My entire life I’ve been a multi-sport athlete, able to excel to a competitive level for many sports, a jack-of-all trades but master of none. Having your time and interest divided between several sports inherently prevents you from committing to and mastering one (for most of us anyways). I first discovered this dilemma around the age of 13, choosing tennis, basketball, volleyball, and soccer instead of just tennis. If you haven’t already skipped this first paragraph, you’re probably thinking “Why on earth is this relevant? C’mon get to the list already”. From my experience, a lot of tennis players only play tennis – this list comes from the perspective of a well-rounded athlete who still believes tennis has a combination of benefits unique to itself.
Inspired by Tennis Canada’s article, 6 reasons why tennis is a great choice for your child, here’s: 5 Reasons Your Child Should Be Playing Tennis.
In my first post I singled-out cost as a barrier to the sport and now I’m saying it’s accessible – what gives? While tennis is an expensive sport to play competitively, it’s extremely accessible as a leisure sport. In Toronto alone, there are 180 public tennis courts. Once you find a court your child only needs a racquet, tennis balls, and a pair of running shoes. Chances are you already have some of this gear hiding in a long-forgotten closet.
2. Physical Development
In addition to the cardiovascular benefits gained through most sports, tennis will better develop your child’s hand-eye coordination. A high level of coordination is required to track a tennis ball, move your body appropriately, and make contact with the ball. The nature of the sport also provides more practice and repetition because your child isn’t sharing the ball with teammates.
Tennis requires a higher level of honesty than other sports because you have to make your own line calls. From an early age you should instill “if you don’t know, you have to call it in”. This is unlike other sports where athletes are able to rationalize skirting the rules because the onus falls to a higher authority: the referee.
4. Mental Toughness
Tennis is able to better develop a child’s mental toughness because they are responsible for every missed shot and loss. In that moment, there are no teammates or coach to blame. It requires kids to stay focused and problem solve on their own instead of depending on others to develop a strategy for success.
5. No Contact
While injuries can happen in any sport the risk of your child experiencing a concussion is much lower playing tennis than it is participating in a contact sport.