There was a new tennis club opening up near my town.
I have never been to that area before but one thing was sure…
I was damn wondering how it feels like to play tennis.
Since my childhood, tennis was a fascinating game to watch on TV for me.
Andre Agassi, Roger Federer, Leyton Hewitt, Andy Roddick, Marat Safin, Tim Henman…
They were performing such a noble art on the court. It seemed like such an effortless and fun sport for me.
Everybody was respecting each other with an utmost care attitude.
The crowd was very different than other sports, there were no hooligans. People were able to suppress an impudent with a rapid collaborative reaction voice like “shhh”.
There was a lot of enjoyment, fun, and challenge in the games.
How was it like to play tennis?
I did not know the answer but for the first time in my life, I had a chance to figure it out. Here, in my small town, they built a small tennis club.
I was a shy boy and it was intimidating for me to embark upon literally anything. But, it was the time.
I already had to leave my town soon because of college. A new journey would not hurt much.
I remember that day. My clothes were nowhere loose enough to play tennis but I still left the house. I assumed there would be only registration that day.
They immediately put a racquet in my hand and gave me a brief explanation of how to hit the ball. Then, I found myself on the court running around and hitting the ball.
How was it?
It was damn too hard, nowhere close what I saw on TV.
I could not believe how easy it looked on the screen. Damn, those players were making it look way too easy. I respected them even more.
Was it fun? Absolutely.
I sweated blood like a pig in hell on the first day. The funny part, I was not even aware of how tired I am.
I had not brought any backup clothes at all, so I turned back with a sweaty shirt on me. When I finally took a shower, sit down and rest, I have noticed how tired I was.
That summer, I kept playing in there and developed a good base for tennis. This is how the journey started.
This article is about why you should start playing tennis, but I wanted to share my story to inspire you.
Here are the 10 reasons for you to start tennis.
1- Tennis Teaches Life
Tennis resembles life itself in many ways.
You observe that in-game situations are almost the same in life.
- You need the endurance: You either try to catch the ball or you go after your goals in life. They both demand a great deal of stamina. If you lack stamina, you are done, you have no chance.
- Always play your best: You have to give your all attention to every ball in the game when you start to slack off, everything starts to fall down immediately. You have to pay attention to little details in life, too. They are the ones bring up together and forms a bigger picture.
- Do what’s possible: You cannot always make the best move, but it is still your responsibility to do what you can. The ball can go right into the corner like fury. It would be too silly to try a powerful forehand, but it is too silly to not run at all, too. What do you do? You hit a slower shot or slice. In life, if you are in a tough situation, you cannot complain. You find a way to handle it until you find a better position.
- Practice matters: The more you practice your skill, the better you get at it. Your technique and strokes become intuitive and you apply them without thinking in the game. In life, you live better if you developed a skillset with unlimited practice.
- You have to enjoy: If you enjoy your game, your opponent and the crowd enjoys it, too. But, before anyone else, you must find a way to enjoy yourself. It is the same in life. If you find out the things you can enjoy, you shine like a diamond.
- You gotta move on: You have good days and bad days. Some days, you flow like a water on the court, but sometimes the thoughts on your mind sabotage you. You move on and get better for the next time. It is the same in life. You can’t always win, but you must continue to play the game.
- Analyze the opponent: You have to know yourself but also know the opponent. What is his weak side? Can’t he run to drop shots? Maybe has a weaker backhand? Or he serves slower? You gotta find out the weaknesses and build the game on it to win. It is a similar concept with Art of War by Sun Tzu.
With any small fraction that you catch in life, there you can see a similar equivalent in a tennis game.
When you keep learning tennis, you learn more about life in general.
2- Tennis Leads To Self Discovery
To excel at anything in life, you must know yourself. That is a prerequisite in tennis, too. You eventually learn more about your personality (strong and weak sides).
Self-talk is an eternal spontaneous human instinctive.
Tennis is a game where you repeatedly do self-talking because it is a game of quick reaction to multiple events.
In the middle of chain of reactions, you experience your mind does not stop shattering. It is either with you or against you, there is no other way.
Whenever you do a stupid mistake, your rage increases. Whenever you earn a great point, you feel beautiful joy. In any scenario, your mind is there doing the talk for you.
“Tennis is the loneliest of sports. In golf, you play the course – plus you have a caddie – and the game ends at 18 holes. In boxing, you have a cornerman and a set number of rounds.
In tennis, you’re on an island, with no clock. You can’t sit on a lead. You have to win the last point to win a match.”
“But I will say this – I can confidently say that tennis is the loneliest sport that exists. You’re out there, you can’t talk to anybody, you can’t pass the ball, there are no time-outs. There’s no coaching, you don’t have to be good, you have to be better than one person and that one person is on the other side of the net.
It’s like you’re on an island. It’s not like boxing where we’re leaning on each other and you can feel each other. If you look at a tennis player it’s like solitary confinement out there, and what happens in solitary confinement? It always leads to self-talk.
You have those Lincoln-Douglas debates with yourself. You talk to yourself and you answer yourself and you tell me if you’ve ever seen another sport where an athlete talks to themselves as much as they do in tennis.”
From “Open: An Autobiography” (2009),
and Interview with Travis Smiley, Nov. 19, 2009
The difference between your good and the bad game is only your self-talk. If it is positive, you play great, if it is self-destructive, you cannot play well.
