At Stepping Stone SA, we love to use current events to help to introduce children to the world around them.
Sporting events are ideal for children to start to understand the world of healthy movement and to see inspirational role models demonstrating fitness, determination and resilience.
If you’ve been watching the 2021 Australian Open, you might be feeling inspired to get back on the tennis court. If so, why not think about taking your child with you to introduce them to a sport that is popular all over the world?
Benefits of tennis for children
There is a huge range of benefits for children who learn to play tennis from a young age. Obviously it’s great to get children moving and exercising in a fun and enjoyable way. Tennis also offers support to a number of other areas where children can develop and improve, including:
- Gross motor coordination – tennis involves some of the largest muscle groups in the body becoming conditioned quickly to work together. Moving around the court and striking the ball will help children with gross motor coordination.
- Fine motor skills – tennis offers children the chance to improve their fine motor skills whilst having fun, keeping active and often being outdoors. Some types of shots such as volleys really help to condition smaller muscle groups and encourage precise movements.
- Hand to eye coordination – tennis requires a lot of coordination. After tracking the ball carefully with the eyes, the hands are then needed to react quickly and efficiently. Learning to judge the timing between the ball and the point of contact is a real skill. Simply through the nature of regularly practicing tennis, hand to eye coordination will improve rapidly.
- Agility – from changing direction rapidly to moving around the court between set parameters, children can quickly improve their agility. This can also be great for children who find it difficult to focus or have a lot of excess energy to burn off!
- Attention and concentration – children quickly realise that if their concentration wavers, they’re likely to miss the ball. The attention required in a game of tennis is different to that in a group sport so it can be an excellent way to get children to focus and concentrate whilst also keeping active.
- Flexibility – any good sports coach will encourage a stretching routine before children start to play and tennis is no exception. Tennis warm ups can really help with flexibility, which is further improved through playing when children are likely to be required to stretch and move to reach the ball.
An all round winner
Tennis as a sport is not only great fun for children to learn but it can also be incredibly sociable with tennis clubs and courts generally being a place for active people to meet and play. It can be played indoors or outdoors, meaning that children will be able to play whatever the weather. Different court surfaces can also be interesting for children to explore – from clay to grass to soft matting.
So, next time you are thinking of a way to fill an afternoon, why not head to your local tennis court or set up a makeshift court at home? You will be sure to have a great time whilst ensuring your children are reaping the many benefits of daily physical exercise!