People often say to me "You Must Have Loved Tennis As a Kid." Truth is, as a kid, I never specifically loved tennis. I loved sports. And still do. As a 12-year old, I played soccer, baseball, basketball and tennis. Unbeknowst to me, my parents saw me as what I was, a go-with-the flow kid who will play whatever they sign me up for...as long as it was a sport!! So, they chose tennis as my specialization because they saw it as a sport of a lifetime. They also didn't see too many 5'8" kids from Long Island making it as a basketball player.
Now that I'm 36, I ponder what is it about tennis that I love.
1) When played correctly, I can't think of another sport that mixes physical and mental skills so evenly. Granted, most sports require good technique and ability. But, what other sport requires a player to manage his/her emotions, think strategically while having a good skill-set? Tennis emotions and momentums can change point-by-point requiring an inner-calmness to play effectively. In addition, without on-court coaching, a player must think strategically for himself. And unlike golf, it involves running!
2) Tennis truly is a sport for a lifetime. At a recreational level, physical strength is not a determining factor in tennis. What other sport can you see a slight 12-year old girl who has taken some lessons play a competitive match with her novice, body-building father?
3) Playing tennis well takes off-court discipline. You can't just be a meat head, show up and play well. You need to practice, be in good shape and focused. You can't get by on brute force and you can't have your teammates pick you up.
4) There is a social aspect if you are looking for it. Doubles can strengthen a bond between two people as can talking to opponents during changeovers, walking around the US Open or joining a tennis club if you are new to an area.
So if you are at this web site by accident, pick up a racquet and go play!
Ricky Becker is The Director of Tennis at the prestigious Pine Hollow Country Club and independently coaches high-performance juniors year-round predominantly at Bethpage Park Tennis Center. As a player, Becker was awarded Most Valuable Player for the 1996 NCAA Championship Stanford Tennis Team and 1989-1992 Roslyn High School Teams. He was ranked number one in the Eastern Section and fourth in the United States in the 18-and-unders. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, 516-359-4843 or via JuniorTennisConsulting.com.