Team sports improve tennis skills
Marcin Bieniek explains how playing team sports can help to improve your tennis' skills.
Tennis is an individual sport with complex skills to learn. Tennis players have to develop the skills needed to play successfully, and unpredictable factors like weather, audience, or courts make it even harder. In team sports, you have teammates who can help you out when in trouble on the playing field whereas in tennis, winning or losing is up to you.
Teammates' support is vital because it creates a friendly environment and training can be more enjoyable. In my opinion, tennis players can improve their on-court performance by participating in team sports because sports like soccer, basketball, or volleyball have many common features for tennis. Let us analyse how particular sports can bring improvement to the tennis court.
In soccer, the critical physical skills are reaction, agility, speed, coordination, dexterity, endurance, and balance. The soccer player also needs to have excellent tactical skills like positioning, ball perception, quick decision-making, and an opponent's position. They also require good mental skills like concentration, control, commitment, and confidence. As we can see, both sports require similar physical, tactical and mental skills. Unfortunately, there is also a disadvantage of playing soccer – injury - which can occur as a result of a collision with another player. In conclusion, soccer is an excellent opportunity to have fun and improve many of the skills we use in tennis.
Basketball is a friendly game that can be played in teams or one-on-one. Basketball players have to be quick, agile, confident, and calm. Skills like endurance or reaction must be at a good level to perform well. As we all know, the best basketball players are strong, precise, and can jump high. Tennis players can improve a lot of physical factors (quickness, footwork, endurance, reaction) by playing basketball. However, in my opinion, there are two things of the utmost importance - jumping and accuracy.
Why do I choose these skills? Practicing jumps is helpful for a great service (going up higher and further forward), precise overhead (better ball-body position), and effective net-game (reaction to wide balls like a spring). Because of the specifications of this sport (contact), there are possible injuries due to a collision. Knees and ankles are also exposed to a more significant workload because of the jumping factor. However, friendly games with a calm attitude can bring more benefits than damages. In my opinion, tennis players can take a lot from playing basketball.
Volleyball, similar to soccer and basketball, can bring a lot of advantages for tennis players. When we watch a volleyball match, we can observe great movement, reaction, jumps, and powerful attacks. What can tennis players develop? Volleyball players perform powerful attacks with the dominant arm, which would allow the tennis player to develop a stronger and faster dominant arm. In volleyball, the attacking action involves jumping and arching the back, which can help improve tennis strokes like the service (more flexibility in the back, which can result in a bigger kick serve).
Volleyball players have knees bent all the time to able to react quickly to the opponent's return. Tennis players need to develop this position to be able to respond in the same manner on the tennis court. There is the possibility of injuries in volleyball (knees and ankles), but it is the nature of every sport. Volleyball is another example of a team sport that can be used to help become a better tennis player.
I think that team sports provide an excellent opportunity to have fun and improve our tennis skills. As I have shown above, team sports have a lot in common with tennis, so we should not limit our development to just tennis court activities. I hope this article will encourage more tennis players to take part in team sports as I am sure it will result in better athletes on the tennis courts.
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About the Author
Marcin Bieniek is a tennis coach from Poland and a former professional player (Polish National Juniors Team). He is a certificated tennis coach by the Polish Tennis Coaching Association and the Professional Tennis Registry. Marcin has worked with many of the top 20 Polish Juniors and the top 150 players in the world.