Play Tennis for your Well-being

Tennis Creates Well-Being

For both your physical and mental health

Putting an emphasis on self-care, in any form, has been a priority for most during the COVID-19 pandemic. But have you thought about fortifying your mental health lately? In May, Mental Health America encourages you to strengthen your mental well-being by celebrating Mental Health Awareness month.1 An easy and fun way to prioritize your mental health is by picking up a tennis racquet. 

Now you may be thinking, how do tennis and mental health go hand in hand? Well, you’d be surprised to know that tennis is one of the leading sports that benefit your mental well-being.

Tennis creates well-being, get out and play tennis today.

“Since tennis requires alertness and tactical thinking, it may generate new connections between nerves in the brain and this promotes a lifetime of continuing development of the brain,” according to scientists at the University of Illinois. In turn, advancing your brain function helps reduce stress which supports your mental health.  

The mental and social challenges involved with tennis can increase your capacity to deal with stress.2 The best part is, there is no time limit on when you can take advantage of the psychological benefits the sport has to offer. Whether you are a brand new player or someone who used to play tennis and is ready a get back out on the court, tennis creates well-being at any stage

Tennis helps strengthen your mental health by3:

  • Developing a work ethic: Improvement through lessons or practice reinforces the value of hard work. 
  • Managing mistakes: Learning to play within your abilities and realizing that managing and minimizing mistakes in tennis or life is critical. 
  • Managing adversity: Playing tennis enables you to learn to adjust to the elements (e.g. weather, a hard match, tiredness) and still be able to compete tenaciously. 
  • Learning to solve problems: Since tennis is a sport based on angles, geometry, and physics you learn to anticipate certain scenarios in order to play out a point during a match.
  • Accommodating stress effectively: The physical, mental, and emotional stress of tennis will force you to increase your capacity for dealing with stress. It will also help you learn how to recover from a stressful situation. 

We can’t forget about the social benefits tennis has to offer. Tennis will help you4:

  • Develop performance rituals before serving or returning to control your rhythm of play and deal with pressure. These skills can transfer to taking exams, conducting a meeting, or making an important sales presentation. 
  • Learn sportsmanship since tennis teaches you to compete fairly with opponents. 
  • Learn to win graciously and lose with honor. Gloating after a win or making excuses after a loss doesn’t work in tennis or in life. 
  • Learn teamwork since successful doubles play depends on you and your partner’s ability to communicate and play as a cohesive unit. 
  • Develop social skills through interaction and communication before a match, while changing sides of the court and after play. 

And most important, when you play tennis you will have FUN… because healthy feelings of enjoyment, competitiveness, and physical challenge are inherent in the sport.

Junior Playing tennis

At USTA Mid-Atlantic, we believe tennis creates well-being. Playing tennis an hour a day may improve your physical, mental, and emotional fitness. Get out and play today so you can maximize those benefits on and off the court. During Mental Health Awareness Month, inspire yourself and others to make tennis a part of your mental health journey. 

Let’s strengthen our mental health together. Meet us out on the tennis court this summer to take advantage of the lifelong benefits the sport has to offer. 

And don’t forget to catch up on the endless physical health benefits tennis has to offer by reading our Improve Your Overall Health with Tennis article

We can’t wait to see you out on the courts!

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1Mental Health America, Celebrate Mental Health Month

2USTA.com, Tennis Makes You Happy and Healthy, Study Shows, 2019

3Health Benefits of Tennis: Why Play Tennis by Dr. Jack Groppel

434 Reasons to Play Tennis, Webinar Series with Dr. Jack Groppel

Tennis is a Game Changer

Tennis and Nutrition, Together like Racquet in Hand

Celebrate National Nutrition Month with USTA Mid-Atlantic By Maintaining Proper Nutrition on the Tennis Court

Nutrition tips to keep performing on the tennis court.

