Sports and Exercise: Why Tennis the the Best First Sport

Some time back, I wrote about the top 5 activities I would recommend for early childhood development. I chose swimming as a first sport because it teaches children water safety which is something every parent desires because it can prevent accidental drowning.

Here is the perspective from Monster Tennis why Tennis is the best first sport for children to learn…

Compared to other sports such as soccer, baseball, football, basketball and golf, tennis helps children develop the greatest number of skills required by the greatest number of other sports and activities.

Skills developed in tennis:

  • throwing
  • catching
  • striking
  • running and striking
  • movement rhythm
  • 3-step movement patterns
  • aerobic
  • anaerobic
  • team-building

Soccer, baseball, football, basketball and golf only develop some of these skills but not all. More about each of these skills in relation to tennis:

Throwing – the service and overhead motion in tennis is identical to baseball and football.

Catching – soft-hand skills required for volleying, dropshots, lobs, and other touch shots are terrific catching skill-builders for other sports.

Striking – studies show significant carry-overs from one racquet sport to others, including sports with striking activities, such as baseball and hockey.

Running and Striking – a specific skill which is one of the most challenging features of tennis which is considered one of the most valuable skill-builders a developing sportsperson can master.

Movement Rhythm – Sports educators are beginning to emphasise the importance of rhythm in sports (something dance teachers have been expounding for years). Tennis is a continuous rhythm activity that offers timing and rhythm benefits not available from many other sports. For example, in tennis, players are constantly involved with the ball; in soccer, the center halfback will only be in contact with the soccer ball, on average, about 2 minutes in a full court 90-minute soccer game.

3-Step Movement Patterns – almost all baseline movements in tennis can be covered in 3 steps.

Aerobic – tennis is admitedly more anaerobic than aerobic, however, the aerobic benefits are definitely greater than in other sports such as basaeball or golf.

Anaerobic – a comparison of calories burned by different activities over a 3-hour period showed that competitive and moderate tennis scored near the top of the list. Tennis helps children build both stamina and strength.

Team-Building – Most junior tennis classes are organised in a group learning environment which encourages a team atmosphere.

Personally, I’m just glad Gavin is doing a sport. It’s a bit worrying when your child tells you that he sat out half of his recess waiting for class to start again because he was “too tired” to run around some more.