The Lifelong Benefits of Learning Tennis at Summer Camp
There are few sports you can pick up as easily, and play for as long over the course of your life as tennis.
Camp Walt Whitman is very lucky to have a tennis legend, Dave Porter, who makes it easy and enjoyable for our campers to learn a sport that will serve them well (pun intended!) for years to come. Dave is a USPTA National past president and current chair of the Player Development Council, and oversees a staff of 11 college tennis pros who offer all of our campers excellent, regularly scheduled instruction for all levels on our 11 clay tennis courts.
He oversees the tennis program that all of our campers participate in twice a week, as well as help coach those campers who opt for additional lessons.
The U.S. Professional Tennis Association compiled an outstanding body of research about all the rewards we reap from tennis. Among the most important takeaways:
1. Tennis is one of the best forms of exercise
Because it blends short bursts of intense activity followed by brief moments of rest, tennis provides a natural form of interval training. And it’s good for a young body, too. In a 1984 study published in the British Journal of Medicine, researchers found that 7- to 12- year-old tennis players had superior cardiovascular endurance compared to casual sports players.
2. Tennis boosts our mental well-being
Studies at both the University of Connecticut and the University of Turkey found that students who played tennis had a better self-image, and a more positive outlook and a lower incidence of anxiety and depression.
3. Tennis is great for the growing brain
Exercise strengthens both mind and body, and researchers in Sweden found that achieving a high level of cardiovascular fitness by age 18 was directly associated with, and could even predict educational achievement later in life. Considering tennis is one of the best overall workouts, this bodes well for our campers’ minds.
4. Tennis helps develop positive social skills.
In a 2004 Concordia University study by James Gavin, he analyzed 7 personality dimensions of various sports, from sociability to competitiveness and tennis ranked the highest among them all. He later named tennis the best sport for developing a positive personality in his book, The Exercise Habit.
5. Those who learn tennis early in life are more likely to play in mid-life
In a Johns Hopkins University study of 1000 of its male medical students, the subjects who took up tennis early in life were most likely to still play the sport in mid-life, as opposed to those who played sports like baseball or basketball as kids. Not only did it keep them active, tennis also lowered their risk of heart disease.
The findings from numerous studies may inspire you to take up the sport yourself if you don’t already play—or have your camper teach you the basics!