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Dunlopkid
08-30-2007, 04:43 AM
Recently, we had a thread as to why the public doesn't perceive tennis as macho. I want to take just a slightly different angle. Why does the public perceive tennis as easy? At least in my experience, it seems as if it's the only sport that middle schoolers/high schoolers who have never played it, think that they can make their school's team. In all reality, it's other sports--sports that require raw athleticism, not a refined skill set, that they could play.

Serve em Up
08-30-2007, 04:51 AM
IMO: It is because it is a sport where at the lower levels a rank newbie can beat a more practiced player that has difficulty with the type of shots that the newbie hits.

How many threads have you seen from folks who get beat by a "dinker". Or " can't play against someone worse than me".

There is a threshold in tennis where the technique becomes grooved enough that it insulates the player from getting beat by a newbie. At the middle school level, most players haven't reached this level.

This is why the public percieves it as easy. The public never sticks with it to get to the higher levels. Also, from an athletic standpoint. The public and newbies can't sustain a rally long enough for the true endurance and strength aspects of the sport to emerge. Hard to work up a sweat when most of your time is spent walking to pick up balls.

Sliceboy2
08-30-2007, 04:54 AM
I think its the perception that the ball is so small with that of the big court with a waistline high net that you don't even need to jump to cross the ball over the net. Don't forget that you have to hit the ball with your racquet plus the ball is moving at a different pace and spin or even with no spin. Opps don't forget timing, ahhh a lot of factors, until a beginner hits his first ball, even athletic people has to refine a skill. Thats why its a fun sport because on the club level size does not matter I guess.

blitzmage_89
08-30-2007, 05:53 AM
because they think you just hit the ball and it flies over the net. Mind you tennis is the hardest sport I came across. It took me days just to hit a low shot inside the opponent's court. If tennis is easy , then what's badminton?

Supernatural_Serve
08-30-2007, 06:03 AM
because the public doesn't play, and when they watch tennis as they drive by their local park, they see these giant racquets pushing the ball back and forth.

forzainter
08-30-2007, 07:23 AM
me and a boy in one of my classes had a discussion (argument) about how he thought to play football (soccer) you have to be more skilled than to play tennis. Now, i am aware you need to be skilled to play football, but i just dont think you have to be more skilled than in tennis, he also thought tennis was easy (and hes never played)

Thomas Bird-Itch
08-30-2007, 07:44 AM
I don't think they do, otherwise you'd have a bunch of cocky tennis players. Maybe the "pushers" think tennis is easy until they get stuck at the low levels and never improve. Then they say they never wanted to be better anyway, right? haha.

Golf is the most challenging sport I've played technically speaking. Cycling was the most challenging physically.

VGP
08-30-2007, 12:53 PM
I was watching a rerun of "Family Fued" on Game Show Network last night and the last survey question was:

"What sport seems easier to play than it actually is?"

...and the number one answer was tennis.

Moose Malloy
08-30-2007, 01:28 PM
In all reality, it's other sports--sports that require raw athleticism, not a refined skill set, that they could play.


well, didn't you just answer it? 'other sports require more athleticism'
its hard for those that don't play it to take a sport seriously that the 90 ilb math geek could be the #1 player at your school.

I think if many more played tennis seriously most could get pretty good at it. No matter how seriously you try basketball or football, you won't be that good at it, if you don't have a minimum level of raw athleticism(depending on position)

and really its not like the majority of kids in school possess the athleticism/strength to make the basketball team. but don't they possess enough athleticism to make the tennis team(if they work at it)?
its not like they are timed in anything to make the team.

who is more likely to get picked last in gym class as a young kid, the kid that eventually becomes the #1 tennis player in high school or the kid who becomes a basketball/football stud?

which sport has the most crossover athletes in school? how many tennis players could make the team in another sport? but many baseball, basketball, football players can & do make the team in other sports in high school.

Tennismastery
08-30-2007, 01:49 PM
This perception of Tennis as being an easy sport stems from several sources: The first is look at the USTA Tennis Welcome Center Tag Line: "Learn Tennis Fast!"

Next, look at the marketing programs such as the new Lever 2000 ads: Here is mary trying to play tennis: now, look at mary after one lesson with a tennis teaching professional.

Compare these perceptions to the NBA ads and even the Golf ads. "These guys are GOOD" (PGA), "The NBA...It's FANtastic" (NBA).

