If you witness some unseemly behavior on the tennis courts, such as racket throwing, yelling -- at both the opponent and at herself -- and even crying, you might wonder whether tennis benefits you emotionally or turns you into a basket case. Rest assured that the emotional benefits of tennis far outweigh the temper tantrums of some tennis divas. Tennis is one of the best sports there is regarding benefiting you emotionally, says John F. Murray, a Florida clinical and sport psychologist.
Release of Endorphins
Murray says that people who play tennis have lower levels of depression. That is partly because endorphins, feel-good hormones, are released when you engage in rigorous rallies. Though runners often act as if they own the market on endorphins by having a term for the feeling -- runner's high -- a rousing tennis game produces the same effect, according to MayoClinic.com. When you get into a fast-paced tennis game, you don't focus on your worries anymore; you focus on the game instead.
Satisfaction from Reaching Goals
Tennis players tend to want to improve their games, whether it's hitting better strokes or using strategy that is more advanced. It doesn't matter whether you want to develop a backhand slice, a topspin lob or understand where to place the ball after your poach, you are working toward reaching a goal. Doing so benefits you psychologically by helping you develop a work ethic, by teaching you to develop discipline and by getting you to solve problems, according to the United States Tennis Association.
Tennis players always shake hands after a match. And sportsmanship is a big deal in the sport. Some tennis leagues, such as the Atlanta Lawn Tennis Association, give sportsmanship awards to teams that go out of their way to help another team. One example of a team that won the ALTA award happened when a fire destroyed the home of a visiting team member. Instead of the home team taking the point through a default, the home team rescheduled and brought the fire victim and her family dinner, which brings up another social aspect of tennis. Many women who play recreational tennis join tennis teams or leagues where they meet new people and make lasting friendships.
Face it, there are times when you just are angry with someone. An unhealthy way to deal with your anger might be to start a fight or yell. Or you can take out your aggression on the little greenish ball. Grab your tennis partner, or head to a facility with a ball machine or a backboard, and hit the heck out of that ball. You don't need to tell anyone that you are pretending it's someone's face. After you break a sweat and are winded, you probably won't be as angry anymore, especially if those endorphins kicked in.
Laura Agadoni has been writing professionally since 1983. Her feature stories on area businesses, human interest and health and fitness appear in her local newspaper. She has also written and edited for a grassroots outreach effort and has been published in "Clean Eating" magazine and in "Dimensions" magazine, a CUNA Mutual publication. Agadoni has a Bachelor of Arts in communications from California State University-Fullerton.