Racquet sports


Racquet sports are exactly what they say they are: any sport that involves a racquet! You don't have to be a Wimbledon champion to enjoy a bit of biffing about; some spas offer coaching.

You usually play racquet sports in pairs (singles) or in two teams of two (doubles). Some spas offer coaching from beginner to professional level

What are racquet sports good for?

What to expect from a racquet sports lesson

Different types of racquet sport

Hot tip!

What are racquet sports good for?

All racquet sports are effective at improving your cardiovascular fitness and aerobic endurance. a They are safe, non-impact sports with little risk of injury. No matter what your ability, leaping about on a court is great for:

  • getting fit
  • losing weight
  • improving your bone density
  • learning new skills
  • improving your hand-eye co-ordination
  • socialising (racquet clubs, meetings and tournaments are hugely sociable places).

Badminton and tennis in particular can be easy for people of any age to take up, and to stick to later in life.

A good round on a court can also be a great stress-buster.

Tennis

What to expect from a racquet sports lesson

Whether you are a beginner or an expert, everyone can benefit from some coaching when it comes to racquet sports. You can learn the basics, improve your swing or perfect your backhand. As lessons are usually one-on-one, your coaching can be tailored to your specific goals.

Check with your coach what clothing you'll be expected to wear, as some clubs and spas will have stricter dress codes than others. Generally speaking, you'll need:

  • tennis shoes/trainers (no black soles if playing indoors)
  • shorts or a tennis skirt
  • a sports bra
  • a T-shirt or vest (nothing too loose).

Whatever sport you choose, your lesson will follow a similar format:

  • warm-up/stretches
  • technique-oriented activities
  • skills work
  • putting what you've learned into practice playing a few sets/rounds
  • cool-down.

Your instructor will probably give you some "homework" to practise in between lessons. Remember that practice makes perfect!

Badminton

Different types of racquet sport

Choose from a whole host!

Badminton:

Badminton is played inside using long racquets and a shuttlecock (a rubber "ball" with artificial feathers attached to it). Badminton is a slower-paced racquet sport, with the same aims as tennis. The "feathers" mean the shuttlecock moves more slowly, and this makes badminton an excellent choice for people of all ages and abilities.

Squash:

Squash is played inside in a room consisting of three solid walls and a wall of glass (situated behind you). You hit a small rubber ball against the wall (preferably with considerable force). The aim is to ensure your opponent cannot return the shot. Squash is fast and furious -- expect to get sweaty!

Brandshatch Place in Kent has a squash court you can try, as does the Vale Resort in Wales.

Tennis:

The most traditional of all racquet sports, you can usually expect to play tennis outside or inside on a dedicated court. The aim of the game is to score more points than your opponent by hitting the ball in a way that means your opponent cannot return the shot, but your ball must land within a marked parameter. Tennis can be high-speed or more leisurely, depending on your ability -- and level of competitiveness.

Grayshott Spa in Surrey has both indoor and outdoor tennis courts, as does Bishopstrow House in Wiltshire. You can also enjoy tennis at Bedruthan Steps in Cornwall, Chewton Glen in Hampshire, Stobo Castle in Scotland and Stoke Park in Buckinghamshire. Stoke Park also hosts the annual tennis tournament The Boodles, which is held the week before Wimbledon.

Hot tip!

Remember that playing a sport is not just about the competition. You can enjoy the process of getting fit, learning something new or getting better at the racquet arts, just for their own sake.

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