Tennis is almost never shown to be the athletically challenging sport which is necessary to play it at the high levels of competition. The problem with tennis is that it is NOT an easy learn in terms of developing prolific and progressive techniques. Unlike the bigger sports, (except for golf, perhaps), tennis is seldom learned correctly (as it applies to playing tennis skillfully) by people who simply pick up a racquet and try to teach themselves.

Yet, like backyard badminton, tennis can be "played" at really low levels by almost anyone who picks up a tennis racquet. Almost anyone can figure out how to "push", "Dinke", and "Steer" a ball with a racquet, usually holding it in the most unprolific manner such as holding a "stop sign" to direct a ball to the other side of the net.

Unfortunately, such learning severely limits these participants future tennis because they become totally comfortable with such methods that they will always revert back to them even when they "learn" proper methods.

Learning to play tennis fast is like saying it is easy to learn to play the piano fast! We certainly can play chopsticks or twinkle twinkly little star by ear with our index fingers. But, like learning tennis at mediocre levels, such methods becomes limiting when the player wants to play more prolific songs.

Yet, tennis in other countries is one of the more popular sports. Russia, China, Belgium, etc., don't push tennis as a simple sport. They promote it by marketing it to the athletes (from what I've been told!) and as such, get more and more good athletes playing it.

Imagine your a good athlete and want to play a challenging sport: would you even consider for a moment a sport that markets itself as one that basically anyone can learn "FAST"? Might as well start trying to market lawn darts, horseshoes, and backgammon right up there with tennis. We are basically getting that general quality of athletes coming out for tennis as we would for those activities. (Generally speaking!)

Show me how many tennis teams have the starting football players, basketball players or baseball players coming out for tennis!

That should tell you something right there!

Dunlopkid
08-30-2007, 04:53 PM
Good points, all.

xtremerunnerars
08-30-2007, 05:19 PM
Because we tell them that it's easy so we can roll over laughing when they are red in the face with frustration!

WBF
08-30-2007, 05:28 PM
I think if many more played tennis seriously most could get pretty good at it. No matter how seriously you try basketball or football, you won't be that good at it, if you don't have a minimum level of raw athleticism(depending on position)

What sort of argument is that? The dedication it takes to develop tennis skills *and* the athleticism needed (very much underrated) is far more intense than sports which require just the athleticism (how hard is working out???)

Noveson
08-30-2007, 06:46 PM
What sort of argument is that? The dedication it takes to develop tennis skills *and* the athleticism needed (very much underrated) is far more intense than sports which require just the athleticism (how hard is working out???)

Do you even understand what athleticism is? You don't get it by working out. Just look at all the skinny kids with not too much muscle that are insanely quick and can jump out of the gym, that's athleticism(just one example). People are born athletes, that's not something you can teach, it's all about body control.

Feņa14
08-30-2007, 07:15 PM
People think tennis is easy as they can go and have a fun game without really having any lessons or anything. If you have decent hand-eye coordination you won't have too many problems in picking up the sport.

We all know though, however easy it is to start off with, tennis is one of the hardest sports to master and get really good at.

Max G.
08-30-2007, 09:34 PM
Also, they might think it's easy because they see old people playing it. There's a bunch of old ladies at my club that regularly play some doubles together. I imagine that to a teenager, any sport that can be reasonably played by that kind of group might seem easy, since you don't see old ladies being able to play a reasonable game of american football, do you?

Of course, I just see it as a plus for tennis, in the sense that it's possible to play at either a low or a high level, but the mere fact that it's "possible" to play the sport at a low level of skill and/or athletic ability certainly would seem to some to mean that it's an easy sport overall.

rommil
08-30-2007, 09:55 PM
Because they don't know what it takes mentally.

dpfrazier
08-30-2007, 10:14 PM
Next, look at the marketing programs such as the new Lever 2000 ads: Here is mary trying to play tennis: now, look at mary after one lesson with a tennis teaching professional.

This series of commercials ticks me off! Especially the one where the guy can't even hit the ball, and then starts playing like a 4.0+ after one lesson. Besides portraying tennis as easy to learn, it's just plain false advertising. They would claim that it's "dramatization", but the typical non-tennis-player will believe that you can actually improve that much after one lesson...

Zets147
08-30-2007, 10:18 PM
"Now, that's what I'm talking about!" *fist pump*

I hate that guy...

