Who said that playing video games cannot be productive? Although I don’t recommend playing video games all day, there are many aspects of video games that can be productive and helpful for your everyday life, and your tennis game is not an exception.
Who would have thought that all those hours spent playing with your friends online could help you on the tennis court?! Now, you have another excuse for when your parents or spouse complain that you’re spending too much time in front of the screen!
How is playing video games helping your tennis game? Playing video games can help you develop and improve many important skills needed as a tennis player. Along with the advance in technology, video games are getting better and more realistic, requiring players to use more of their cognitive and motor skills.
As a result, playing video games (in moderation) can help you improve and enhance your hand-eye coordination, creativity, concentration, decision-making, reflexes, problem solving & tactical skills, physical fitness, and social skills. All these skills are valuable to have as tennis players, on and off the court.
Continue reading to find out more on how can you convince your parents, partner and/ or spouse to let you play those extra 15 minutes you need to advance to the next level…
Video games can help you develop and improve your hand-eye coordination. For example, first-person shooter games require you to keep an eye on your target and focus quickly on small movements, and at the same time react with your hands. The journal Communication Research did a study on how video games affect your hand-eye coordination, and they found that playing for only 20 minutes of shooting video games that uses gun-shaped controllers can increase you hand-eye coordination performance.
As tennis players, we know how important is to have good hand-eye coordination. It’s necessary to correctly time the ball at different speeds and heights, which video games can definitely help with. While coaching, I’ve seen how kids who have a more develop hand-eye coordination can pick up the game must faster than the rest.
Have you seen video games nowadays? Many characters, environments, and places are not from this world; the creators of these games have let their creativity and imagination fly high. This kind of graphics stimulates the brain to think in different ways that are not the norm; taking “think outside the box” to different levels!
When playing tennis, creativity is a skill that can help you win matches, even when your opponent has better technique and strokes than you. Depending on your opponent strength and weaknesses, players might need to make adjustments to their playing strategy and styles, which sometimes require to come up with creative ways to beat your opponents in effective and efficient ways.
Mindfulness; video games required an intense amount of attention. Have you ever try talking to a person playing video games? Is like you don’t exist!.. like if they where on another planet… they are so concentrated and focus on the game that they don’t have time for anything else. And although playing in excess can have detrimental consequence, video games that promote you to stay focus and concentrate for long periods of time can be beneficial for your tennis game.
In tennis, staying center and not getting distracted is essential to perform well on the court. There is a reason why It’s said that tennis is more of a mental game than a physical game. In order to play great tennis, your mind has to be in the right place, and that is on the tennis court. If you’re not focused is difficult to hit and play the way you’re supposed to. How many times, after you miss a shot, have you heard your coach or some else, remind you to keep your eyes on the ball? For me? To many…
Faster Decision making
In video games, your speed decision making gets continuously tested. With so many things happening on the screen, you have to constantly make quick and small decision to keep moving forward and succeed. This is very similar to how a tennis match plays out; you have to make short and quick decisions to win points, so you can eventually win the match.
A University of Rochester research showed that people who played video games develop the ability to make correct decisions faster. Playing video games, especially the action ones, give players a better sense of what’s happening around them, allowing them to process more information in less time. As tennis players, this helps us in making quick and better decisions in the middle of the points.
Many videos games require you to react fast in different situations; this can enhance and improve your reflexes response. In tennis, having fast reflexes is essential because players need to constantly react to the ball in many different ways. In various video games, players need to have quick reaction capability to adapt to different situations.
Action video games that are fast pace can help you develop better visual motor skills and precision. When on the tennis court, players face the challenge of keeping up with the ball and directing it to the proper places. Being able to place the ball in the right place and at the right time is essential for your success on the court.
Problem-solving & tactical skills
Video games demand players to put their problem-solving skills in action. These games require players to search, explore, plan, and use different approaches to move forward and win. When you are on the court various situation can arise that might require you to find and solve them by yourself.
As a tennis tournament director, every time players are about to start their match, I remind them the rules and match format and finish by saying “If you have any problem that you cannot solve between each other, please let me know”. On tennis tournaments, players are expected to be able to find solutions to different problems that they might have during their match. I think most competitive tennis players can relate to having to cope with multiple issues during their matches, from constantly dealing with wrong calls to disagreeing with the score.
Moreover, tactical skills, which can be described as the actions and behaviors taken to achieve leverage over the opponent, are also developed while playing video games. These skills can be beneficial when trying to come up with strategies to face different opponents on the court.
Back in the day, playing video games meant sitting in the couch for hours with minimal to no physical activity. But nowadays, with fitness and workout games getting more realistic, video games, as strange as it might sound, can help you improve your tennis game from an endurance, as well as, footwork standpoint. Anything that enables you to improve your stamina and endurance, even by a little, will somehow help you as a tennis player.
Being physically fit is a crucial aspect of being a tennis player, especially at a high-performance level, where the pace and length of the points are faster and longer.
Also, virtual reality games are getting more and more realistic, requiring players to use more parts of their body than their thumbs and hands. Who knows…, maybe in the future, with the help of technology, games will be pretty much the same as performing the real activity.
Online games where you play against other players are very popular. They can help develop social skills and provide experience on how a person can deal with different types of people in a competitive scenario when either losing or winning. Although tennis is mostly a singles game, is very important for players to develop good skills on how to deal with their opponents and/or partners on the court. In tennis, being able to deal with people on and off the court is crucial.
Many team-based shooters games help players develop a better sense of teamwork. Beside doubles, there are many moments in your tennis career that you will have to work with teammates; when playing high school tennis, college tennis, and/or adults leagues, to name a few.
Technology & Virtual Reality
With technology getting better by the day, video games will keep getting more realistic and will have a more profound effect on the persons cognitive and motor skills. In the future, we’ll keep seen many improvements in virtual reality games, as they become more mainstream, and military and businesses keep investing in them for training purposes.
As a result, this will make video games more helpful in many aspects of our lives, and people who practice sports, and in this case tennis, we’ll get many benefits from them. In the other hand, it can be a little concerning because people might start losing sense of reality, as well as, interest in doing actual activities. Who knows.. only time will tell.
One last thing…
Playing video games can be healthy and helpful if done in moderation. Remember, as with everything in life, you need balance in everything you do; and given that video games can be addicted, make sure to take the proper measures to limit your screen time and not lose sense of reality.
If you have other ideas on how video games can help you on the tennis court, or you think the information presented above is not in the best interest of the reader, please share your thoughts on the comment section.
How can videos games negatively affect your tennis game?
- Video games can have a detrimental indirect effect on your tennis game. Given that video games can be highly addictive, spending too much time playing them can reduce your performance and productivity on the tennis court because more energy and concentration is being placed on video games than your daily activities, in this case, tennis practice.
Can board games help your tennis game?
- Board games can help you improve certain skills needed on the tennis court. This type of games can help you develop your problem-solving skills, as well as, speed up your decision-making process. Being able to solve problems is a critical aspect of tennis because in order to succeed you have to come up with strategies and solutions to beat your opponent. Also, being able to make fast decisions enhance your performance during points given the face pace of the game.