March 2017 -- To be a good tennis player, you have to be in good shape. And tennis is a great way to maintain your physical fitness. In 2008, USPTA launched a public relations initiative, Tennis – for the health of it!, to identify USPTA and its members as the means through which the public could receive the many health benefits from tennis. While this is no longer an active program for us, it doesn’t diminish the fact that tennis and fitness have always gone hand in hand.
The American College of Sports Medicine has just released its 11th annual survey of worldwide fitness trends. I am going to highlight a few of the top 20 that I believe work well with tennis, in hopes that you can incorporate some of these trends into your tennis programs and continue to grow your business. To view the full list, go to bit.ly/2017acsmtrends.
No. 1 – Wearable technology, such as activity trackers, heart rate monitors and smart watches. This is mainstream now, but Cardio Tennis trainers have been using them for years. If you aren’t a certified Cardio Tennis trainer, consider adding this to your repertoire and offering a program at your facility. Encourage your students to track their steps and monitor their heart rate as they practice and play.
No. 3 – High-intensity interval training. This is ideal for tennis players as it involves short bursts of high-intensity exercise followed by a short period of recovery. Training should be done by a professional as there can be an increased risk of injury. Again Cardio Tennis is a good program for this, or work with a fitness professional at your facility or in your local area to provide non-tennis training for your students.
No. 4 – Educated, certified and experienced fitness professionals. In golf, the Titleist Performance Institute was created several years ago to certify golf professionals, fitness providers and the medical community to advance the fitness levels of the golf population. The USPTA is partnering with TPI for a tennis-specific certification program that will link tennis-teaching professionals with local fitness and medical experts to help tennis playing consumers prevent injuries, stay on the court more and improve performance. You can expect to hear more about this new and exciting initiative later on this year.
No. 6 – Group training. As Paul MacDonald wrote in the February issue of our magazine, group lessons are a better use of club resources than private lessons (The Key Principles to Operating a Profitable Tennis Program). Be motivational, make your lessons fun, and when necessary, design your programs for players of different ability levels.
No. 7 – Exercise is Medicine®. This is a global health initiative managed by the ACSM that is focused on encouraging primary care physicians and other health care providers to include physical activity when designing treatment plans for patients. Talk to local doctors, especially those who are club members or tennis clients, about the health benefits of tennis (see No. 10) and encourage them to “prescribe” tennis to their patients.
No. 10 – Exercise and weight loss. As recently shown by the British Journal of Sports Medicine, tennis players have a 56 percent lower risk of death from heart disease and stroke, and a 47 percent lower risk of death from any cause. In addition, competitive tennis burns more calories than aerobics or cycling, according to studies in caloric expenditures. Read more about the BJSM study in the February issue of ADDvantage and share this information in your community as a way to promote your tennis programs.
No. 11 – Fitness programs for older adults. Tennis is a great sport for seniors, and as Baby Boomers continue to age and enter retirement, this is a growing market. Health-wise, playing tennis can help seniors improve balance as well as develop bone strength and density by helping prevent osteoporosis. It’s also a great social sport. Develop group programs and offer league play at your facility for this active age group.
As teaching pros, we all know that tennis is a great sport that offers so many health benefits to those who play. It is vital that you keep it in the forefront of people’s minds as an important part of their fitness regimen by incorporating the top fitness trends into your tennis programs.