MaximRecoil
08-31-2007, 07:36 AM
Tennis is like checkers (or a lot of other things for that matter); easy to learn, hard to master.

Within a week or so, most anyone with average mobility, strength, and coordination should be able to consistently hold a casual rally. "Naturals" will be doing even better.

Developing a good serve seems to be the hardest part of the game.

krprunitennis2
08-31-2007, 07:56 AM
because they think you just hit the ball and it flies over the net. Mind you tennis is the hardest sport I came across. It took me days just to hit a low shot inside the opponent's court. If tennis is easy , then what's badminton?

oh don't think that way. Badminton is HAAAAARD. you have no idea how fast the whole game is.

but in my opinion, I think that the public perceives tennis as an easy sport since it IS easy to learn. with practice though. but then there comes a point when it doesn't become easy at all.

-_- in my school, all these guys from the other teams go like, "You suck, I can totally beat you." just because they're "more fit" and that they can hit "harder." I think that some people don't see how hard it is to keep the ball in the court while being aggressive so that the other person doesn't kill the ball.

kevhen
08-31-2007, 08:11 AM
Tennis looks easy on TV. Every thing looks effortless. Players just run to the ball and hit it back over and over again, so it must all be easy. Players on TV doublefault and most hackers know it's not that hard to get the serve in the box. Tennis looks easy on TV where the ball appears to be moving slower from the TV angle but if they fans got down on the court they would notice the pace, spin, angles, etc are really not so easy.

Loco4Tennis
08-31-2007, 08:26 AM
IMO, tennis might be perceived as easy because of the stress put on your budy by playing it, thats why you see old ladies and alike playing it,
tennis can be as easy or as hard as you make it,
in high school you'll only see top players fill the roles of 1-6 depending on the tennis ability of your school, people with no skill or newbeis to the game will be playing the exebition matches, and if they somehow make it to the top 6 spots they would get dominated by any oponent with directional control and first server percentage, such as a 3.0 and above player

LuckyR
08-31-2007, 09:25 AM
Funny, most of the rank beginners I see on the courts have three balls and spend the entire time chasing those balls all over the court and rarely rally 4 shots consecutively. They look like they are having a terrible time and certainly don't look like they are doing something "easy". Especially when they look over at the other courts where 4 elderly 3.0 ladies playing doubles might as well be 4 Federers as far as they are concerned.

Who exactly thinks tennis is easy to pick up as a sport?

blitzmage_89
08-31-2007, 03:34 PM
everyone looks at tennis as a fancy sport. They think "hey , rich people arent even athletic , how easy can it get when we try it? We dominated on hardcore sports like american football surely such a sissy sport would be easy".

tennis_nerd22
08-31-2007, 06:34 PM
Recently, we had a thread as to why the public doesn't perceive tennis as macho. I want to take just a slightly different angle. Why does the public perceive tennis as easy? At least in my experience, it seems as if it's the only sport that middle schoolers/high schoolers who have never played it, think that they can make their school's team. In all reality, it's other sports--sports that require raw athleticism, not a refined skill set, that they could play.

well cuz you see mostly seniors playing. thats why. especially ones who just poke the ball back and forth. what you have to do is take them to the court, man-handle them, and show them how its played :)

i think now that there might be more canadians rising in pro levels, and maybe americans, tennis will become more popular. i know its getting more popular at my high school and we just started a team 2 years ago (my freshman year).

but still, i think another reason it comes off is that a lot of society is ignorant. and when they see scrawny people playing tennis (even most pro's), they think its an easy sport. in reality, you have to be EXTREMELY fit and strong in tennis, but in the right places (like core and cardio). it just depends who's smart enough to see past the boundary, and into the building, so to speak.

and unfortunately, that accounts for about 10% of all north american teens ;)

tennis_nerd22
08-31-2007, 06:36 PM
Who exactly thinks tennis is easy to pick up as a sport?

i dont think so, i think its one of the hardest sports to pick up. i mean, anyone can pick up a football or soccer ball (well i guess kick the soccer ball ;)) and become half-decent at it. but when you look at these big high school guys who pick up a racket for the "sissy sport" thinking it's **** easy, they cant even hit the ball 50% of the time (i dont mean hit it in the court, i mean just hit it anywhere).

thats one of the other reasons some people dont like it, it takes patience and determination to become good

AndyRLacoste
09-04-2007, 02:58 PM
Hehe this question reminds me of another: Why do tennis balls hurt more than they seem?

