Back in April, I signed my children up for the Lawn Tennis Association’s ‘Tennis for Kids’ initiative: free tennis lessons for 6 weeks to get children interested in tennis.
They began their free tennis lessons in May and enjoyed it so much they wanted to continue once the initial 6 weeks were over.
I’m thrilled that both Olivia and William want to keep this going. It seems to have sparked their interest in a way that some other sports haven’t. They’re both finding it a lot of fun, which makes them want to learn and improve.
I’ve also noticed a difference in Olivia and William since they started playing tennis and not just in their tennis ability. So, with Wimbledon now underway, I thought I’d share some of my reasons why children should play tennis.
Seven reasons why children should play tennis.
1. Tennis gets your child active and improves fitness.
I’m starting with one of the most obvious reasons why tennis – and any sport, really – is good for children.
Obesity is a real issue in today’s society. Nearly 1 in 3 children aged between 2 and 15 are either overweight or obese. Long-term, it can lead to conditions like Type 2 diabetes, depression and heart disease.
Physical activity is one known way to reduce your risk of these conditions, as well as help you maintain a healthy weight. Playing tennis is a great way to keep fit and it’s fun too.
2. Tennis improves hand-eye coordination.
My children spend a lot of their time during their tennis lessons practising how to throw and catch. It’s a basic skill, but one that’s imperative to master if you’re to be good at tennis. After all, if you haven’t got the coordination to throw and catch a bouncing ball, you’re unlikely to be able to hit one over a net.
When my children first began their tennis lessons their hand-eye coordination wasn’t great, but I’ve seen a real improvement in them both. We now try to do more catching games at home too and I can definitely see them becoming more coordinated.
3. Tennis increases self-confidence.
I love watching Olivia and William at their tennis lesson. The look of achievement on their faces when they hit a particularly good shot is priceless. It lights up their faces and I can see their self-confidence grow.
4. Tennis encourages patience and self control.
Part of being brilliant at tennis is knowing when to play that killer shot and where precisely in the court to put the ball. While some tennis greats are known for their outbursts (I’m looking at you, John McEnroe), being patient and keeping your cool is very important. It helps you keep a clear head and hold your focus.
5. Tennis teaches good sportsmanship.
Put simply, there can only be one winner of a tennis match. Learning to be a gracious loser and using that to drive you on to improve is a life lesson we can all benefit from.
6. Tennis can develop your child’s maths skills.
Yep, you read that right. Tennis is not only good for your physical fitness, it’s also good for your mental agility.
For instance, tennis is about angles. Knowing how to hit the ball to make it travel at a particular angle and past your opponent is crucial. Tennis also has a more complicated scoring system than other sports like football and netball. Learning how to keep score during a match should totally help with their maths skills.
7. Tennis isn’t expensive.
You might think that costs associated with playing tennis – a racket, balls, court hire and tennis club membership – add up to a pretty penny. That’s not necessarily the case.
For starters, there’s the Lawn Tennis Association’s ‘Tennis for Kids initiative, which offers children 6 weekly lessons for free. This is what introduced Olivia and William to the sport. There’s also an abundance of tennis courts around the UK which are available to use for free. You can find your nearest free tennis space through the Tennis for Free website. It’s a community sports charity which promotes free access to sessions and tennis courts.
The Lawn Tennis Association also holds a ‘Great British Tennis Weekend‘ twice a year. The first is in May and the other is towards the end of July (for 2017, it will be the 22nd and 23rd July). The idea is to get more people playing tennis by offering free opportunities to play.
Do you have any more reasons why children should play tennis?