Arthur Ashe, considered tennis a “life sport”
Tennis is a key instrument to improve the physical and mental health, academic attainment, character and citizenship of our children; it is a lifetime sport and is played globally, bringing people of different backgrounds together. Arthur Ashe wrote to his six-year old daughter to leave advice for her when he knew he would not live long enough to give it in person. His letter included the following guidance, “Pay attention to your health, Camera, and do not take it for granted.” He continued: Whatever else you learn in school, I would like you to learn two “life sports,” those you can play long after you are out of school. Sports are wonderful; they can bring you comfort and pleasure for the rest of your life. Sports can teach you so much about yourself, your emotions and character, how to be resolute in moments of crisis and how to fight back from the brink of defeat. In this respect the lessons of sports cannot be duplicated easily; you quickly discover your limits but you can also build self-confidence and a positive sense of yourself.
Tennis has health benefits – physical, mental and emotional
Scientists and physicians around the world view tennis as one of the most healthful recreational activities. There are other sports that can provide excellent health benefits and some which can provide mental and emotional growth, but tennis is a sport that provides all of these attributes and children can learn it early in life and enjoy for the rest of their lives. The game of tennis helps a young person become more self-aware and self-confident; more physically fit and mentally tough; more highly motivated on and off the court, and there are many other benefits: Tennis is sometimes described as “chess in motion”. It is simultaneously cerebral, with aerobic and anaerobic benefits. Tennis requires stamina and quickness, sudden conviction and exceptional patience. Tennis helps young players improve their ability to focus their thoughts while developing physical strength, speed and flexibility.
Tennis teaches life skills
In addition to the physical benefits, the psychological reasons to play tennis include learning essential life skills such as developing a work ethic, developing discipline, managing mistakes, learning to compete one-on-one, accepting responsibility, managing adversity, accommodating stress effectively, planning and implementing strategies, learning to solve problems, learning sportsmanship, learning to win graciously and lose with honour, learning teamwork, and developing social skills.
Tennis is an individual sport which is competitive and collaborative with an opponent at the same time. In tennis, the greatest shots and matches result from player interaction. Unlike many other individual sports, tennis requires competitive participants to be honest referees as well. Tennis players must be strong and confident individuals, but good sports citizens as well.
Tennis is also a team sport that develops social skills. Doubles requires coordinated interaction with a partner, ideally acting as one with a common goal. Through team tennis in school, clubs plus junior and adult leagues camaraderie, unity, support of others, social interaction and communication are promoted.
Tennis promotes peaceful dispute resolution. Aspiring players watching the professional game of tennis do not see disputes erupt into the physical violence which are common in many team sports. Young tennis players tend to develop a higher degree of civility and self-control than many other young athletes.
Tennis demands exceptional mental and physical capabilities from the individual athlete. On the practice court, the tennis player must objectively assess and address his own weaknesses to register real improvement. In match play, the successful player is both coach and student, creating and executing a strategy playing to his own strengths and his opponent’s weaknesses.
Tennis is for everyone, Tennis is for life.
i can play, you can play, we can play!