Perhaps you are thinking of taking on a racquet (or paddle) sport, and you’re wondering whether it’s all sunny as it’s made out to be. And although racquet sports are enjoyable and full of advantages (from numerous health benefits to their social nature), certain aspects of these sports can be seen as drawbacks.
So, we’ve put together a list of the”disadvantages” of taking on racquet sports. This list is not to suggest that you shouldn’t take part in racquet sports. Instead, you should take them as challenges you can expect to encounter as you practice these sports. You might experience some or none at all; everyone’s experience is different.
With that being said…
These are 18 disadvantages of playing racquet (paddle) sports.
1. Potential of incurring injuries.
In most racquet sports, your body will be challenged physically. For instance, in tennis, you will have to move quickly to get to the ball and hit it back, over and over again. Also, most racquet sports require constant lateral movement, which may put to much stress on your knees. Proper training is critical in the gradual improvement of skills and stroke mechanics, but even with practice, there are risks of getting injured.
Many racquet sports players have experienced the perils of tears, sprains, inflammations, and muscle pulls. Besides, an injury on the court will hamper on your everyday life too. Simple tasks will become more painstaking, and you will have to spend some money and time to get treatment.
2. Risking long term knee and joint problems.
Racquet sports intensively involve lateral movement, which is taxing to the knee and joints. Whether it’s an abrupt stop, a twist, a pivot, a quick start burst, the knee is the epicenter that receives all these forces from almost every angle during play. Over time, the knee loses its youthful elasticity and becomes exposed and prone to injuries.
As a result, a lot of racquet sports players develop patellar tendonitis (also known as Jumper’s knee) at some point in their playing careers. Patellar tendonitis is the most common injury for racquet sports athletes, and it causes pain in the tendon that connects the shin with the kneecap. Such injuries heal, but their long-term impact still stands. At old age, prolific players who put in a lot of time on the court often experience difficulty with movement due to damaged joints.
3. Back problems.
In addition to being tough on your knee and shoulder joints, racquet sports place significant pressure on your back. Think of your back as the command center for all your body movements. Whichever direction you move, your back is engaged. Back problems are a real risk if you tend to play above your fitness level, and pushing your body too hard. Your back muscles and tendons may not have enough time to recover and strengthen to support you if you move too fast. Over time, when not taken care of, this may result in severe mobility limitations at old age.
4. Tennis elbow.
Tennis elbow, which is when your elbow tendons become inflamed, is quite common among racquet sports players. This is due to using the incorrect technique during a stroke, as well as due to the repeated elbow motion when swinging a racquet. And although it might not sound too bad, it can affect your daily life activities, making you feel a sharp elbow pain while doing simple things like carrying groceries bags or liftying boxes.
5. It might take time to condition your body.
Before jumping into a racquet sport, players must ensure their physical health is up to the demands of the game. Cardiovascular capabilities and respiratory conditions must be primed before taking on serious games. For instance, sports like squash, tennis, or badminton, require participants to have a certain level of physical capabilities to play a full match. Obviously, this will vary depending on the intensity of the game.
For some, having to start exercising to condition their body might be somewhat daunting. However, this is the most sensible route to long term sustained physical well being and warding off of injuries.
6. It can be costly to play.
Depending on your budget and lifestyle, you may not want to pay to learn how to play a racquet sport. The truth is that you will have to invest in some items before you begin to play, and this is true to many other sports. You’ll need to get appropriate gear and equipment so that you can play comfortably.
Depending on your goals in terms of improvement, you may need to hire an instructor and take lessons regularly. Also, in some instances, you will have to pay to be a member of a club for access to courts. These expenses vary from place to place, sport to sport, as well as person to person.
7. Outgoing costs.
Depending on how far you want to advance through the ranks of your chosen racquet sport, you will have to spend a couple of bucks to make that happen. In addition to investing in good quality racquets, gear, and access to playing courts, you will probably have to pay for instructors, as well as to participate in tournaments.
Tournaments are the test of your skills and if this is a priority for you, be ready to budget for costs related to playing tournaments.
8. Bad sportsmanship.
Not all social interactions you have during a game will be positive. Not every opponent you play against will be graceful and team-spirited. Some may throw curse words at you, some may refuse to shake your hand, among many other disappointing behaviors. You are bound to run into some individuals with less than desirable sportsmanship. How you deal with this depends on your own sportsmanship spirit.
