Tennis Anyone?

Tennis. Those who play it, love it, and we can understand why.

For some, tennis can be a vigorous and competitive activity that can burn more calories than aerobics. Others just play for the fun of it.

One thing for sure, the more you play, the more you want to play. It’s one of the funnest sports we’ve ever played. And hopefully, the company you keep encourages you to play more. This is one of the reasons why we enjoy playing at the Atlantic Club in Manasquan.

We’ve been attending the early-bird sessions religiously for the past few months, and we’re appreciating the results. Physically more tone than ever before in our lives, tennis gives us a workout when we don’t even realize we’re exercising, which is pretty awesome.

While toning up is fantastic, what first drew us into playing was the mental break: just hitting a lime-green ball over the net, and again, and again, and again.

Sounds simple, right? It is, that is, until the desire to improve one’s skill kicks in. As you learn more about the sport, you see that strategy is all throughout, and that makes the sport even more fun to play.

Finding Time

Early-bird hours work well for us. From 7-9am, we get our exercise in for the day.

Making it easy to play as often as we do is the welcoming staff at the Atlantic Club. They truly love the sport and are very encouraging to players of all levels.

The beloved and long-time tennis player Ed Torres (above photo), stays young with the sport. He runs the ball machine at the Atlantic Club and is quick to help players of all levels up their game. Ed has helped us improve our game dramatically. We couldn’t be more grateful for his wisdom and kindness.

Want to play doubles or singles? Say the word and the staff will connect you with the regulars that play. You’ll find many of the staffers work and play there too. They play a big role in helping members enjoy the sport.

Tools of the Game

Now, before you get started playing, be sure you are prepared. Good sneakers are a must. ASICS is our choice. Although they take some breaking in, once they are, they serve us well for months at a stretch.

Now for the racket, we use Yonex, which is also used by many established tennis players.

Joe Grippaldi, tennis instructor and president of The Ocean Tennis Association (www.oceantennis.usta.com), recommends Yonex rackets because he feels that the brand doesn’t skimp on materials. “Graphite is the main material in the product,” he comments. “Stay away from fiber glass. Graphite is more expensive, and makes for a better tennis racket.”

In addition to purchasing a Yonex racket, Grippaldi also recommends signing up for professional lessons. “Seek a good instructor. A great way to do this is through recommendations from other tennis students,” he advises.

We have yet to play on clay courts, but we hear they’re fun to play on. Toms River Country Club offers one of the few places with clay courts in the area. Tennis pro Ryan Carty runs the program at TRCC. He offers private and group lessons, and keeps things exciting with regular exhibitions and championships at the facility.

With so many options available, there’s no reason not to get started. And it’s never too late to learn, as Grippaldi got into tennis later in life. Inspired by his wife when he was 30, he learned the game to compete with her. He’s now been playing 25 years and teaching for 20.

Tennis is for the Body and Mind

Once you start playing regularly, you’ll be start to notice your improved leg strength. Nice to know that the sport helps build bones and prevent osteoporosis. The fast pace of the sport also assists in body coordination as you position and adjust your body to hit the ball.

Not only is tennis beneficial to physical health, it’s also good for the mind since the fast pace of the game offers a constant thought process, using reflexes and strategies.

“Tennis is a full-body workout,” commented tennis pro Ryan Carty.

Grippaldi agrees with health claims that tennis can keep the mind young because it’s an on-going game that can be taken to different levels. He said, “I’d lose interest in jogging in ten minutes. Playing tennis for five hours, I don’t get tired of it.”

Ready to start playing? Head to a club near you or grab a pal and visit a local court for free. Go for it!