Healthy Havering: Pick up a racket and have a go at cardio tennis!
- Credit: Archant
After a few years off the court Recorder reporter Liam Coleman donned his sweatbands and backwards cap and went along to Gidea Park Lawn Tennis Club to give cardio tennis a try, and by the looks of things it was good fun!
Have you been watching Wimbledon this summer and rather than picking up some strawberries and cream you thought about picking up a racket?
Or maybe you’ve been inspired after watching Novak, Roger and Rafa battle it out at the US Open?
Well if you have - or even if you haven’t - you should get yourself down to your local club and try some Cardio Tennis - you don’t have to have ever played before - and it is the perfect way to get yourself fit - and have fun.
I mean I’m a long way off being a Grand Slam champion -I haven’t played tennis since I was at school - but I went down to Gidea Park Lawn Tennis club, donned my sweatbands and cap and thought I would pick up a racket again to see if I still had it.
Head coach at Gidea Park is Tom Higgins, a former ATP pro, who played at the same junior Wimbledon as former world number ones Roger Federer and Andy Roddick and Argentinian cult-favourite David Nalbandian.
Tom said that cardio tennis is really popular at Gidea Park, and is a great way to get started if you’re new to the sport.
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“People think that tennis is all about the skill, and that you have to be really skilled to play, but cardio-tennis doesn’t focus on that, it doesn’t matter where you hit the ball and you’re not competing against someone.
“We have lots of people who really enjoy it and it is a great way of getting your whole body going” said the former pro.
The point behind cardio tennis is that it is for anyone who wants to get fit and have a go at tennis. The session moves along quickly so no-one is judging your skills and it doesn’t matter whether the ball is in or out - which was lucky for me, because after a few years out - my backhand was certainly looking rusty.
In the 60 minute session you burn 600+ calories and at Gidea Park considering I had never met anyone there before I was welcomed with open arms.
And funnily enough I wasn’t the only one who was giving Cardio Tennis a go for the first time either.
Jordan Allen - who only joined the club a few weeks ago - said he’d heard about the sessions and wanted to see what all the fuss was about.
And before long the whole group was working up a sweat, and the court was littered with tennis balls that had gone here, there and everywhere.
Made up of four sections (warm up, aerobic section, tennis section and cool down) you get to have a go at everything from volleying to ground shots, and you play in teams so - so there really isn’t anything to be scared of.
I must admit it was really good fun, it got my heart going, and there wasn’t any pressure on you other than your own expectations.
Tom was encouraging everyone, and we regularly told us to check our pulses to show that even though it might just feel like hitting a few tennis balls, you are getting a good workout.
I enjoyed it so much that I stayed around after to take part in another session, and I felt more than welcome to do so - it really was that easy.
I would fully reccommend it to anyone - regardless of whether you have played tennis before (our group was a real mix of ages and abilities) or even if you just watched some on the TV over the summer and thought about giving it a go.
Gidea Park Lawn Tennis Club, based in Gidea Close, hold cardio tennis sessions three times a week - Mondays and Fridays, 10am-11am and Saturdays 9am-10am.
To book a place call Tom on 07885 968 237.
And if you take a copy of the Recorder with you - then you will get your first three sessions for £15 - when for non-members it would usually cost £8 a session.
But if Gidea Park is a bit far for you to travel, then go to www.lta.org.uk/go-hit-it/ to find your nearest court or club if you fancy a hit!