At school I hated tennis. Thought it was a load of balls. I spent most lessons trying to whack the ball into neighbouring gardens so I’d be sent out to collect it.
So when I got invited to try out Tennis Tuesdays for their launch this week, I wasn’t exactly enthusiastic. The editor made me go.
The focus is less on smashing the s**t out of your opponent, more whacking balls around and learning new skills
Soley for women (soz lads), they’re one-hour group sessions where the court, balls, racquets and coach are provided. All you need to do is turn up.
Billed as ‘social tennis, serious fun’, Tennis Tuesdays sessions can have up to 12 women in them – so you don’t have to worry about finding someone to play with. The focus is less on smashing the s**t out of your opponent, more whacking balls around and learning some new skills.
It’s a great full-body workout – you use your core, arms and shoulders when hitting the ball; and running around the court, stopping and starting, is good lower body and cardio training.
Here are seven things I learned at Tennis Tuesdays
1. Smacking balls around is really, really good fun. I turned up tired, grumpy and convinced I hated tennis. I left feeling awesome after a great workout, meeting some great girls, and hitting loads of things (balls and bystanders mainly).
2. I am crap at tennis but it totes doesn’t matter. After a short warm up of throwing and catching (again, not one of my best skills), we were paired up with someone of a similar level for a knock about (probably not a tennis term).
We practiced rallies – basically hitting the ball to each other for as long as we could. When me and my partner got a new high of seven – Serena must be quaking in her tennis shoes – it felt like we’d won Wimbledon. There were whoops and high fives and everything.
3. Tennis is not just for posh people. For some reason I had it in my head that tennis costs loads of money. While it probably does at swanky racquet clubs, many parks have courts that you can book for very little cash. Tennis Tuesdays, for example, cost around six quid a session.
I was slamming those babies far and high. I get why tennis players grunt now. I wanted to grunt
4. I am quite good at serving. One of the things we practiced was serving to each other horizontally across the court. While I thought I’d be rubbish and send balls dribbling pathetically into the net, I was slamming those babies far and high. I get why tennis players grunt now. I wanted to grunt.
5. I don’t understand the rules. Not a problem. As part of the session we had some mini doubles exercises where we seemed to have to swap places with each other all the time.
I had no idea what was going on, but the coach tells you when to move and where so it’s all fine. Each Tennis Tuesday session will focus on a different skill or area of the game, so you’ll learn the rules as you go along. As it was, I quite appreciated just hitting things and not having to think.
6. You don’t have to wear a skirt. You just turn up in normal workout gear and trainers. As this was the launch session, we were given Nike kit to wear. Word of warning, the top with the giant side splits they gave me… yeah, probably don’t wear one of those if you’re doing lots of reaching and slamming shots.
7. I actually like tennis. Darn it, my teenage self was wrong, tennis is actually stack loads of fun. I might well go to one of these sessions again.