February 2010 -- Note: Feisal Hassan joined the Cardio Tennis speakers team in 2006. Since then, he has conducted the USPTA Cardio Tennis specialty course, several Cardio Tennis workshops for professionals, and special events for the tennis consumer. Background
Prior to the introduction of Cardio Tennis and my serving on the National Cardio Tennis speakers team, I conducted tennis aerobics and tennis fitness classes along with regular or traditional lessons. Upon hearing about Cardio Tennis, my first thought was, "Sounds good, but what's new? I've been doing tennis aerobics classes for years."
Actually, many things differentiate this program, but one of its most unique features is that it has always been backed by a national marketing and public relations effort. So what does this mean for you? It means free advertising, and we can all use some of that in today's economy. In the early years of Cardio Tennis it was promoted through TV commercials and print advertising in major publications. Today, Cardio Tennis is still a media magnet and is continuously featured in local newspapers and TV newscasts, as well as national publications like Weight Watchers
So again, how does this help you as a tennis professional? All this exposure pushes the consumers to USPTA Pros at www.cardiotennis.com, where they can find a place to play (your facility), and we can all use new clients and new members. To reap the benefits of this exposure make sure your site is officially registered; you can do this at www.growingtennis.com.
Based on my experience, I would suggest you do the following during initial sessions with your students and those new to the program.
- Educate the participants on the major goal of the program, which is to train within one's heart rate range.
- Emphasize that the cardio pro will push each person to his or her individual ability and fitness level.
- Encourage the use of heart rate monitors (HRM) so the pro and the participants know at all times whether they need to be pushed or need to lower the intensity.
I cannot emphasize enough how important it is for us as professionals to understand and use the HRM in Cardio Tennis classes. It helps us to provide the very best and safest workout for the client because every client is unique and needs to train accordingly. How about this: Why not use HRMs for all types of tennis instruction and play? This tool gives even more credence to support the Tennis - for the health of it!
initiative. The proof of the workout and the health benefits is in the heart rate monitor.
A Cardio Tennis class is broken down into three segments and I would like to share some tips for each segment.
Your warm-up should include a minimum of three exercises: a dynamic stretching exercise, a catching and tossing skill, and some light hitting. Each warm-up exercise should last approximately 1-3 minutes.
This is the core and best part of the class and will include about 30 percent drills and 70 percent games. Why so heavy on the games? Because games are fun! The variety of the class comes from the games and gives us a big advantage over other group fitness options. It is easy to play games with mixed abilities; the solution is low-compression balls. They are the great equalizer and will make all the difference in your success. Always use an agility ladder during line drills and other sideline activities such as standing crunches, cardio jacks, line jumps, stations, etc. Be cautious of your use of push-ups or sit-ups. I strongly suggest reserving these activities for your "boot camp"/advanced Cardio classes as the average consumer in original Cardio Tennis typically does not find these activities fun.
This segment aids in players' recovery and preparation for the next time they play. Your exercises should be light to moderate intensity and this is where static stretching can be used. These exercises should also be 1-3 minutes.
Impact of Cardio Tennis on my clients
One of the comments I hear consistently from our league players who participate in Cardio Tennis classes is how they can now get to balls they never would have attempted before Cardio Tennis. Their self-confidence has increased because their movement has improved so much. They love the camaraderie of the class and they have so much fun while getting a tremendous workout. They eagerly anticipate pulling the HRM file at the end to see who burned the most calories.
Growth in our business and participation
We have marketed and positioned our programs based on NTRP Levels (2.5, 3.0, 3.5, etc.). Currently, we offer each NTRP level a singles, doubles and Cardio Tennis class. This way, players can work on their singles or doubles (depending on what they play) and their fitness. These Cardio Tennis classes have been a key to our club's player retention (i.e. repeat players from previous sessions are reregistering) and, of course, player retention is always good for the club's bottom line.