“Just 20-25 minutes of vigorous activity a week could make a significant difference in longevity”
Dr. Klaus Gebel
Centre for Chronic Disease Prevention
From an Australian Study based on more than 200,000 adults over the age of 45 Published in The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA)
“In one study of more than 10,000 men who played tennis 3 times a week, the risk of death from any cause was reduced by 50%, the risk of death from coronary heart disease was lowered by 41%”
National Center for Biotechnology Information
“There is a positive association between regular tennis participation and improved aerobic fitness, a leaner body, a more favourable lipid profile, improved bone health, and a reduced risk of cardiovascular morbidity and mortality.”
National Center for Biotechnology Information
The game of tennis presents the perfect opportunity for us to develop and maintain a rather long list of physical skills and abilities; from cardiovascular fitness, anaerobic strength and stamina to dynamic balance, hand-eye coordination and flexibility, just for starters.
Learning to play tennis will also require patience, focus, self-discipline, resilience, humility and countless other character building qualities along the way.
Too often we take for granted the simple joy of moving around in our own bodies in this age of sofa-bound technologies, but perhaps it’s something we might encourage our children towards… Or maybe it’s a feeling we need to re-discover for ourselves if life has gotten a little sedentary for one reason or another.
Fortunately, playing tennis can be approached and appreciated in many different ways. Primarily for most as the full-on competitive sport we see on TV. For others, it’s the perfect cardio activity to burn calories, or peaceful moving meditation to calm the mind… or maybe just a little fun with friends or family.
Whichever way you choose to play your whole self will be stimulated in such a way that tennis has been duly noted as a contributing factor towards a longer healthier life in a growing number of medical studies.
like the pros
Don’t worry if you’re a beginner…
Luckily, learning to play tennis has become a whole lot easier in the last ten or twenty years, as teaching methods evolved to reflect the game we see the professionals playing on TV.
What the pros do has always appeared so efficient, elegant and effortless. While traditional ‘turn-you-sideways’ tennis lessons often turned the budding amateur into a tennis robot, crushing their inner athlete and natural mover in the process.
Tennis really is as simple as throw and catch. A skill and feeling that most people mastered at a fairly early age and one that tennis lessons should only build upon.
Focusing on technical details like precision footwork patterns, specific body alignments, or beautiful (often huge) ‘back-swings’ too soon will only overwhelm and distract us from what the hand and arm are trying to do around the point of contact.
For me the fact remains…
You could perform every technical and physical aspect of the forehand perfectly, but if your hand or arm misbehave even slightly around the point of contact then the ball could go anywhere.
At the same time, if you were to perform every aspect of the forehand averagely or even poorly, you can still save the day by compensating with what you do with your hand and arm through the point of contact, especially with today’s racket technology.
Thus the hand is the best starting point and should be the main focus when learning or returning to tennis and should remain one of your main concerns right next to watching the ball.
Ready positions are great and all that but they won’t get the ball over the net. What you do with your hand and arm from contact to finish will. So why not make that the first tennis file you install or update on your tennis hard drive.
Developing a full awareness of the hand’s potential before you focus on swings, footwork or ready positions will simplify the game immensely and form a strong foundation to build upon.
Only after fully understanding the role of your hand and that tennis is primarily a hand-eye coordination game should you start to bring in the rest of the body. This rest of the body will help this process become more dynamic, powerful and hopefully effortless.
what is modern tennis?
Modern Tennis is pretty much all the tennis you see on the Pro tour these days. It started with Borg and Vilas, but there were plenty of examples if you go further back… and there’s been a steady move towards more spin, more relaxed footwork and more open stances ever since.
modern tennis methodology
with MTM the focus will be on
Ease of movement around court
Control of your shots
No fear of missing
Giving yourself more time
Constant improvement as the feeling grows
Gradual increasing of power
Connecting to the ball
Deepening concentration and awareness
tennis for health
Staying active is one of the keys to a long and healthy life, and challenging as many parts of ourselves as possible, is actually one of the main challenges.
As the perfect plan to stay fit and healthy, I always recommend Tennis; Yoga or a good stretching program… and some kind of body-weight related strength training, should your schedule allow it.
If you don’t use it, it will slowly stop working, atrophy… and maybe even fall off.
So set aside some regular time for a full body workout that involves a good sweat. Spend this precious time wisely by choosing an activity that will engage and stimulate every part of you.
