In a time when corporate wellness programs are more expected and valued by today’s workforce than ever, there’s a time-honored sport that’s worth revisiting: tennis.
Tennis is a lifelong sport for all ages and abilities
Tennis is a cross-generational sport that can be played at any age, from 3 to 100, and can easily appeal to a multi-generation workforce. You don’t have to be a natural athlete or uber fit to have a positive experience on the court – tennis meets you where you are.
The best way to start playing tennis, or get back into the game, depends on where you work or live. There may be nearby racquet clubs that you didn’t know existed, including low-cost public clubs like Vancouver Tennis Center. If you’re integrating tennis into your workday or employee wellness program, be sure your courts are located nearby. This will make it easier to play tennis before or after work, or during lunch. Surround yourself with other players at a similar level and grow with that group. To excel, play at least two or three times a week. It only takes another person to get you out on the court.
If you like competing, join a league – there’s a league for every age and ability. If you want to involve your company in a tennis league, the options are abundant. Leagues are also great for retirees and available for players well into their 90s.
Tennis helps build a team-based corporate culture
Company-sponsored tennis lessons or retreats can build camaraderie and enhance teamwork. Employees work as a team, socialize with opponents and learn aspects of fellow employees they wouldn’t otherwise know. Tennis provides an excellent source of conflict resolution – work out any frustrations and leave them on the court.
While everyone within a company will enter the court with a different tennis skillset, there will be co-workers at similar skill levels, allowing for built-in tennis partners. Regardless of tennis skills, or organizational roles, all people within a company can benefit from a little “healthy competition.” Think of the advantages of having a millennial play tennis with a boomer, for example. Sharing an experience like a tennis match can build mutual respect.
BBSI of Vancouver recently sponsored a two-hour company tennis lesson at Vancouver Tennis Center, for example. One seven-person group with varied skills and abilities took to the court and used the lesson as a team-building exercise. They all enjoyed the outing and are considering returning for another work event, or even for individual lessons.
Doing things together outside of work tends to build morale at work. Once you get into the game and perhaps even get into one of the many leagues available, you benefit by integrating an active and social component into workplace culture and wellness.
Your employees can also benefit from an internal “corporate challenge” match, like finance v. marketing. Or challenge a company similar to yours. Baristas against baristas, anyone?
Tennis players are among the healthiest people
Tennis affords a full-body workout. It provides weight bearing and cardio training, and improves agility, flexibility, balance and reflexes. Some people play for hours at a time and get the benefit of endurance training (although that’s not necessary to enjoying the game).
Along with a complete workout, tennis provides immense social benefits that are considered key to a long and healthy life. This includes social interactions with other players who form a tennis community. Tennis keeps you accountable through lessons with a pro, classes, or a regular group. Other players become friends. Relationships with pros are formed through trust and mutual respect.
One of the best aspects of tennis is that it has been shown to extend lives. While data varies, a September 2018 Mayo Clinic study concluded that tennis extends lives by an average of 9.7 years. The study evaluated active lifestyles in people over a 25-year timespan.
Tennis is affordable
Contrary to perception, tennis is low-cost compared to other sports. All you need are a racquet, tennis balls and some good tennis shoes. Parks and recreation departments provide free outdoor courts during the summer months and even some indoor courts. For less than $10 per month, Vancouver Tennis Center offers optional low-cost membership and pay-as-you play court time, which is helpful for unpredictable work schedules.
So, what are you waiting for? If you’re interested in tennis, take a class and surround yourself with other players at a similar level, and grow with that group. You might even rally and join a league team. Tennis is a lifelong sport for people of all ages and abilities that can easily be integrated into the work culture or work-life balance. It keeps people healthier and helps them live longer and is a social way to give yourself and your employees wellness.
Patrick Dreves is general manager of facility and operations at Vancouver Tennis Center, a public facility with indoor and outdoor courts located at 5300 E. 18th St., in Vancouver. For more information go to pnwtenniscenters.com/vancouver or email firstname.lastname@example.org.