D-Bomb
09-04-2007, 06:57 PM
Some of the posters address the main issue about tennis: those athletic kids that play american football and soccer don't want to play it. This is obviously for a few reasons:

1) It looks both easy and boring when they see other beginners playing (and frankly, the same with pros on TV to an untrained eye).
2) ANYONE can do well at the sport, no matter the level of athleticism
3) Beginners barely work up a sweat at all
4) most beginners can't keep a long rally going, so much time is spent picking up balls
5) There is no physical contact involved at the beginner level
6) The scoring is complicated and counter-intuitive
7) Most importantly, it's just really difficult when you start!

Tennis and various other racquet sports are unlike most other ball sports (or any sport for that matter) in that while many other sports revolve around catching, throwing, or kicking--all of which are naturally learned movements, and are therefore simple to perform the basic object of the sport (ex. american football, some of baseball, basketball, soccer, rugby, water polo, volleyball, the list goes on)--hitting sports like all of tennis, racquetball, squash, and badminton, and some of baseball and cricket, require a learned and refined skill set for the most part. Since both objects, the ball and the hitting device must be moving, the timing, hand-eye coordination, and balance all make the sport very difficult to progress to high level in. With the non-hitting sports, there is always a direct contact with the ball, making the basic motions of the respective sports easier to do relatively well in. In short, with any given person, it's a lot easier to have fun AND work up a sweat in the non-hitting sports, like american football and soccer, than in the hitting sports, like tennis and squash.

All that being said, the reason that tennis looks so easy is essentially because it's so hard at the beginner level. Beginners end up barely moving their arms or their feet, and the ball moves very slow, since it's so incredibly difficult to find the balance between hitting hard and hitting with control. The combination of using your arms, hands, legs, and feet all at the same time makes it ridiculously hard to enjoy yourself AND get a good workout.

I suppose the solution to all these unfortunate facts would be if there were a lot more high level tennis players out there, so that when "laypersons" see the sports, they think, "wow, that looks really hard but also really fun." The problem with that solution is that when those "laypersons" try to play, they think, "I'm light years behind those players I saw; it'll take forever to get that good," so then they just give up altogether.

Alas, it seems the beautiful sport of tennis is trapped in a vicious dilemma of popularity.

bebots
09-04-2007, 07:07 PM
everyone looks at tennis as a fancy sport. They think "hey , rich people arent even athletic , how easy can it get when we try it? We dominated on hardcore sports like american football surely such a sissy sport would be easy".

I love how some of those people think tennis is hoity-toity, but they fully embrace golf! With the cost of golf clubs, golf fees and club memberships, there's no comparison.

How many empty tennis courts are there in the US? And for the most part they're free. As long as you have a racquet, a partner and a $2.00 can of balls.

Come to think of it, I actually like how tennis is not that popular. More court time for me. I love it, my tennis partners love it and that's ALL that matters.

35ft6
09-04-2007, 07:11 PM
Recently, we had a thread as to why the public doesn't perceive tennis as macho. I want to take just a slightly different angle. Why does the public perceive tennis as easy? At least in my experience, it seems as if it's the only sport that middle schoolers/high schoolers who have never played it, think that they can make their school's team.This is often true. Has nothing to do with how easy tennis is, says more about how terrible their team is and how many kids in their area play it seriously.In all reality, it's other sports--sports that require raw athleticism, not a refined skill set, that they could play.IMO, tennis, along with figure skating and gymnastics, and maybe competitive Wushu, are the most difficult sports to become among the best in the world at.

At summer camp, where I was a counselor, talked about this with some European counselors. They said squash was tougher to play than tennis. Their proof was that when they played squash, they worked up a good sweat, but in tennis, they barely got winded. To me, this was proof that tennis was a tougher sport to master, you don't get great exercise until you can hit some consistent strokes, which might take years, whereas in squash, you just have to hit a wall.

Anyway, we went back and forth, but luckily for us, the guy who ran the tennis program at this camp coached college tennis AND squash. We asked for his opinion and he said, very quickly, tennis is way harder.

I think Ivan Lendl once came close to beating the number 1 squash player in the world many years ago. According to google, he recently played the number 2 player in the world at a benefit for diabetes.

