Restrictions on outdoor tennis have been lifted from today, book a court in your local park and get started …
Tennis is back! From today, at last we can get back on court (singles only for now; doubles is only allowed if playing partners are from the same household).
Sometimes it’s thought of as an elitist sport. It’s not. There aren’t many sports you can take up at seven and continue until you’re 97. Fitness-wise, tennis is brilliant cardio exercise, and good for shaping your arms and strengthening your glutes into the bargain. For sociability it’s hard to beat – one keen player in her 70s notes that many older players rely on it for social interaction, especially if they live on their own. Indeed one of the best players I know is in her 80s, and going strong.
The benefits are beyond the physical though: actor Ardal O’Hanlon is one of those who’s been counting down the days to play again, saying in an Irish Times interview, “Tennis changed my life,” noting how “it makes you think forwards instead of backwards.” So true: you focus on each point at a time, and it demands a lot of perseverance and concentration and focus to do that – in this way it’s an ultimate mindful activity.
Tennis is one of the few sports that don’t demand a huge amount of kit. Although there are always going to be players who have all of the kit and none of the skills. Indeed, kit can be a way of intimidating the opposition: a gigantic Prince bag, a clutch of designer rackets and high-tech shades can be a power play at first sight. But the finest designer lycra won’t win you a single point in this game. Beyond a good sports bra (try TKMaxx once they re-open) and trainers (and good ones are key – head to Amphibian King in Bray to be fitted for these), you really don’t need to invest much; it’s a fairly low-maintenance operation.
Be careful of your knees as you get back and make sure you warm up extra-well before stepping back on court – all too often people rush back in enthusiasm, and spend the rest of the summer in physio.
Don’t forget your sunscreen: Garnier (now Leaping Bunny certified cruelty-free) have a new spray-on one, Ambre Solaire Over Make-up Super UV Protection Mist SPF50, which is great for top-ups and handy for sport (€9 at www.Boots.ie).
Book a court in the local park and get started. Find your local club via www.tennisireland.ie. Get your kids started with Parks Tennis, in local parks around Dublin from June (www.parkstennis.com).
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