The benefits of learning the lifetime sport of tennis at camp
There are few sports you can pick up as easily, and play for as long over the course of your life as tennis. We’re lucky to have a tennis legend at Camp Walt Whitman, Dave Porter, who makes it easy for our campers to learn a sport that will serve them well (pun intended!) for years to come.
He oversees a tennis program that all of our campers participate in twice a week, and more often for those who opt for additional lessons from either Porter, the all-time winningest coach in NCAA history, or the 12 tennis professionals that he oversees on our 11 clay courts.
What that means is that campers will bring back an affinity for tennis, as well as real skills in a sport that has many mental and physical health benefits.
The U.S. Professional Tennis Association compiled an outstanding body 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 the short bursts of intense activity, followed by brief moments of rest, tennis is a natural form of interval training that is so popular today. 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 good 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 take up tennis early in life are more likely to play in mid-life, compared to other sports. A Johns Hopkins University study of 1000 of its male medical students dating from 1946 to 2002, found that those of its 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 in their youth like baseball or basketball. Not only did it keep them active, it lowered their risk of heart disease.
The findings from numerous studies make inspire you to take up the sport yourself if you don’t already play—or have your camper teach you the basics when they return home!