I was an aggressive/intense type of player. I discovered on the court that the anger was my fuel. The way I speak and motivate myself was through intense affirmative sentences.
Some people are more peaceful and stable, some are fun/ showmen type, some are more analytic/ intelligent type.
The moment you learn to leverage your self-talk, you can achieve anything. When it goes off the rails and starts working against you, you must immediately realize and take precautions.
You damn know there is no way to shut it up.
The only way is to redirecting it into positivity through affirmations. It either makes you a slave or you make it your servant. When you achieved the latter, you read the point of self-mastery.
3- Tennis Makes You Live Longer
Have you ever noticed that people who play tennis stayed younger and fresher than their agemates?
When you play, you grow as a person and stay young. If you are not playing, you just grow old.
According to a 2016 Harvard University study, playing just 3 hours/week will reduce your risk of heart disease 56%.
According to a new study of Danish men and women, people who frequently participating in tennis or in other active team sports lived longer than sedentary people, and they also lived longer than people who did other solitary activities, such as jogging, swimming, and cycling.
“Researchers say tennis is linked to a 9.7-year increase in life span, compared to 6.2 years for badminton, five years for soccer, 3.7 years for cycling, and 3.2 years for running.”
Moving in general increase lifespan as we all know, however, tennis also gives a psychological edge to the people in terms of providing a better social circle.
“So being with other people, playing and interacting with them, as you do when you play games that require a partner or a team, probably has unique psychological and physiological effects.”
4- Tennis Builds An Amazing Social Network
You never see or meet a bum on the court. Everyone I met who play tennis was above average in the mentality of life.
They were all supporting and encouraging people. You immediately understand they overcame some mental barriers. That is why you can build such a great network by just playing tennis.
Even if you don’t play good, just go and watch people, appreciate their work on the court.
Everyone is so polite and down to earth, you can easily have a nice chat. I made friends with people who are 20,30,40,50,60 years of age.
We shared great moments and I will continue to build more. Tennis is such a great tool to unite people together.
5- Tennis Is An Active Meditation
We all have busy lives. Work, school, business, problems… In the midst of a stressful life, tennis provides some fresh air.
Tennis is the best active meditation method I know.
You can have shit loaded mind full of unnecessary, garbage thoughts but when you started hitting the ball, they are all gone. The game is all that matters.
You lose yourself in the beauty of the game by seizing the moment and catching the ball. After you are done, you feel the refreshment with a full of positive energy.
6- Tennis Burns Calories In A Fun Way
Playing tennis for one hour equals anywhere between 580-870 calories burned.
Cardio is great especially when you can turn it into a fun activity.
Tennis offers a ton of fun and enjoyment, you don’t want to stop playing it. You only understand how much you are tired when you are finished with the game.
Your feet should always be moving throughout the entire game due to the requirements of catching the ball.
You can’t pause and say “wait for a minute” in the middle of a rally, you gotta move your ass and respond.
7- Tennis Develops Work Ethic and Discipline
You want to level-up in your game in time and progress. Guess, what do you need to acquire your goals?
Work ethic and discipline.
Your dear friends show up in tennis, too.
You realize every good player is consistent in practicing the game and working up their weaknesses.
So, you get used to putting in the effort and learning the ways to build self-discipline. Playing tennis for a while results in developing a stronger mindset as a result.
8- Tennis Is A Life Time Investment
Most sports offer a very short life span for their practitioners.
You don’t see a boxer, soccer player, basketball player keep doing their sport in their 70s. When their time passes, they quit playing them.
The reason behind this is obvious, these sports demand too much as a physical burden. However, the risk of injury is very low in tennis compared to the other competitive sports.
Tennis is not all about physical hustle, it is a mixture of technique, correct movement, timing, coordination, precision. That is why you see people from all kinds of age playing it.
There are many families playing together as their family ritual every week or so. Once you learn tennis, you make a great investment for yourself for a lifetime.
9- Tennis Boosts Brain Power
You are constantly finding out new solutions to new emerging problems in a tennis game.
Evaluating angles, geometry and physics is a necessity to get the best result, which translates into better problem-solving off the court.
“In the late 1990s, several experts proposed that tennis, since it requires alertness and tactical thinking, may generate new connections between nerves in the brain and promote a lifetime of continuing brain development.”
Also, it’s been observed that kids who play tennis regularly get better grades at school thanks to the enhancement in the neural connections in their brains.
10- Tennis Keeps You Healthy
Tennis keeps your body healthy by enhancing your life from a wide range of channels.
- Alleviating stress: You experience mental, spiritual, emotional release by playing tennis with a good circle of friends. It is a nice way to forget the trivial problems of our inner world.
- Increasing Hand-eye coordination: Your eyes are always working in the game because you have to watch the ball all the time. With every shot, you make a precise assumption of where to hit the ball.
- Decreasing Low-body fat percentage: Excessive body fat causes all type of illnesses and limits life. When you regularly play tennis, you burn fat effortlessly with a joyful event.
- Increasing balance, agility, and reflexes: You sharpen vital survival skills through playing this game. In the nature of the game, you always work on these specialties and that prevents you from aging early.
- Strengthening your heart, muscles, and bones: Frequent change of directions, powerful shots, short sprints, jumps, and long-lasting rallies are strengthening your structural integrity. Your muscles and bones take their share in your tennis journey.
Just play and discover more.
If you haven’t played tennis yet, now is the best time for you.
Once you taste its beauty, it is really hard to let it go.
Have a nice day.