Wimbledon always makes us want to pick up a racket and do our best Sharapova. But if you haven't played since Year 10 PE, stepping on the court can be a little daunting. We spoke to Sam Richardson, Coach at the Lawn Tennis Association, to find out his 10 hot tips for getting back into the game this summer...
1. No, you’re not too busy
Going to the gym is just easier right? Wrong! Tennis doesn’t have to be a three hour grandslam marathon. A quick hour game is a great to keep fit and with thousands of courts available all over the country (and some park sites are even free), playing couldn’t be easier.
2. You can build it into your current exercise regime
Tennis is a great full-body workout. You’re constantly using your legs to move around the court, building strength in your arms when striking the ball and toning your core to twist your body and stay balanced. The mix of anaerobic and aerobic exercise you experience on the court is effectively a whole session of interval training.
3. Pump up the cardio!
Don’t be a slave to Spin classes. Why not try the high intensity fitness version of Tennis called Cardio Tennis that burns an average of 600 calories in a single session. You can find sessions at local leisure centres and parks up and down the country.
4. Keep it simple
Don’t worry if you’re not ace-ing every serve. Focus on getting the basics right first and you’ll soon be hitting those winners. Concentrate on getting every shot over and in, and it will pay off.
5. You can play even when the weather isn’t!
The great thing about tennis is it’s an indoor and outdoor sport. You don’t have to give up once the strawberries and cream at Wimbledon are done for the year, or the British weather isn’t playing ball. There are loads of indoor courts available all over the country, so you can play tennis all-year round, whatever the weather!
6. You don’t have to go it alone
Want to play tennis but need a bit of motivation to get going? There are lots of options available - from planned group sessions, coaches, to beginner programmes. Tennis Xpress, for example, is a fast track six-week programme which you can do once a week with your friends. Or, if you live in London, why not try the informal Tennis Tuesdays sessions – fun, weekly social tennis exclusively for women.
7. Remember to warm up and hydrate
You won’t realise how hard you’ve been working on the court until you finish – and by then it’s too late. To avoid unnecessary muscle aches and pains, remember to warm up properly in advance, and drink lots of fluids before, during and after your match.
8. No need to spend last month’s wages on all the gear
You might be looking for the perfect excuse to go on a spending spree, but tennis doesn’t have to be expensive. It’s very rare you’ll find a court that expects you to wear tennis whites, and you can borrow balls and rackets from most parks and clubs - or buy one for under £20.
9. Use softer balls
Finding it hard to perfect that forehand? Using the softer orange and green balls rather than the yellow ones is a great way of slowing the game down allowing you more control to focus on mastering the basics.
10. Practice makes perfect
There’s no secret to tennis – the more times you get out and hit the ball over the net, the better you’ll get at it. Mixing up who you play with, trying out singles and doubles play, or hitting a few group sessions will build your confidence and mean you see a marked improvement in your tennis skills pretty quickly.
To find out more about Tennis Tuesdays visit www.tennisteusdays.co.uk