I have coached high school tennis as both a head coach and an assistant coach. I have never taught tennis to kids younger than the 9th grade in the United States. As a teacher at a secondary school, my natural position to share tennis with younger players has been at the high school level. While I will continue to do that for what I hope are many years, I am branching out to teach younger players as well. Today, our head instructor ran through some techniques with me that we will be using this week. I was genuinely pumped up as each technique has a purpose to it but also will seem quite fun to players just encountering tennis. It has given me a greater respect for Quick Start Tennis and 10 and Under Tennis as efforts to grow our great sport.
Given that the rates of obesity in the US are climbing and the rates of childhood obesity are also sadly climbing, it is important to make sure that young people have opportunities to become and stay active. Certainly, improved nutrition is the most important factor for solving this crisis, but increasing activity levels in an age of smart phones and screens is the second most important factor. I have had issues with my fitness since my final year of college so I am not trying to claim high ground on this issue. I want to see progress precisely because I know getting back into shape is harder than never getting out of shape. Tennis is a sport people can play for life. It has a myriad of health benefits from improving coordination and bone density to making one’s heart and lungs stronger.
As a tennis fan, I would love nothing more than to see more people playing tennis, but I think the life-long nature of tennis makes it an ideal component for improving public health in the US. 10 and Under Tennis and Quick Start Tennis’ efforts to make playing tennis more accessible should be at the forefront of any efforts to promote all of the benefits of tennis because they help people have fun right out of the gate. People who enjoy tennis as a beginner are more likely to keep playing it.