May 13, 2012

Top 10 Reasons To Be A Tennis Mom

Happy Mother's Day to all of you Tennis Fixation moms! I myself am a Tennis Mom at least two times over - I am a mother who plays tennis obsessively and I have now convinced my son that he loves tennis too (whether he does or not).

If you're already playing tennis or your child is on their way to tennis stardom, congratulations! You're a Tennis Mom and I don't have to tell you all of the fabulous benefits you can get from this sport. If you or your child are not already hitting the courts, grab a racquet and get busy because there are tons of reasons to be playing this incredible sport. And just in case you can't think of any, here to convince you are my Tennis Fixation Top 10 Reasons To Be A Tennis Mom:

1. Tennis is a lifetime sport. How do I know? Because I have been beaten on more than one occasion by players 10, 15, even 20 years younger than me. Just visit your local tennis club or community courts and witness the wide range of ages out there slamming (or poking) at the ball. Granted, as you get older, your strokes and strategy may change, but you can always play good tennis.

2. Tennis is a sport for the whole family. While every family member can play at their own level, tennis is also something you can all do together. If your child can drag a racquet around and chase a bouncy ball, they're old enough to take to the tennis court.  Sure, your family can play tennis straight up and Mom (or Dad) can always be the family champ. But you can also change up the game (how about some mini-court tennis?) and/or the equipment (have you seen all of the coloful Quickstart tennis balls that are now available?) so that little ones can be involved and everyone can have some fun.

3. Tennis is a great physical workout. Need to get your arms in shape? How about your legs? How about all of the large and small muscle groups in your body? Tennis works all of these. Whether you're running down lobs, or hitting controlled finesse volleys, tennis can give you the full-body workout you so desperately need. Want to know how many calories you can burn playing tennis? Check out this post: Let's Get Real: How Many Calories Can I Burn Playing Tennis?)

4. Tennis is a great mental workout. When I first came to tennis, I figured it was a fun way to get some exercise while hanging out with my friends. Now, having played for several years, I feel like the true benefit I get from tennis is the sharpening of my mental skills. In every tennis match I play, I have to problem solve, manage mistakes, control my emotions and live in the moment (one point at a time). And those are the mental tasks required when everything's going right! The benefits of this mental workout in my tennis life definitely carry over into my everyday off-court life.

5. Tennis is an awesome way to socialize and make friends.  While you can theoretically spend your tennis life hitting against a wall and never meeting another player, I hope you won't miss out on all of the fun to be had and friends to be made by joining a team or playing against a rotating set of opponents on a regular basis.  And your tennis friends will probably become some of your best friends since the game gives you so much to obsess about. This will hold just as true for your kids - taking up tennis will expose them to a whole new set of buddies.

6. Tennis relieves stress.  Oh my goodness, is this true! Because it is such a mental game, the physical exertion and concentration required to get through a match can definitely help you put your stress aside and live in the moment for at least a short amount of time. No matter how stressed out I get, a good tennis match takes my mind off everything but the game I'm playing right then.

7. Tennis teaches teamwork and communication. And no where is this more true than in your doubles match. No matter how bad the score gets, no matter how horrible your partner may be, unless you can clearly and positively communicate to your partner that you support her, your team is going down. I'm happy to say that even my tennis-playing son seems to be picking up on this lesson. In his most recent doubles match, I told him during the changeover (when coaching was allowed, by the way) that his partner was obviously getting upset that they were losing and it was his (my son's) job to get back there and tell his partner to relax and just play his game. When they headed back out on the court, he went and talked to his partner and their play seemed to really improve. After the match, I asked him what he said to his partner and he said, "I told him that you said I needed to tell him to need to relax and play his game. That's what you told me to say, right?" While I didn't intend his communication to be quite that literal, lesson learned (sort of).

8. Tennis is a wonderful competitive outlet. Before I started playing tennis, I would have told you that I was not a very competitive person. I didn't need to "beat" anyone at anything. Boy, was I wrong! It turns out I'm very competitive and I really, truly enjoy winning. And the great thing about tennis is that it gives me an outlet for this need to win, an outlet that is socially acceptable, happens in a very controlled environment, and keeps me from getting too crazy when I lose. And I love the fact that, because tennis is offered for kids of all ages and all abilities, any child can get out, play and feel competitive.

9. Tennis is a great way to learn sportsmanship, etiquette and rules. Maybe we adults don't need to learn these things - although after some of the experiences I've had on court, I would beg to differ - but our kids definitely do. And tennis is a sport that not only can teach these life lessons, but I think actually rewards those who learn them. Sure, the kid who makes bad line calls may win this match. But eventually, either an official will catch up with him or he'll find that no one wants to play with him anymore. And the more I think about it, the more I think this applies equally to adults.

10. Play tennis - acquire a cute wardrobe! While this may not be the best reason to play tennis, it is certainly one of my top reasons. I spend most of my day in workout clothes anyway so I love having a good excuse to buy anything cool, colorful, comfortable and, usually, short. And if its pink or purple - even better!   

For 10 reasons to love tennis moms, check out this Tennis Fixation post: I Love Tennis Moms.

© Kim Selzman 2012 All Rights Reserved

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