9. It can be lonely sometimes.
Depending on which one do you choose, racquet sports have varying degrees of social interaction. Most of these sports are played either by two or four people at a time. For introverts, a one on one game may be the perfect balance of people time. For those who prefer being part of a big team (like in soccer or football), it can get lonely.
The racquet sports we see on TV have full stadiums with lots of cheer. But that’s only for games. Here you can meet lots of other players and fans whom you wouldn’t otherwise be able to meet. However, you will be spending most of your time practicing, and sometimes it will just be you by yourself or with a partner.
10. High emotions.
Racquet sports can get emotional, especially at the competitive level. Even on friendly matches or games, some situations can arise and challenge your emotions. A contested point, a bad call, a disagreement with your opponent, a cheating player, and many more. Be ready to develop your emotional intelligence and grit to keep your wits about you in high stakes situations.
Racquet sports are quite enjoyable, but some might be, somewhat, repetitive. This is especially true if you are planning on playing for a long time. Your body movements are similar from practice to practice, and so are your hand movements. Eventually, some people might get tired of hitting a ball back and forth. The great thing is that you have lots of racquet sports to choose from to switch things up.
You are bound to see a player or an opponent that just doesn’t rub you the right way by their behavior. You know who we’re referring too! Those ones who love to brag! Maybe they talk too much about their newest racquet, who they beat at last weekend’s tournament, how they were invited to a party by a famous player, and on they go. You will likely meet such people. Be ready for such interactions.
We are social creatures, and racquet sports involve other people, so naturally, those who are most like one another will band together. This is especially likely to happen if you have joined a racquet sports club.
Depending on their attitudes, some may be wary of letting people into their informal groups, while others will be more accepting. Some will be rude about you not being in their group, others will be kind. It’s natural, and finding your own tribe can help you navigate the racquet sports social structure.
14. Requires commitment.
When you decide to take on a racquet sport, you probably have an end in mind. Perhaps you want to play to improve your skills and compete, or maybe, you want to play just to stay in good shape. Whichever the case, you will need the commitment to reach your goals. To learn and improve in most racquet sports, you’ll need to commit, in terms of time, money, and willpower. For some, this may not be the easiest behavior to build, but it’s certainly worth a shot to try.
15. Finding a place to play may be difficult.
Unlike running or football, which you can do almost anywhere, most racquet sports require specialized courts and facilities. For instance, to play pro badminton, you’ll need an indoor court. Also, squash calls for a specialized indoor court. Tennis and pickleball are more flexible in that they can be played outdoors, but you still need a court adequately marked. Even to play ping pong, you need to, regularly, have access to a table tennis table.
You could attempt to, somehow, build your own court, but the odds are against you; you’re better finding a place with the courts ready to use.
Some lucky individuals who live in areas with available recreational centers can enjoy accessible courts, often at free or affordable charges. For those who do not, however, they may have to drive to nearby places with courts or pay membership fees for exclusive facilities or country clubs.
16. Weather problems.
If you’ve chosen to try out an outdoor racquet sport (i.e., tennis, pickleball, or beach tennis), the weather is the most significant barrier in getting your practice time in. It may rain, it may be winter, it may be windy, or extremely hot. Many times the weather can be, quite, unpredictable. To work around this disadvantage, you may choose to play in an indoor facility whenever mother nature gets in your way.
17. Asymmetrical body development
Have you ever seen the arms of professional tennis players? If you have, you’ve, probably, notice that one is bigger than the other one. In racquet sports, like tennis, squash, badminton, or racquetball, among others, players tend to use one arm more than the other. As a result, players develop one arm much more than the other one.
This is especially true for pro and high-performance players because they’re regularly playing and practicing at a high intensity.
18. As a beginner, it might be hard to find people to play with.
When it comes to racquet sports, most people are trying to improve and get better. And one of the best ways to improve is by playing against people who are better than you, or at least of your same level. So, if you’re just starting to play a racquet sport, and are a complete beginner, you might have a hard time finding people to play with.
It might take some time before you reach a certain level where most people will like to play with you. As a result, at the beginning of your career, you might have to either practice by yourself or take private lessons.
And there you have it. It’s not always sunny in the world of racquet sports, but there are certainly challenges to build up your skills, to take better care of your body, and to practice good sportsmanship. Good luck with your next game!