No matter your level of play, tennis is a great way to get physically active and maintain a healthy lifestyle. When you hit the court and play, you’ll burn calories, strengthen muscles, improve your coordination, and much more. Your time on the tennis court can contribute to your wellness goals; just as it contributes to your goals to improve your tennis game and skills. Critical to reaching your health and physical activity goals is having proper nutrition to fuel your body. Paying attention to your nutrition can support all of the gains you are making on the tennis court. Plus, it can be a differentiator when it comes to your performance. 

March is National Nutrition Month®, spearheaded by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. During March, the Academy encourages everyone to make informed food choices and develop sound eating and physical activity habits they can follow all year long. 

Corey Kuck helps teach you how to maintain proper tennis nutrition.

Making informed food choices is an important part of cultivating nutrition habits that will support your tennis game. There are a wealth of resources for tennis players interested in stepping up their nutrition game and making sound choices. Whether that is nutritious foods to fuel your tennis workouts to the best choices for the recovery. 

We’ve gathered up some resources you can review to learn more about making informed choices in your nutrition. 

Fueling Your Body for Tennis with Mid-Atlantic-based chef, Corey KuckThis article has some good tips from Chef Kuck, a recreational tennis player, and includes an awesome recipe for Herb Pesto crusted Pork Tenderloin with Mediterranean Couscous.

If you haven’t yet explored the “Improve” section of usta.com there are many great articles that can help you, well, improve in tennis! The site has several articles dedicated to nutrition specifically for tennis players of all experience levels. No matter your level, proper nutrition is key. 

Here are just a few of the articles that you may find helpful: 

  • Snack Smarter: Tips for Before and After Exercise – This article is jam-packed with great, easy, healthy options for snacks that can power your tennis workout, practice, or match. 
  • Nutrition at Home– Check this article for some thoughtful reminders and hints for making your nutrition count throughout the day. Especially if you are home more or working from home.
  • Nutrition for Recovery – After a long tennis match or tournament, what you put into your body matters. Check this article for foods and tips to help with recovery. 
  • Hydration Matters – It cannot be said enough how important hydration is for your body especially during warmer days or even down-right blazing hot and humid days playing tennis in the Mid-Atlantic region. This article can help you learn more about proper hydration for your body. 

These are just a few articles and resources that can help you maintain nutrition on the tennis court. As part of your celebration of National Nutrition Month®, take a few moments to review some of these articles and tips on nutrition. Plus, share them with your teammates and tennis friends as you prepare to play more tennis during spring and summer. 

USTA Mid-Atlantic Section has lots of ways you can get into tennis in Maryland, Virginia, Washington, D.C., and eastern and southern West Virginia. Visit us and learn about the ways you can play today!  And make sure you are following us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube

Team Playing Tennis

Improve Your Overall Health with Tennis

Top Reasons to Play

Have you thought about your heart health lately? In February, the NHLBI encourages you to celebrate American Heart Month to get motivated to adopt heart-healthy behaviors. One of the ways you can take care of your heart and improve your health is by playing tennis with your friends and family.

In other words, join the 3 million new players who picked up a racquet for the first time in 2020 because tennis is the safest sport to play in order to maintain social distance and safety while having fun.1

Reasons to play:

Team Playing Tennis

According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, “Research shows that we’re more successful at meeting personal health goals when we join forces with others. When we take care of our hearts as part of our self-care, we set an example for those around us to do the same.”

There are a multitude of reasons why playing tennis is a great activity to improve your health at any age. Whether it is your first time picking up a racquet, or if you are a seasoned player the heart health benefits are endless. 

Play tennis to improve your health by:

Family playing tennis
  • Get fit, lose weight and burn more calories: An hour of singles play can burn 580-870 calories. Put on your favorite fitness tracker, hit the tennis court and watch those calories sizzle away!2
  • Live longer: Playing just three hours/week will reduce your risk of heart disease 56%3
  • Strengthen your heart muscle and your bones: Compared to other sports, tennis players have the lowest incidence of cardiovascular disease4
  • Develop hand-eye coordination: Playing tennis involves several skills that all contribute to good hand-eye coordination. You can improve your agility, balance, coordination, reaction time, and more. 

Together we can celebrate American Heart Month with stronger and healthier hearts today by getting out to play. 

But wait there’s more. The advantages of playing tennis do not stop there. 

