Tennis the Team Sport
Tennis is predominantly an individual sport but at a junior and club level it can be a great platform for teamwork with doubles partners, groups, squads and pennant teams, providing great opportunities to work together with peers.
Although not traditionally seen as a team sport, tennis as a team sport can provide superior opportunities to other team sports.
Below are some arguments to support that.
- A doubles partnership requires large amounts of communication, patience and strategy. As a doubles pair, players will set strategies that will involve one player setting up the point for the other player to finish.
- A pennant/competition team usually consists of 4 players of which every player is responsible for 25% of the match outcome. Unlike other team sports with larger groups, this means that every player in a tennis team has a large role to play.
- Training partners through squads or other sessions can provide a true peer to peer growth opportunities. Training together with the intention to improve your own game and each other’s game, can be a great way to teach kids about helping each other.
Teamwork is a skill that is important in the workplace and in interpersonal relationships. Most collaborations in the workplace and most close relationships will be in smaller groups and more similar to a tennis team format than that of a larger team format that has 10 players upwards.
In this article on teamwork in the workplace, they mention cooperation, relationships, learning and leadership as the pillars of teamwork. Through doubles partnerships and small teams, tennis provides great opportunities to develop these areas.
So rather than looking at tennis as an individual sport, perhaps we should look at it as a platform for real world collaboration and interpersonal relationships. Working with a group of 4 forces everyone to contribute rather than just a dominant small % of players which happens with larger team sports. If done well, this small group collaboration fosters encouragement and personal growth of young team players.
TEAM – Together Everyone Achieves More
Art of Tennis