Tennis Industry magazine


Our Serve: A Focus on the Benefits

Is our industry finally taking a closer look at the health and fitness reasons for playing this sport?

By Peter Francesconi

Recently, I’ve been getting more excited about how our industry finally seems to be addressing the health, fitness and wellness opportunities that tennis offers.

I’ve always been an advocate for using simple, clear health and fitness messages to sell this sport and get more people playing. The health aspects of tennis are benefits all Americans can relate to. Yet our efforts to promote this sport haven’t tended to focus on these basic factors, such as how tennis can help prevent many of the ailments that afflict our sedentary population.

Even with current initiatives to grow tennis, we still do not have a unified, clear strategy on health and fitness that shows mainstream consumers, in ways they can easily understand, why they should be playing this sport.

But now — and at the risk of speaking too soon — it seems this industry may finally be taking a hard look at the benefits tennis has to offer when it comes to getting and keeping Americans healthy.

This hit me during the recent Tennis Owners & Managers Conference. Many presenters and attendees talked about the importance of health and fitness when it comes to selling this sport and getting people onto their courts to not only play tennis, but to play more tennis.

Tied into all this is that our industry now has a national Tennis Health & Wellness Task Force, headed by Dr. Jack Gropp el and involving top doctors and sports medicine experts. The task force is designed to help reach and engage Americans with messaging on the wellness benefits of tennis.

As Dr. Groppel said at the TOM Conference, “Tennis suffers from its inability as an industry to voice its incredible health benefits and link to other health and wellness activities. Tennis needs to sell itself as one of the top sports for lifelong health and fitness.”

Another speaker at the TOM was club health & fitness consultant Casey Conrad, whose presentations are always dynamic and informative. One of her key messages to tennis club owners and managers was to better utilize the health, fitness and wellness aspects of tennis. With nearly 150 million Americans who are overweight, and millions with related conditions, Conrad says the possibilities for a healthconscious sport like tennis are endless.

Our current initiatives to grow this sport are incredibly important, but we need to hammer home to consumers some of these simple, basic and very real messages about why they should be playing tennis. Let’s not get so caught up in the “process” that we forget the true benefits of our sport.

Peter Francesconi
Editorial Director

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About the Author

Peter Francesconi is editorial director of Tennis Industry magazine.



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