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Meet your match: 5 ways to play the game of tennis

1. Singles

With only one player on each side of the net, singles tennis delivers a great workout. There's plenty of court to cover, which will test your speed, balance, endurance and capacity to recover between points.

You'll be on the move a lot, helping to burn a pile of kilojoules, and easing any stress or anger by belting the ball as hard as you can.

The key is to find someone of a similar ability to play with so you will have to work hard throughout. You could also consider joining a local competition where you will be frequently challenged by better players.

2. Doubles

Doubles turns tennis into a team sport, adding a social and interactive element to the game.

While still providing a solid whole body workout, doubles lightens the workload physically because you only need to focus on half the court. However, this may be ideal if you are new to the game, recovering from injury, building up your fitness, or just want to focus on the fun and social aspects.

It also explains why tennis is sometimes referred to as the ‘sport of a lifetime’, as it’s  suitable for all ages and skill levels.

3. Cut-throat

Also called Canadian doubles, this format designed for three players who rotate positions after each service game. Players alternate between singles and doubles, scoring one point by winning a game at the doubles end, and two points for a singles victory. The first player to score 9 or 11 points is declared the winner.

Cut-throat tennis offers the health benefits of both doubles and singles in the same match. It's like a form of interval training, because you alternate between harder and easier games.

It's ideal for players of intermediate skill and fitness, or if you simply can't find a fourth player for doubles.

4. Cardio tennis

As the name suggests, cardio tennis focuses on the fitness component of the sport, helping to burn off more kilojoules than a typical game.

It's more like an exercise class than a coaching session, with an instructor and larger group working through drills and activities to keep you moving for most of the session.

Cardio tennis is a good form of cross training for other sports, focusing on boosting your speed and fitness speed through a series of side to side and up and back sprints.

It's also a good way to further develop your tennis game, practising shots and moving into position under fatigue. Inquire at your local tennis club for details.

5. Fast4

Fast4 is like the tennis version of Twenty20 cricket. It's a revised format designed to simplify and shorten the game.

Some of the key differences are that there is no advantage points, no lets on serve (it's play on if it's in), and sets are won when a player reaches four games. If you are short on time, but want a quick hit of tennis while keeping the competitive juices flowing, Fast4 is ideal

Make the breaks between games and sets short to keep the momentum going, and maximise the fitness and fat loss benefits.

 The body benefits of tennis

·      increased aerobic fitness

·      improved cardiovascular health

·      management of body fat

·      increased bone density

·      improved muscle strength and endurance

·      improved stress management

Meet your match: 5 ways to play the game of tennis was originally published on

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