Mom, when you need a quick idea for your son to get off the computer game or couch remember this. Who needs a tennis court or a partner to get the benefit of hitting a tennis ball? Like hitting a baseball we can all agree that playing tennis is great for many things. But did you know that playing moderate to vigorous tennis three hours a week has been shown to cut the risk of death by 50% from any cause, according to physician Ralph Paffenbarger of Harvard University School of Public Health?
It is a good idea to get your child a used tennis racket and have him start hitting the tennis ball when he is little. Even if he never takes lessons or plays on a team he will benefit greatly from learning how to hit the ball. If he learns the skill of hitting the ball early, he will be more likely to enjoy the sport when he is older. Hitting against the garage door or bricked side of the house works well on a lazy summer day when you don’t have time to arrange a trip to the tennis courts.
Physical development benefits include:
Cardio and aerobic fitness.
Sprinting, jumping and lunging in order to move quickly.
Quick reaction with side-to-side sprints to chase the ball. Hitting the ball also provides a great opportunity to cross the midline. This act of reaching to the opposite side of the body works both sides of the brain and is very important in child development for reading, writing and many other learning activities.
Stronger leg muscles through hundreds of starts and stops.
Coordination and gross and fine motor control development.
Agility and balance through starts, stops and changes of direction.
Discipline and patience is developed when your child tries to hit the tennis ball. If your child continues to enjoy the sport , studies (by Dr. Jan Finn at Southern Connecticut State University) show that tennis players scored higher in vigor, optimism and self-esteem while scoring lower in depression, anger, confusion, anxiety and tension than other athletes or non-athletes. Finally, new connections in the brain are made due to the alertness and tactical thinking that tennis requires, making tennis good for your brain, too!