Consider tennis for a workout

Jun. 12, 2013 @ 10:33 AM

The N.C. Central University women’s tennis team won 14 matches with eight losses this past season. Coach David Nass was selected as the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Coach of the Year.
Coach Nass has been coaching tennis at NCCU since 1997 and along with producing consistent winners on the court, his teams always do well academically. In fact, the NCCU women’s tennis team has finished with the highest cumulative grade-point average of any athletic team on campus.
Because of the demanding schedules required since NCCU moved to the NCAA Division 1 level, Coach Nass now recruits outstanding tennis players from all over the world, as evidenced by this year’s roster.  Julia Aguilar is from Henderson and Brianna Gatson is from Louisburg , but the rest of the players are from outside the United States.
Aissa Muamba is from Canada, Ekaterina Nekrasova is from Russia, Olesya Palko is from Ukraine, Mia Ramic is from Croatia, and Rebecca Wood is from England.
Tennis is not only a fun sport to play, but it can also offer many positive health benefits. In one recent study, people who played tennis for three hours per week at a moderate intensity level cut their risk of death in half. Tennis burns a lot of calories; for the average person one can expect to use from 450 to 600 calories per hour. Cardio is improved, along with coordination, agility, and reaction time, just to name a few benefits.  Playing tennis has been shown to reduce stress levels and promote a sense of higher self-esteem.
Many people say that they are not very good at tennis, and use that as a reason not to play. But the main reason to play is to go out and have a good time and improve your health.
Don’t worry if you are not the next Serena Williams or Rafael Nadal. Did you happen to see any of the recent French Open match between Nadal and Novak Djokovic? Nadal won in four hours and thirty seven minutes in a match that will long be remembered.  Just imagine the fitness that both men needed to endure such a long, intense afternoon. Tennis players are some of the best conditioned athletes in the world.
So if you are looking to add a type of exercise or sport activity to what you do, consider taking up the game of tennis. “June is bustin out all over” as the well-known song lyrics go, so perhaps the month of June is the time for you to start playing tennis. Maybe these three quotes from famous tennis players will motivate you.

“It’s one-on-one out there, man. There ain’t no hiding. I can’t pass the ball.”  

-- Pete Sampras on playing singles tennis

“My game is a lot about footwork. If I move well, I play well.”   

-- Roger Federer

“Tennis is a perfect combination of violent action taking place in an atmosphere of total tranquility.”

-- Billie Jean King


Lewis Bowling teaches at N.C. Central University and Duke University. He is the author of several books on fitness and sports. His website is He can be reached at 919-530-6224 and at