Millions of us love being active in sports and physical competitions as adults, but as we grow older and our bodies start to get a little more stiff and sore from exertion.
While we may not be able to play football or soccer in the park, or race up and down the basketball court like we used to, there are plenty of competitive sports that are known as lifetime sports, meaning people can play them from the time they are old enough to walk until they are too old to walk anymore.
One such sport is tennis, which attracts people from all ages to compete, and can be modified to any age or skill level. Last year, more than 24.2 million Americans played tennis at least once, according to the United States Tennis Association (USTA), and the number continues to grow.
What You Need
Outside of a playing partner, the only things you really need to play tennis are a good pair of athletic shoes, a can of tennis balls, and a racquet. The racquet is the most expensive of the three generally speaking, but a beginner’s model is not out of most people’s price range. You can go to a local outdoor shop like Academy or a tennis specialist store and let a salesperson know that you are a beginner looking for your first racquet. Based on your skill level and age, they should be able to easily fit you with a racquet that will be perfect for learning the game.
Comfortable athletic shoes are a must for first-time tennis players, especially if you are not in great physical shape. Make sure you let the shoe salesman know that you plan on playing tennis in your new shoes, so they will get you fitted for a pair that has the right amount of spring in the soles, along with breath-ability to keep your feet from getting too hot. Always get a shoe that allows about half an inch of space from the end of your big toe to the fabric of the shoe for comfort purposes.
Ways of Learning
There are two ways to go about learning the game of tennis – playing with a friend or taking lessons. If you’ve got a partner, you’re a car trip away from getting started. While there are indoor facilities in Texas’ larger cities to beat the heat, these all cost money and can have long waiting lines associated with them.
- Playing with Friends
If you can get up early or don’t mind playing at night, there are public courses all over the Houston, Dallas, and Austin metropolitan areas that are open to public play. You can start to get a feel for the game by simply standing on opposite sides of the net and hitting the ball back and forth between your racquets.
Have each person put a few extra balls in their pocket so you don’t have to go chasing after each one when someone hits a bad shot. Otherwise, hit the ball back and forth over the net, without worrying about how many bounces it takes in between. This technique will help you understand how the racquet works – how hard to hit the ball, what happens to the ball when you hit it on different parts of the racquet, etc. It will also amp up your cardiovascular system as you move back and forth, and improve your hand-eye coordination as you follow the flight of the ball in an effort to return it.
- Taking Lessons
If you want tennis to be more competitive, consider joining an adult league – many give senior discounts – or join a beginner’s class at your local YMCA. Coaches are on hand to give you pointers and tips in a group or 1-on-1 setting, and before you know it, you’ll be playing tournaments, making new friends, and getting a great, competitive workout at the same time.
If sweating in the Texas heat to get a little exercise doesn’t quite seem like your cup of Gatorade, you can consider the indoor version of tennis on a smaller scale – ping pong, which is almost as popular and can be a great way to have fun, meets new friends, still have a bit of competition, and yes, stay in shape while exercising your hand-eye coordination and your mental ability to strategize shots and defense.
Our cards and games rooms at Caruth Haven Court are full of options for any fan of fun, competitive activities. Whether your passion is tennis, ping pong, card games, board games, or anything else, if you can imagine it, we can help you enjoy it when you become part of our senior community. Learn about our senior living programs, amenities, and floorplans when you contact us today at 469.423.9186.