There are things that just don’t make sense. At least until you try to understand what may be the motivation of the people behind it.
Invention Of A New Sport
Ever heard of “cardio tennis”? Me neither, until I read a Reuters article on it. And it turns out it’s tennis done in groups and designed as a cardio activity. Or like playing tennis without playing tennis, as a representative for cardio tennis told Reuters it doesn’t quite involve you being shown “how to hit the correct forehand or backhand”.
Or maybe it’s the opposite, as the “official website” for cardio tennis cheerfully declares you “naturally improve your game because you hit so many balls and repeat various shots”.
Well, yep, I suppose if 1,000 balls are thrown at me in an hour, I’ll eventually manage to hit one. But will it make me a good tennis player? As “fitness expert” – there is always an expert – Denise Austin told Reuters in the same article:
“If you’re not a really good tennis player it’s hard to get in a good workout (in a traditional game of tennis) because you’re always missing the ball”
Indeed, Mrs. Austin. And I won’t get better at tennis by doing movements called “torso twist” and “merry-go-round”. Or the other way around: The better I get at tennis, the more I have practiced and the more I have practiced, the better I will be in shape. While having learned to play tennis, that is. The difficulty will naturally increase with my level of ability.
So please, either let me get good at tennis or let me do a cardio activity that makes sense to begin with and that doesn’t require me to spend close to $500 on tennis equipment and a club membership.
Who Is Behind It?
So who would come up with this? People who thought long and hard about how a good fitness activity should be designed? Or were there other interests?
It turns out that behind cardio tennis is the Tennis Industry Association, which has a vested interested in selling tennis-related products. We can almost imagine how a group of their executives sat around a table, thinking about ways into the lucrative large part of the fitness market that normally won’t touch a racquet. Accordingly, the cardio tennis website doesn’t fail to inform us that cardio tennis is “more fun than working out in the gym or other forms of exercise”.
Is that so? The part of the German cardio tennis website aimed at professionals perhaps shows us the other motivation that may have lead to the invention of this “fun” activity. Under the headline “what’s in it for me as a coach” we find (my translation):
During cardio tennis you have 6-8 students on the court. That means more income per hour for you.
Right beside their logo the Tennis Industry Associations’s website says: “Promoting the growth and economic vitality of tennis”.
Picture courtesy of Charlie Cowins.