Getting Things In Shape!
A longtime tennis director says Cardio Tennis will revolutionize the sport, and your business.
By Greg Moran
I’m a fitness fanatic. I work out several times a week, keep an eye on what I eat (most of the time), and am forever looking for new ways to get that workout high. Over the years I’ve tried everything: running, stair-climbing, elliptical, yoga, Pilates, weights — you name it. If there’s a way to break a sweat, I own a book about it, have bought the equipment for it, and have given it a shot.
Of all the forms of exercise I’ve tried, though, nothing — and I mean nothing — has satisfied the workout-aholic inside of me as much as running and hitting tennis balls. That’s why I’m such a proponent of Cardio Tennis, which I predict will revolutionize both the tennis and fitness industries.
Cardio Tennis is the brainchild of Jim Baugh. The president of the Tennis Industry Association, Baugh has dedicated his career to encouraging people of all ages to play tennis and adopt a more active lifestyle. And that’s becoming more and more important every day. Look at some of the statistics I came across recently:
- The percentage of Americans that are either overweight or obese has grown from 47 to 65 percent in the last 20 years.
- The number of extremely obese American adults — those who are at least 100 pounds overweight — has quadrupled since the 1980s to about 4 million. That’s about one in every 50 adults.
- In December 2001, U.S. Surgeon General David Satcher blamed obesity for causing some 300,000 deaths annually in the U.S., warning that obesity may soon overtake tobacco as the leading cause of preventable deaths.
- 60 percent of American adults don’t get the recommended amount of physical activity, and over 25 percent of adults are not active at all. When polled, the No. 1 reason people gave for not exercising is that they “don’t have enough time.”
Today, thankfully, fitness is beginning to creep into more peoples’ lives, but they’re only willing to set aside so much time for exercise. They want to get in, work out, and get on to their next activity, so they tend to use the easily available cardio equipment at their gym, take aerobics classes or lift weights. They generally don’t think about tennis as a great fitness opportunity. But Cardio Tennis can change that.
Cardio Tennis classes are conducted on a tennis court by certified tennis professionals. Each class includes a short, dynamic warm-up, a cardio workout that includes a combination of drill- and play-based exercises (where the pro feeds balls to players based on their ability and fitness level), and a cool-down phase. Simply put, Cardio Tennis is tennis’s entry into the fitness industry. And it easily can — and should — be an important program that you need to offer to your players.
I attended a Cardio Tennis workshop at the USTA National Tennis Center hosted by Baugh and Michele Krause, the program’s national manager, and couldn’t have come away more impressed. After a brief classroom session, we strapped on heart-rate monitors (recommended so participants can monitor their heart rates during exercise) and took to the courts. By the end of the hour, I’d hit hundreds of tennis balls, gotten a tremendous workout and, above all, had one hell of a good time. I walked off the court convinced that Cardio Tennis is here to stay.
Not only does Cardio Tennis provide a complete workout in a short period of time, but also it offers players an enjoyable social experience. And your tennis can’t help but improve. Participants hit all the shots and make all of the movements they would during singles or doubles, but the focus is on getting a great workout, not beating an opponent. And the program allows players of all levels to work out together.
Both Baugh and Krause feel that the program can be a boon for the tennis industry. Existing players who may do supplemental training at their gyms can now get a full-body workout by taking Cardio Tennis. Non-players who work out will see the program as a viable fitness option and give tennis a try.
The hope is that Cardio will bring people who have quit tennis back to the sport. Studies have shown that players who have tried and stopped playing tennis did so for two main reasons: They couldn’t find the time to devote to the game and they had difficulty finding a playing partner. Both issues are answered with Cardio Tennis.
Cardio Tennis was launched to consumers at the 2005 US Open, with fitness guru Denise Austin leading the charge. If your facility is not a Cardio Tennis site, you need to visit partners.CardioTennis.com to become one. It’s the future of your business, and it’s the future of our sport.
See all articles by Greg Moran
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