pace.
Always remember that tennis is a very versatile game. You don't have to pound it out for hours on end at maximum intensity just to get a good workout. Tennis is a very generous sport in terms of the effort-to-benefits ratio, so as long as you decide to incorporate tennis into your schedule of regular activities, you'll continue to see great benefits, no matter what your age.