This post is by invited guest writer and physical education teacher, Mr. Blue Jay Bridge.
Tennis is a sport that requires hand-eye coordination, analytical thinking, speed, accuracy, strength, and in the case of doubles play – teamwork. Research continues to demonstrate the benefits of participating in multiple sports to acquire new skills, develop increased confidence, and to gain ability in movement patterns. Whether you’re new to tennis, or have been playing for years, these five sports will enhance your game:
1 – Table Tennis:
Table Tennis is a game of speed, tactical strategy and accuracy. It has been described as “high speed chess” and is typically fast-paced with sudden bursts of movement and quick recovery times. The game can help develop lower, core, and upper body muscles.
2 – Badminton:
Much like table tennis, badminton is a fast paced game. Speed, strategy, accuracy, power, agility, and reaction time are all skills developed and put to the test. As well, due to the movement required while playing, which you can see on full display in this video of the London Olympics bronze medal match.
3 – Speedminton:
Speedminton is a sport that is similar to badminton — you have a racquet (which is more rigid, like a squash racquet) and a speeder (think of a smaller, heavier birdie). However, there is no net and you stand 42 feet away from your opponent(s). Benefits include increased cardiovascular endurance, upper body strength and core development, flexibility, tactical strategy, and teamwork if playing doubles.
4 – Hantis:
Hantis is a super-fun game that combines elements of four-square and table tennis. All that’s needed to play Hantis are four small tables and a tennis ball! Essentially, teams of two try to score a point on an opposing team by bouncing the ball off a table and either causing it to hit the table twice or bounce once and hit the ground. Unlike table tennis, a player can hit the ball twice during a possession before hitting it towards the opposing team’s tables. Contact with the ball happens mainly with the hands, but any part of the body can be used to keep the ball in the air so long as you don’t grab or stop it. The athletic benefits of Hantis include improved eye-hand coordination, reaction time, spatial awareness, communication skills, and tactical strategy! I introduced Hantis to my Physical Education students last year and it was such a hit that it has become a staple unit!
5 – Spikeball:
Spikeball may be your new favourite sport that you’ve never heard of. It’s a mash-up of volleyball and 4 square. It is played 2 on 2 with a spikeball (which is about the size of a softball baseball) and a spikeball net (which is a round net that is on the ground about ankle height about the diameter of a hula hoop). You serve the ball by hitting it with your hand onto the spikeball net and the opposing team has 3 touches before they must send the ball back to the other team by bouncing it off the circular net. The game is played in a completely 360° space. Participants develop their hand-eye coordination, flexibility, agility, reaction time, and communication skills.
Perhaps the best part of each of these games is that they are all social sports! You get to mingle, socialize, and make new friends. And, they are all lifetime and inter-generational sports that develop physical literacy skills in children and keep us adults young in body and spirit!