Tristan Scott doesn’t consider himself a tennis player. If you ask him, or anyone around him, he’s simply an athlete.
“I played on the basketball team, I run track and field, and spent a lot of time focused on soccer,” the Cinnaminson (N.J.) High School senior said. “In the spring, I play tennis.”
Scott, who was an all-conference honoree on the soccer field, isn’t alone. As more and more youth athletes follow the one-sport trend, a new group of players and coaches are seeing the benefits that multiple sports and activities play in a young athlete’s development. Just ask Academy Park High School coach Reggie Day.
“My No. 1 girls’ player, Courtney Jenkins, played No. 1 for me all four years and was my best player,” he said. “As good as she is at tennis, she is just as good at basketball and softball, and will be playing basketball in college next year.”
“When you move into tennis, you develop muscles that regularly don’t use,” he added. “My kids find that by playing tennis after wrestling or basketball or track season, they’re getting sore in areas they haven’t felt before.”
For athletes competing in other sports, tennis provides a workout in ways that many other sports can not. The quick lateral movement, bursts of speed and explosive action in both lower and upper body can help build muscle strength necessary in other sports. The hand-eye coordination, integral in each point, can improve athletes in every sport out there.
Scott’s Cinnaminson tennis teammate, Kevin Fischer, picked up tennis as a high school junior. Now in his senior year, he played outside midfield on the soccer team and was a standout wrestler in the 120-pound division. He said he plays tennis because of the constant action and strategy that goes into each point.
“It’s fast and a different type of workout,” he said. “I can play it for the season and have fun with it.”
“It really helps keep you in shape,” Scott added. “I think I’d get tired of the other sports if I played them year-round. Tennis is almost like a break.”
Scott, who said he wishes he could play even more sports, expects to attend either Rochester Institute of Technology or Virginia Tech next year. Fischer is considering Coastal Carolina or West Chester. Neither has decided if varsity athletics are in their future in college, yet both plan on being active through club and intramural sports.
“I’m sure we’ll be playing something,” Fischer laughed. “It’s what we do.”
For kids and adults, tennis provides countless health benefits and can be utilized as a great training tool. For a list of some tennis benefits, visit USTA Sport Science.