Additionally, the lifetime sport of tennis helps your mental and overall well-being by:

  • Reducing stress: Tennis helps you with physical, mental, social, and emotional challenges which increases your capacity to manage stress
  • Increasing brain power: From alertness to tactical thinking, tennis enhances the neural connections in your brain. Kids who play tennis regularly get better grades.5
  • Helping you learn to problem-solve: Tennis is a sport that is based on evaluating angles, geometry, and physics to get the best result, which translates into better problem-solving off the court6
  • Enjoying time with family and friends: Great for the whole family no matter what your age. With minimal equipment needed, it’s easy to meet up with  a friend to play or find one through the game
  • Developing teamwork and sportsmanship skills: From doubles play to team and league play, tennis develops your ability to communicate and work together
  • Improving social skills: Tennis outperforms all other sports in developing positive personality characteristics7

Ready to get out on the courts?

Man Playing Tennis

Most importantly, playing tennis is not just about the competition, it is about living your life to the fullest potential. Additionally, tennis can become part of your life at any age. So get started and gain a positive impact on your life immediately. During American Heart Month, inspire and motivate yourself and those you love to make heart-healthier choices as a regular part of your routine – go play tennis! 

We can’t wait to see you out on the courts! 

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12020 Physical Activity Council Participation (PAC) Report

2Oja, et al, Brit J Sports Med, 2016

3According to a 2016 Harvard University study

440-year study conducted by Johns Hopkins University

5 2013 USTA Study

6In a study in the late 1990s, several experts proposed that tennis, since it requires alertness and tactical thinking, may generate new connections between nerves in the brain and promote a lifetime of continuing brain development. This was supported in John Ratey’s book “Spark.” Ratey was quoted in USA Today as saying, “A heart-thumping game of tennis can keep the brain in top shape.”

7According to a study by Dr. Jim Gavin at Concordia University

Summer Tennis Successes - Kids Jumping

Summer of Tennis Successes

Tennis brought back fun for kids in the summer of uncertainty. 

Even with the change in normalcy this summer and in a time of the pandemic, there is plenty of summer tennis successes to report on. The momentum for tennis in the Mid-Atlantic kept ongoing, especially among youth players. Tennis proved to be the perfect solution for kids to have fun, stay active, and keep up with healthy habits while maintaining appropriate social distance (without being socially distant). 

And we are keeping that momentum going through the end of 2020. We know that tennis has the power to continue to bring us all together, which is why we are continuing to make an impact before the year ends so we can grow tennis in the Mid-Atlantic for the next generation. Click here to learn more.

We also learned how to be resilient, adapt and innovate in 2020, which influenced how we ran our Summer tennis programs this year.

Summer tennis programs needed to be different this year due to the coronavirus pandemic. With safety as a top priority USTA Mid-Atlantic – a nonprofit organization – and TGA Premier Youth Tennis innovated to host a variety of summer programs that met the needs of players, parents, and kids alike. Programs were provided in a way that was accessible to more people in support of USTA Mid-Atlantic’s mission.  

Summer of tennis successes in youth programs.

Through innovative experiences and new partnerships, record numbers of youth got active with tennis. In less than three months, USTA Mid-Atlantic saw 924 registrations in our summer recreation tennis programs.  

Kids and adults of all ages and levels practiced tennis, learned new skills, built friendships, and had plenty of fun. 

We are excited to share a few highlights of the successes from the summer season: 

Loudoun County, Va.: 

  • We ran more than 20 one-day clinics. This gave families the flexibility without a long-term commitment. This was a new USTA Mid-Atlantic program and each clinic averaged 8-15 students. 
  • For high school tennis players, missing out on their spring season was devastating. But they came back swinging on the courts participating in two high school round-robin tournaments hosted by USTA Mid-Atlantic. This gave players a chance to keep up with their tennis skills and have a friendly competition. Each tournament sold out due to demand.

