Tennis/squash courses for kids
Tennis and squash are both racquet and ball sports, however they differ in type of court, racquet, balls and gameplay. A squash court is made of wood or rubber and has walls which players can use to rebound the ball whereas tennis courts are usually larger, usually made of grass or clay, and not enclosed. A squash racquet is smaller and is a slightly different shape than a tennis racquet in order to give a player more control of their shots versus a tennis racquet which provides a player with more power. Squash balls are made of rubber with a hollow sphere inside but vary in size compared to a tennis ball which a larger, heavier and a more consistent size. The play technique differs in that a squash swing is high to low whereas in tennis the swing is usually low to high. There are several difference in scoring but the biggest is that in squash the first player to score 11 points wins the game unlike tennis where a player must score 4 points to win.
These differences mean squash is a faster paced game than tennis and play focuses on rallies, rarely resulting in the demonstration of power that an ace serve delivers in tennis. Squash is just as physically demanding as tennis because players must be fast and agile enough to change speed and directions quickly whereas tennis players have more ground to cover on the larger court.
Tennis and squash have both been growing in popularity across Asia in recent years. Twenty years ago there was only one player from Japan ranked in the top 100 Association of Tennis Pofessionals (ATP) ranks. Today there are at least 5 male players in the top ATP rankings and 11 female players in the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) rankings from Japan, South Korea and China. Tennis returned as an Olympic sport in 1988, although squash has not yet been accepted by the Olympic Committee. Squash courts are also not as common as tennis courts and are expensive to build, which may explain why the popularity of squash is dwarfed by that of tennis.
Children can start to play tennis or squash from as early as 4 years of age provided they are mature enough to follow instructions and have reasonable co-ordination.
The benefits of tennis or squash for children include
- enhancing cognitive development
- improving social skills
- physical benefits such as strengthening bones, improving hand eye coordination, shortening reaction times and improving fitness
- protecting against future cardiovascular disease, cancer and metabolic diseases
- establishing healthy exercise routines for adulthood
- increasing engagement levels and self-confidence
- better quality sleep which also improves a child’s resiliency and concentration