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COLUMN: Let’s serve up some exercise with tennis (VIDEO)

Clifford Crandall Jr.
Sentinel columnist
Posted 4/29/23

This activity is similar to the growing sport of Pickle Ball but on a larger scale and a bigger court. See the video in the column.

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COLUMN: Let’s serve up some exercise with tennis (VIDEO)


This activity is similar to the growing sport of Pickle Ball but on a larger scale and a bigger court.

I played a great deal of tennis through high school and was on the college tennis team my freshmen year. I realized that I could not get good grades, party, date girls, and be on the tennis team too. So, I gave up the tennis team. My dad was quite impressed that I didn’t give up good grades. It was tough decision I can tell you.

I still play and enjoy the workout it gives me. Tennis is challenging but it will get you up, out, and will stimulate your emotions and mind. If you’re going to give it a try, keep in mind it’s a game to be enjoyed, and you do not have to be good at it to have it help you stay healthy.

(Check out this video and then read more.)

Try to get the ball over the net but low and controlled enough to land in the court on the other side. You will need a tennis racket, good sneakers, and some tennis balls. I have my primary tennis racket which was somewhat expensive, and a couple backups that are for traveling and lending to people that are still quality rackets and were quite reasonable in cost.

I was once a fairly good tennis player but now I am average, and the quality of the racket does not make a noticeable difference. The tennis balls may cost you $3 to $5 for a can of three balls. A good pair of sneakers will make a difference on how your ankles, knees and lower back holdup during the game so make a good choice when purchasing them and they will serve you in many other activities you may get into.

Now, where to start? You may have a friend that plays, but don’t ask them to go out with you to start. You’re going to be hitting the ball all over the place and sometimes over the huge fence that is supposed to keep the ball in the court area. First, find a court that has a backboard. This is a structure of wood about the width of a tennis court and as high as the fence that surrounds the courts. Sometimes it has a slight angle towards you which helps keep the ball that bounces off it low and to the court for you to hit back to the backboard again.

You can get a good workout practicing on a backboard for a half hour to an hour. You will be running around trying to return your own bad hits which will stimulate you to focus and control your stroke. It may also frustrate you but don’t let it, you’re in the learning stage and getting the exercise you need, just not quite the way you mentally imaged it. If you had brought your friend, they would also be running around chasing your poor hits and wondering why they agreed to do this but smiling at you and telling you you’re doing great the whole time.

The scoring in a game goes 5 – 15 – 30 – 40 – game. A great deal of this game is wrapped around serving the ball and getting the ball in the rectangle opposite from the side and back line you’re serving from. There are special lines in the court for doubles which are different from a singles game. Yes, it will challenge your mind. I have mentioned this much to encourage you to check this activity and its rules out before you get on the court. Learning the rules on the court takes time and that is not why you’re there. You’re there to get active, so do your homework at home.

Remember it’s an activity and once you get the hang of hitting the ball into the court you and another person can just hit the ball back and forth to each other, which is called volleying, and not keep score or even bother serving and have fun and a good workout.

The more you play the better you will get, and slowly you can add more of the rules and structure of the game. My wife, Amanda, and I will play a pony set which is 3 games out of 5 or simply volley for fun. That gives us some out in the sun exercise for 45 minutes or an hour and then head out for an ice cream. For more senior activity suggestions go to

Keep in Mind: “Do what you can, with what you have, right where you are.” – Theodore Roosevelt


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