#TryItTuesday: Time for Tennis
One of my favorite childhood memories was taking tennis lessons during our summer recreation program.
Twice a week I’d hop on my bike and ride the mile for my one-hour group lesson. I loved the feel of hitting the ball and the challenge of improving my skills at every practice. I continued to play tennis on and off through my school years. Soon after graduation came marriage, children and other adult responsibilities, so sadly the tennis rackets got put away.
A few years back, hubby and I were looking for a physical activity that we could do together, and that became a new tradition: Tennis Tuesday Date Nights.
Did you know tennis is one of the best total-body workouts you can get? Tennis play uses nearly every muscle in your body, including the lower body, upper body and core.
Tennis Tips to Prevent Common Tennis Injuries
Shoes: Wear tennis shoes with good support to protect your ankles, along with thick socks (not cotton) to help prevent blisters on your feet.
Racket: To help prevent shoulder and elbow injuries, make sure your racket is the correct weight. Also, to avoid troubles with your wrists and arms, check for proper grip size.
Before you start your game, make sure to spend a few minutes warming up. A few sets of jumping jacks, walking or jogging are great warm-up exercises.
Intensity Level: High
Body areas it targets: Core, arms, legs
- Flexibility: Yes
- Aerobic: Yes
- Strength: Yes
- Sport: Yes, singles or doubles
- Low-impact: No
- Good for beginners: Yes, consider taking a few tennis lessons to learn the basic skills. The great thing about tennis is as you gain more skills, your game will become more advanced.
- Outdoors: Weather permitting
- At home: No
- Equipment required: Proper shoes, racket, and tennis balls. Tennis court.
How to Play
Tennis is fun for two people (a “singles” match) or four people on two separate teams (“doubles”). You can play with family or friends at your local tennis courts, or join an organized team.
When you start playing tennis, some of the key strokes you should learn are: serve, forehand, backhand, two-handed backhand, volley and smash.
Holding the racket. The racket handle has eight sides — four are flat, and four are angled. Take the racket handle between your thumb and index finger of your dominant hand (the one you write with) as if you were shaking hands.
The knuckle on your index finger should be on the top right angle. Then, grip and make sure it feels comfortable. Separate your third and fourth fingers slightly.
Serving. Hold the ball with the thumb, index finger and middle finger of your free hand (hand not holding the racket). Extend the arm with the ball just in front of you and then raise it above your head. Toss the ball gently, so it goes a few inches higher than the full height of the racket extended above your head. Keep your eye on the ball. Bring the racket around above your shoulder and hit the ball while it’s in the air. Try to use the same toss every time.
Receiving and returning the ball. Stand in the middle of the court and hold the racket gently with both hands so you can run in either direction when the ball comes over the net.
When the ball is hit to your forehand side (e.g., right if you’re right-handed), step toward the ball with your opposite leg and swing! If the ball comes to your backhand side (left if you’re right-handed), go for the ball with your dominant arm in front of your chest and your other hand holding the racket as well. Swing without moving your wrists.
Zero point: Love
One point: 15
Two points: 30
Three points: 40
Four points: Win
If you are looking for a fun workout, grab a friend and/or spouse for a game of tennis. P.S. On our Tennis Tuesday Date Nights, we add a little friendly competition with the winner buying ice cream!