A recent study on longevity in America concluded, that regular, moderate to intense physical exercise in combination with sustained concentration and mental focus, are keys to a longer and healthier life, especially when it happens outside in the fresh air and sunlight.
Tennis was at the top of their list of recommended activities.
STRENGTH & ANAEROBIC FITNESS
Playing tennis to a reasonable level will require make many short, muscular bursts of movement, having a similar effect to sprinting and interval training; triggering many quick twitch muscles and reflexes in the body, while also demanding the body makes more efficient use of Oxygen.
CARDIO VASCULAR & AEROBIC FITNESS
Tennis will help develop you the stamina of a regular jogger, and all the benefits that go with it. From fat burning to increased energy levels. Competitive tennis actually burns more calories than aerobics or cycling.
IMPROVED CIRCULATION & HEALTHY CELLS
Your blood and lymphatic fluids distribute essential nutrients to your cells, while removing waste and other toxic substances. Your cells may become compromised by the build up of this metabolic waste without good circulation. Playing tennis stmulates circulation thus improving this function of the cell.
BLOOD SUGAR LEVELS
Activities like tennis help regulate blood sugar levels. Excess blood sugar, or spikes in your blood sugar can be linked to a variety of concerns, including high cholesterol, Type II diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease.
HEALTHY BONES & JOINTS
Sunlight and exercise can help increase the density and breaking strength of ligaments and bones, and the thickness of the cartilage in your joints.
Tennis is the ultimate total body workout: from the leg muscles pushing off the ground, to the rotating core and torso, and the muscular control and movements of the arms. All of the primary muscles and many others will be become involved as technique improves.
30 to 60 minutes of sweating every day or whenever you can will help rid the body of unwanted toxins.
This will improve and become more natural and spontaneous, as you constantly have to calculate and re-calculate the distance and time between you and the on-coming ball.
IMPROVED MENTAL DISCIPLINE
Tennis will help develop self discipline and patience while assimilating the automatic nature of each stroke. Only through focused, dedicated repetition and practise will you be able to upload the sensory information that will allow you to feel the ball naturally without mental interference. A quiet peaceful disciplined mind will aid this process.
TENNIS WILL REWIRE YOU
Tennis forces your whole body to work as one synchronised vessel and will re-wire you in the process. The tactical, cerebral, intuitive, spontaneous and dynamic nature of tennis will help to fire new neural pathways while reconnecting the mind and the body. First it fires, then if we persist it wires, and a new pathway is formed…and you CAN teach and old dog new tricks!
A MOVING MEDITATION
Can you give your mind an hour off? Can you switch off to the demands of others, and your own mind? Let the simple pleasure of breathing, moving and watching the ball consume you. Let the silence grow between you and the ball until everything becomes a little more peaceful and Zen. Leave your ego on the bench and get stuck right into the moment.
SPORTSMANSHIP & CHARACTER
To win and lose gracefully. To compete, run, and try our hardest, and to be able to just relax and enjoy the feelings, without worrying, gloating or sulking for too long over the result or our performance.
POSITIVE MENTAL ATTITUDE
Nothing can survive or flourish in the shade of negativity, frustration, tension, doubts or any other form of fear. So a relentlessly positive attitude must be developed for you to improve and fulfill your tennis potential.
the zen of tennis
“If you watch the best tennis players or athletes in the world, it‘s clear they are all striving to find this silent place where everything flows effortlessly, where all inner and outer distractions have no place”
“Playing… and being in the moment remains one of the ultimate feelings in sport and life, and one we can all get better at and practise within the safe confines of the nearest tennis court”
Most of the tennis on Koh Samui is played in the north of the island, since here you will find the island’s two small tennis clubs – both have two floodlit, all-weather hard courts.
There are also some private villas and villa developments dotted around the island that rent out their courts if their guests are not using them, or the villas are unoccupied.
Courts usually rent for 300-500b per hour and are shown on the map below.
SAMUI SPORTS CLUB 1
SAMUI TENNIS CLUB 2
SHIVA BEACH RESORT 3
The weather and seasons on Samui are hard to predict these days but usually the best time of the year is between January and March.
April to July is the hot wet season and it tends to be far too hot for tennis at any time of the day, though it will be raining fairly often.
The chances of rain keep rising until October or November, when Monsoon season arrives and could mean days, weeks or months of grey skies and 24/7 rain. In recent years not so much rain though.
December is usually cloudy and wet but better than November, leading into the dry seaon.
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