Cardio Tennis – Day 59
I have high hopes for cardio tennis. Without even knowing what is specifically involved, it’s in the running as a regular fitness class P.C. (post challenge). Mixing a sport I enjoy with the benefits of a cardio workout seems to make it a leading contender. Usually, when I play tennis B.C. (before challenge), I occasionally made up a foursome with my neighbour and a couple of other local players, all in their 60s. Although very competitive, I don’t find doubles too physically taxing, as you can have a natter between points and you only have to patrol half a court. I assumed with cardio tennis, it would be the same kind of thing, a bit more running but with less of the nattering.
I dusted down my tennis racquet, which had been left abandoned and neglected in the garage and joined Steve at my local leisure centre. Whilst waiting for the class to begin, I spoke to a lady who went regularly. My illusions started to shatter as she described the amount of running which was involved and advised me not to worry about where my ball lands, as it was just about getting to it before the second bounce. I felt slightly dejected at the thought that nobody would appreciate my one and only shot in tennis: my semi-powerful, two-handed backhand.
Steve trotted over with a kind of shopping trolley full of colourful tennis balls and explained to us that due to lower numbers because of Christmas, we would have to work extra hard. He had a menacing glint in his eye.
We lined up for the warm-up, as Steve threw a ball to our forehand for us to run, hit, then back through the ladder and join the queue. We did this on the forehand and backhand side a number of times. So much for warming up, I was boiling already. The next drill involved starting from one side of the court and then running to reach the ball on the other side, then running and joining the back of the queue. It was continuous. We couldn’t even have a slight chinwag.
Thankfully, Steve ran out of balls and we were ordered to retrieve them from the other side. Finally, a break and a chance for a breath. There were a few eager beavers quickly picking up the balls but I could see a strategic ploy by others to take a bit longer to pile the balls on their racquet. I followed suit.
Meanwhile, Steve was busy placing some step blocks either side of the court for pairs to use, whilst the others continuously repeated the drill and then swapped. Another few variations of this drill and then off to retrieve the balls. This time, I put myself in charge of the ones under the bench; I used the opportunity to sit for 10 seconds, whilst feeling for balls out of my reach.
Steve announced that the next drill would be hitting balls on both sides of the court; firstly a forehand, then immediately a backhand and run around the whole court and do it again, until the balls in the trolley were gone. I abandoned my lovely two-handed backhand, as I was finding it impossible to stretch to get to the ball.
We were forty minutes in and finally, I was over the shock of all the running and I was starting to hit the ball better and running didn’t feel quite as exhausting. Was I enjoying myself? Steve carried on feeding from his never-ending supply of balls, until finally they were gone. We ended on some "winner stays on" doubles, where finally I could show off my one tennis shot. Unfortunately, the memory of this will be clouded by my horrific forehand, which never developed in the same way as its sibling.
The class finished and I was completely spent. One of the girls said we would have run up to 4 miles in the class - no wonder I was so exhausted. Although I had my doubts early in the session, I do think it remains on the shortlist P.C. When I got home, I popped the racquet back in the corner, knowing that I won’t be leaving it so long next time.
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