December 2008 -- I have conducted scores of Cardio Tennis sessions and I give the program great marks for all the health benefits and other positives it offers the professional and the consumer. One aspect I would like to focus on is how these workouts play an important part in bringing people together and improving the quality of life for the participants.
Here are a few of my own experiences with Cardio Tennis that demonstrate these points dramatically for me.
- "We did it!" was the triumphant cry of Cardio Tennis participant Al Johnson after he drilled, dived for balls, did a multitude of heart-pounding exercises and generally had a great time during the 60 minutes of a wild and wonderful cardio workout.
And, at the same time, Al high-fived a fellow Cardio Tennis member as if he'd known him for years although the two had met just one hour before. Al went on to play tennis with some of the people he worked out with during the session, building friendships and social networks. They still take Cardio Tennis sessions together and have become fast friends. They have also recommended Cardio Tennis to all their friends.
- When Carlos took his first class of Cardio Tennis he weighed more than 280 pounds. His cholesterol and blood pressure were high and his self-esteem and confidence were low. His personal trainer told him to use the Cardio Tennis workout as a way to have fun and lose some weight.
Carlos was apprehensive because he had never played tennis before. But he decided to take the plunge and joined in. Since starting Cardio Tennis classes, making healthy modifications in his diet and incorporating strength training in his fitness routine, Carlos has lost more than 100 pounds. His cholesterol and blood pressure are much lower and his self-esteem and confidence are soaring. He is also learning and loving the game of tennis.
"Overnight," said Carlos, "exercise became fun and not something I had to do, but something I wanted to do. I really enjoy the music and the energy of the class, and having a heart rate monitor made it possible to see how many calories I was expending per class. I now love playing tennis as well and take two Cardio Tennis classes a week and have started playing tennis with my friends."
- Julisse attended her first Cardio Tennis class completely by accident. She had just moved to the area with her family and didn't know a soul. She felt isolated and alone in her new surroundings.
Then she met some people in the Cardio Tennis class who had a great deal in common with her. They had kids the same age and lived very close to her in the community. Julisse was so thankful for coming to that Cardio class because it made her and her family feel welcome and at home in the neighborhood. Since that first class, Julisse and her family are regulars at Cardio Tennis. She is the first to welcome newcomers to the class, making them feel at home, and often shares her story with them.
A fundamental core of Cardio Tennis is the social aspect; the class is designed for six to eight people with lots of high-fives. As you can see from these real-life examples, Cardio Tennis has social benefits that help bring people together. It's something about the music, the games and the interaction during the drills that really stimulates conversation and friendships. It's a great way to bring together people of various ages, backgrounds and interests.
The trick to keeping your program fresh is to be creative, think outside the box and invent some exciting new ways it can benefit your club socially and result in more and better classes.
Below are a number of suggestions for inviting different demographic categories to your courts for Cardio Tennis classes. Aside from these examples, teachers can use their own creativity to make Cardio Tennis more rewarding and fun for participants.
- "Tennis - for the health of it!SM": This wonderful USPTA initiative and Cardio Tennis are a match made in heaven. Nothing says "health" like Cardio Tennis does when, at the end of a class, the heart rate monitor file is pulled and the average male is burning 500-1,000 calories per hour and the women are burning 300-500. Make sure you incorporate the "Tennis - for the health of it!" logo with your Cardio Tennis event and class promotions.
- Apres cardio: Once the Cardio Tennis class is over, you might consider extending the good mood it generates with a wine-and-cheese social, a picnic, some breakfast, etc. You can plan a Cardio Tennis class early in the morning and add coffee and breakfast foods and call it the Sunrise Cardio Café.
- Cardio singles: Single people are looking for a fun and safe way to meet new people. A Cardio Tennis mixer for singles is a great option. The no-pressure activity allows people of various personalities and skill levels to play together.
- Classes for men: Most classes still have a higher percentage of women than men. You might have better luck creating "men-only" classes. You can call it "Cardio Tennis: Turbo Testosterone" or Cardio Tennis: big biceps and brawn." A class like this might work well in the evening. After burning those calories the guys might enjoy light beer and a salty snack.
- Cardio Tennis is good company: Recruit people who work together to work out together. This could be a great team-building exercise and two departments could square off and compete. The clubhouse could be used as a meeting place and after the meeting everyone would participate in Cardio Tennis as a means of relieving work-related stress.
- Family cardio: Families in your club may welcome a workout for the whole family and this class can easily accommodate kids and their parents. This is a great Saturday morning class and offers safe, fun fitness activity the whole family can do together in a short period of time at a low cost.
- Themes: This is where your creativity is limitless.
- Create a theme of the day, week or month. How about '70s disco week? You could play music by KC and the Sunshine Band and Kool and the Gang, and the pro and/or the students could dress the part (wigs, glasses, clothes).
- Abs and glutes month: Focus your sideline activities to target those body parts.
- Fundraisers: It can be as simple as "pink and white" cardio month to support breast cancer awareness (especially suitable for October). Have everyone wear those colors to classes, use pink balls, play music from the artist "Pink," and donate a certain percentage of class fees to a breast cancer charity.
Whether you work as a coach in a club, park, school or resort, I believe you will find that bringing people together through Cardio Tennis tends to make for a friendlier, happier environment and members will be more comfortable asking others to play and enjoy the game.
The sky is the limit when you're putting together new and creative ideas for Cardio Tennis.