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Tennis: The Perfect Activity Across Generations

Tennis is the sport for a lifetime, one that families can share across generations.
By Nicholas J. Walz, USTA.com

One of the favorite mottos of the USTA is "tennis is the sport for a lifetime." In the never-ending endeavor to promote and develop the game in the United States, it’s a crucial, visible example of what makes tennis unique above all sports: Whether you're 10 years old or 100, there is programming provided by the USTA for all age groups and ability levels.

Tennis - and specifically, 10 and Under Tennis featuring the QuickStart play format - is the sport where parents, and even grandparents, can play an on-court role in the development of their children. Often, it’s a child's interest in the game that spurs a parent or grandparent back into the game they gave up years ago - or, better still, it's a chance to try the game for the very first time.

"10 and Under Tennis is a great way for parents and grandparents to revive their own interest in tennis," said Anne Davis, USTA National Manager of Recreational Coaches. "Playing in the driveway or going out to the courts with your child or grandchild is a great way to have some fun, healthy, active family time. Participating in a QuickStart training or looking at some of the resources on 10andundertennis.com gives parents and grandparents the tools to start the kids also."

10 and Under Tennis adapts tennis to more appropriate proportions for children just starting out - the youngest kids now learn the sport on a 36-foot court with shorter nets, foam balls and smaller racquets. Rebranding tennis in this manner allows for kids to rally, play and have much more fun than attempting to learn the game on a conventional 78-foot court with traditional lessons - no more drills, no more chasing balls.

A new wrinkle introduced recently to American courts is blended lines - adding muted lines to full-sized courts allow any court to adapt to the 36-foot, 60-foot, or conventional 78-foot game. With blended lines, one court can essentially become four 10 and Under courts if need be, saving time and space. In the past, parents and grandparents often had to drop their kids off at other courts and even other clubs to find youth tennis programming - now with blended lines, a day of tennis can be a centralized, family affair.

"The age appropriate equipment levels the playing field - and whether they are just starting themselves or a bit more experienced, everyone can play together," said Davis.

As parents and grandparents age, there's always the fear that the body cannot withstand the grind of the game. Arthritis, in particular, can be a debilitating condition in older adults. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one in five adults (or 50 million people) in the U.S. has arthritis - the leading cause of disability in America.

Yet did you know that by staying active with tennis, you can achieve victory over arthritis? In 2011, the USTA is teaming with the legendary 12-time Grand Slam title winner Billie Jean King, the Ad Council and the Arthritis Foundation in a public service campaign designed to fight arthritis pain.

From recreational leagues to tournaments offering the opportunity to qualify for a national ranking, USTA Membership provides play opportunities for players of all ages and abilities - and now, we offer special family rates to get children, parents and grandparents involved today!


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