Howard County, Md.:

  • A new record was set this summer for tennis camps. With our partner Howard County Recreation and Parks, there were 14 summer tennis camps. There were 186 participating players, the most that the county has seen in one summer.
  • USTA Mid-Atlantic also ran three neighborhood community tennis programs, to help residents get active. This included the first-time program at a senior-living community – showcasing that tennis is a lifetime sport. 

Fairfax County, Va.:

  • In Fairfax, both youth and adults played tennis through recreation programs offered in two neighboring communities. 
  • In the Kingstowne community in Alexandria, Va., there were 32 registered players across several youth and adult classes, which was greater than previous summer tennis seasons. 

Virtual tennis: 

Applying lessons learned from a pilot in the spring, we continued offering virtual tennis classes this summer so that young players could practice tennis from the comfort of home. 

  • Overall, we had 66 registrations this summer, which is more than double from the spring pilot program.
  • Certified coaches from USTA Mid-Atlantic also ran free, weekly virtual tennis sessions through Facebook LIVE. This 30-minute program ran for 9 weeks and reached more than 1,500 people every week!
    • All of these sessions are now saved on USTA Mid-Atlantic’s Facebook page, click here. 

Continuing Summer Momentum:

“Going into the summer, there were a lot of unknowns and we were not sure how we would plan and provide our programs,” said Alex Chan, director of recreation programs for USTA Mid-Atlantic Section.

“But we knew families were looking for a safe sport that could get them out and active and saw a need for tennis in the Mid-Atlantic. We are really proud to have given so many people the chance to play tennis, and be active safely through our summer tennis programs.” 

Summer tennis this year in the Mid-Atlantic region was creative, innovative, and FUN. Through the creation of new, accessible opportunities across the Mid-Atlantic Section we were able to spread the love of tennis to more people, especially children who gain myriad benefits from the sport. 

The tennis fun will continue through the fall for children. No matter what the school year looks like, USTA Mid-Atlantic’s TGA Premier Youth Tennis has accessible and flexible options for tennis after school. To find a full list of programs near you, click here. 

Did you know USTA Mid-Atlantic is a non-profit organization with a mission to grow tennis? We are especially focused on ensuring more children have access to the sport no matter background, ability, or zip code. We invest resources and depend on generous donations that help us provide tennis programs in underserved communities so that ALL children can experience the life-long benefits of the sport. Learn more about our impact.

Teaching Moments from Tennis

Teaching Moments from Tennis, by Autumn Schiff

Tennis is an important staple in Autumn Schiff’s life. She is an avid player, fan, and this year she coached USTA Mid-Atlantic’s summer youth programs – teaching the next generation the life-long benefits of the sport. As she completed her summer coaching, she reflected on the important “teachable moments” you get from playing tennis, which are especially reinforced when you are teaching the sport to someone new to the game.

Lessons like “approach, and put it away” or “stand tall and play to win” not only help guide a person’s tennis game but can be applied to everyday life too.

Autumn writes about her favorite teaching moments from tennis she has learned over the years and how you can apply them directly to your life.

Read more below:

Play for Love: Who couldn’t like a game that literally starts with love? The origin of this term in tennis is a mystery.  I prefer to think it is based on the idea of playing for the “love of the game” and  being a good sport.
Autumn Schiff and her daughter playing tennis.
Keep Your Eye on the Ball:  t his one is an obvious metaphor, but so true. If you take your eye off the ball [whether in tennis or in life] for even one second, you miss your shot. Stay focused!
Autumn’s first tennis tournament in 1990, she is pictured on the left.
Dig Deep and Stay Light on Your Toes: This concept requires you to stay strong, but exhibit grace. Or as leadership expert Brené Brown says, “lead with a soft front and a strong back.”
A photo of Autumn on the tennis court this summer.

Each lesson that Autumn has learned has been helpful for both her tennis game and strategy as well as her life and career. She applies what she learns on the court to how she navigates through life off the court.

To read Autumn Schiff’s full blog go to http://www.careercharters.com or click here. And let us know what life lessons you have learned from playing tennis. Share your story with us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or by emailing Megan Driscoll at driscoll@mas.usta.com.

Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can. Success is a journey, not a destination. The doing is often more important than the outcome.”

Arthur Ashe