I’ve written about resistance training and running quite a bit on Office Worker Health but I haven’t really gone into too much detail on other sports and activities. That’s all about to change this week as Vanessa Boschetti discusses her passion for tennis. Vanessa has a really busy office job so I loved reading about how big a role tennis now plays in her life outside of work, both from an exercise perspective and socially. It’s clear from this article how passionate Vanessa is about tennis and I’m sure her enthusiasm will have many of you picking up a racket very soon. Over to Vanessa!
I’ve been a big tennis fan since I was a teenager. I spent hours watching others playing matches in my town and on the TV. At that time, Gustavo Kuerten (Guga) was at the height of his professional career, having won the French open in 1997 and later again in 2000 and 2001. I was amazed by the sport and wanted to learn how to play, and why not dream of being a professional player?!?! (15 years later, and I’m still dreaming of it!), Ahh, by the way, my name is Vanessa, I’m 34 years old and I was born in Brazil.
Unfortunately in Brazil, tennis is considered to be an elite sport. My parents couldn't afford paying for tennis lessons or becoming a member of a tennis club. It was only a few years later, after I graduated from university and in a slightly better financial situation that I managed to join a club… and that was the beginning of a long and lasting relationship with tennis!
It wasn’t easy when I started out, pretty soon I realised tennis was harder than it looked on TV! However, I was fulfilling a dream and having so much fun that I have never had with another sport before.
Private classes improved my game. Playing against others and in internal leagues gave me more experience. Within a few months I was consistently playing other intermediate players and improving my overall fitness.
In the first few months of playing, I improved my overall hand eye coordination, agility, immune system and even my nutrition; not to mention my general discipline while having fun and meeting new people.
It was never a sacrifice to play a match after a long day in the office… quite the opposite actually. It was the time I completely disconnected, burned calories and had fun!
I moved to Europe in 2007. It took me a while to settle down, get to know people, the local culture and customs and get used to the weather… ahh the weather. It kept me away from tennis for one whole year! I badly missed it though, I couldn’t wait anymore! So I started my search for a club. I found out that the indoor tennis clubs (yes, I still wanted to skip the cold and damp!) were far away from where I lived. It never occurred to me that people in Ireland would be playing during the winter and in the rain. What a misconception; soon I realised that tennis was such a popular sport and played by thousands of people all year around, and outdoors! That was the spark I needed to get back into it.
Now, 7 years later after my restart, I’m an active member at my club. I play 2-3 times a week, I take part in four Dublin (DLTC) leagues throughout the year and help promote tennis and ‘recruit’ new members for our club. I often get asked the question I used to ask in the past, ‘What do you do in the winter time? or ‘How can you play in such cold weather?’. I now know the answer… if you have a passion for something you can do anything! Even drag your boyfriend to start playing with you ;-)
I have to confess one thing. I did manage to ‘drag’ my boyfriend to tennis. He didn’t even know what a tennis racket was at the time. After a few months, guess what?!?! He improved so fast that I couldn’t beat him at tennis anymore. It’s never too late to start!
Ok, it’s time to talk a little bit about our routine. Every Wednesday evening and Sunday morning we have our calendar blocked. We go together to the tennis club to an event that we call ‘Social Tennis’. This is a time where the club members get together to play and socialise. We randomly rotate and mix players during sets and games. It’s so much fun that the 2 hours fly by.
The club we now play at is close to our work and home. It does make it easy for us to accept invitations from other members and run to the club after work, if we’re available.
We play tennis not only to keep ourselves fit, or to have an activity to release the stress from work, but also to feel mentally stronger… tennis will teach you to play by the rules, how to be a team player and even to be competitive when necessary. Not to mention the social aspect; we’ve made great friends with tennis. Some of them are no longer in the club, but we continue to be close friends and hope to be friends for life. And how amazing is it to have friends outside of the work environment who you don’t talk to about work related matters? Deadly!
Overall, playing tennis is such a good sport to maintain your health, fitness, strength and agility. It has been calculated that an hour-long game of singles tennis burns around 600 calories for men and 420 calories for women. Why don’t you give it a go yourself? Remember, it’s never too late to start! ;)
Thanks so much to Vanessa for sharing her journey in to tennis. Best of luck with your efforts to turn professional Vanessa! As always, please let me know your thoughts and feedback in the comments section. What sport or activity should we cover next on Office Worker Health?!
Until next Wednesday….. eat well and get active!