Thinking of enrolling your child in a sport? Tennis could be a good option as it is a fun and fantastic way to get fit mentally, emotionally and physically. Read on to know more.
By Team ParentCircle
How mesmerising it is to watch Serena Williams power her way across the court, stunning opponents with her big serves. And how proud we feel to see Sania Mirza in match-winning form! For that matter, what can be more inspiring than the supple grace of Roger Federer and the gritty determination of Novak Djokovic. Tennis has brought these iconic players global fame and success — it also helps them stay incredibly fit and healthy.
Do you also want to set your child on the path to becoming a champion, on and off the court? The first thing to do then is to introduce a sport into your child's life.
Playing outdoor sports is great for children, especially during the growing-up years. However, tennis has an edge over other sports as it is both a mental and a physical game. What's more, playing tennis is not just a great way to learn about sportsmanship, it also has many developmental benefits for children.
Dr Raghu Nagraj, a Bengaluru-based senior consultant in sports medicine, says: “Individual sports like tennis teach competitiveness, improve reflexes and sharpen the mind.”
Also read: 5 Nutrition-Rich Foods For Young Athletes
He adds, “As a sport, tennis plays a major role in both the physical and mental development of children. It helps them develop stamina and endurance while promoting healthy competition with their peers."
“Tennis should always be learnt under supervision. And, you must begin your session with regular warm-ups and stretches. Also, those who play tennis should work on strengthening their shoulder and core muscles. This can help prevent shoulder and knee injuries, which are common in tennis.” – Dr Raghu Nagraj
1. Bone and muscle strength: Playing tennis will help in building bone strength as the game demands agility. This is crucial for a growing child. Tennis is good for promoting muscle strength, essential to support a child's growing bone structure. Better bones during the growing-up years can help prevent osteoporosis later in life.
2. Enhanced immune system: As playing tennis has a positive effect on overall health, it helps boost your child’s immune system. This means she will have better resistance to diseases and will fall ill less often.
3. Healthy weight and heart: Tennis being an intensely physical game, will help children maintain a healthy weight. Also, active children grow into active adults and more important, regular physical activity improves cardiovascular health.
4. Leg and upper body strength: As this is a sport that requires speed along with stamina, playing tennis will help develop both upper and lower body strength. It will promote muscle mass and help build large muscle groups.
5. Better balance and flexibility: The game of tennis demands complete fitness. It requires that children learn to quickly strike the ball and then, take their opponent's shot. As they become better at these super-fast movements, children become more flexible and agile. There is also enhanced body balance.
6. Aerobic exercise: Tennis is a complete workout and aerobic in nature. Playing a game of tennis is hard physical work. The constant movements, sudden stops and side-to-side movements, the changes in direction — all this will get your child sweaty, and how!
7. Hand-eye coordination: Children usually take a little time to develop better hand-eye coordination. However, this aspect is inherent in learning tennis and a crucial aspect of the game. Also, while playing tennis, you need a high degree of judgement and precision to hit the ball — that helps in building motor control.
8. Focus and responsibility: In tennis, your child is responsible for his actions on the court. Hence, the sport is a wonderful way to understand and learn all about responsibility. What's more, tennis teaches children how to deal with their mistakes as well.
9. Discipline and problem-solving skills: Signing up for tennis means sticking to a schedule, attending practice on time, following instructions correctly, and so on. This makes children more disciplined. What's more, if their technique needs improvement, they need to problem-solve and correct it, while training.
10. Self-esteem and confidence: Tennis is an individual sport. And, as your child gets better and as his game improves, so will he feel more self-confident and blossom in other spheres of life. What's more, better self-esteem has a host of beneficial effects on children.
Playing tennis can be a hugely positive learning experience for children. Apart from valuable life skills like focus, dedication and discipline, the sport will also help them become healthier and happier. Hence, it enhances the overall development in children.
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