Almost every sport activity requires well-stretched muscles and limbs, balance and a clear mind. As an activity that is relatively young in the Western world, yoga is widely regarded as a sports activity; and, while this isn’t entirely untrue, it is a fact that this activity presents a perfect complement to whatever sport you specialize in. It is for this reason that we’ve decided to dig a bit deeper into the world that yoga and tennis share, for your convenience.
When it comes to team sports, the collective mindset tends to take over us, as individuals, and integrate us into the linked hive mind of a gang of a set number of players, which then becomes a living and breathing body of its own. When it comes to tennis, however, you are usually all by yourself and the fact that there is no time limit to the game makes it that more mentally exhausting.
Yoga, as an activity that places your inner self into a state of a conscious, willing and relaxing stand-by teaches you how to separate the commotion around you, removes all the clutter and allows you to set your mind towards one thing – yoga itself. There is only you, your consciousness and focus on one thing. If you are thinking about what to eat after a yoga session, well, then you aren’t really doing yoga, are you?
Back to the world of tennis – how can yoga benefit you as a player? Well, it can teach you how to isolate yourself from everything else that is not your sport of choice, allowing you to play, breathe and become tennis.
Sense of Balance and the General ‘Feel’
Just as it’s the case with any other sport – you really need balance and stability, in order to properly perform. Knowing how to calculate not only exactly where the ball will hit, but also where it will bounce off to, given the angle, velocity and spin, is pretty much the name of the game, when it comes to tennis. In fact, it could be said that it’s not so much a thing of calculation, but rather of developing a ‘feel’ for this. And this is where yoga comes in – if it is about something, it is all about the ‘feel’.
Furthermore, in more physical terms, yoga exercises are primarily balance-based, it teaches your muscles how to best support your body, something you can’t really learn in the gym. This is exactly why the tennis coach-yoga instructor as a personal trainer combo works so great – you have to actually play tennis in order to learn it, but supplementing training sessions with yoga can bring about a world of improvement.
On a rather blunt note, it is a common misconception that yoga doesn’t do a whole lot when it comes to your body’s musculature. On the contrary, while strength and technique trainings give you just that, the tiny, often neglected muscles, as well as certain main muscle parts, benefit significantly from performing yoga. Rather than targeting desired groups, you are developing a more complete and harmonious musculature, which will allow you not only to improve your balance, but render your body completely aware of its surroundings by default
Although they’re trying to squeeze yoga into everything these days, you should make yourself aware of all the benefits it can provide. Under no circumstances is yoga a replacement for your daily training sessions, as a tennis player, but the world of good it can do for your sports skills is valuable, at the very least.