Anyway, to answer your question, most people think it's easy because they know nothing about it. You have to become really good at tennis before you realize how terrible you are at it. Most people will never become good enough to know how inept they are, and how skilled the pros are.

Shahar26
09-04-2007, 07:39 PM
Because it's simple, you just need to get the ball over the net :p

D-Bomb
09-04-2007, 07:58 PM
Because it's simple, you just need to get the ball over the net :p

I know you're kidding, but for the sake of conversation, what about other sports?

football: get the ball down the big ol' field
soccer: kick the ball in the big ol' box
basketball: put the ball in the lil' hoop
baseball: hit the ball and/or touch the bag

Clearly it's not about the simplicity, is it?

35ft6
09-04-2007, 08:00 PM
I know you're kidding, but for the sake of conversation, what about other sports?Or winning the lottery for that matter.

D-Bomb
09-04-2007, 08:07 PM
^^^ I have no idea if that is an agreement with my vague question or a poo-pooing of my vague question

Shahar26
09-04-2007, 08:35 PM
I know you're kidding, but for the sake of conversation, what about other sports?

football: get the ball down the big ol' field
soccer: kick the ball in the big ol' box
basketball: put the ball in the lil' hoop
baseball: hit the ball and/or touch the bag

Clearly it's not about the simplicity, is it?

Soccer and basketball are simple, the other two are far from it.....

On a more serious note however, I think maybe because the rules are pretty simple (except the scoring system) and you also often see very young and very old people play tennis, which I guess would indicate that almost anyone can do it....

35ft6
09-04-2007, 09:02 PM
^^^ I have no idea if that is an agreement with my vague question or a poo-pooing of my vague questionI was agreeing with you.Soccer and basketball are simple, the other two are far from it... We're not talking about "easy" in terms of understanding the rules, we're talking about easy in terms of becoming good at the sport.

mdjenders
12-05-2007, 11:29 AM
Think people belittling tennis is bad? That is nothing compared to table tennis. That can be quite an amazing, athletic game, but it will never be anything more than "ping pong" in this country.

lethalfang
12-05-2007, 11:54 AM
Think people belittling tennis is bad? That is nothing compared to table tennis. That can be quite an amazing, athletic game, but it will never be anything more than "ping pong" in this country.

Table tennis is not much of a spectator sport: two big men doing all kinds of crazy stuff around a small table.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hxZ-5wELSJM

superman1
12-05-2007, 12:00 PM
1. All of the smaller/less athletic/less cool kids in high school who need a sport for their college application choose tennis, so it's perceived as slightly less *****ish than badminton.

2. Most people never watch tennis on TV. And if they are flipping channels and do glance at a tennis match for a few seconds, they think it is boring and all you have to do is just hit a ball back and forth until someone hits the net.

3. When you drive by a public tennis court, most people are either walking around picking up balls, or standing in one place and dinking the ball back and forth. And most of these people are either over 50 or under 15. When you walk by a basketball court, you see big guys in their 20's with sleeveless shirts dripping with testosterone (even if they're sitting out, or not really doing much work). A lot of them are fat and out of shape, but they're still big and manly.

4. There is this perception that female tennis players can be just as good as male tennis players. That is probably the biggest factor. People hear so much about Maria Sharapova, they begin to think she is one of the best players in the world, not realizing how many men could stomp her on the court.

edmondsm
12-05-2007, 12:07 PM
Anybody that thinks tennis is easy just hasn't played. It only takes one or two attempts to realize that it is one of the most difficult sports to master. This is why you never see pros that started after the age of eight. You have to start very early to get the ingrained coordination necessary to play at the top levels.

TonLars
12-05-2007, 01:25 PM
It depends on the location and program itself, but in general, Highschool tennis is not very strong and is a sport that often can get some leftover athletes. There are alot of kids that dont have the athleticism to play basketball, football and such, and also the best athletes are usually involved in those sports to compete for a spot against. A school with a weak tennis team allows some of the other kids to be in a sport in many situations, and thats a good thing.

The sorry thing is that perception some have talked about here when those athletes and relative beginners make up the schools team. Some people then as a result dont have alot of respect for tennis, because they havent seen a tennis player that is athletic, is skilled and works hard. They think what theyve seen and/or who they know that plays is the standard.

WhatItIs
12-05-2007, 01:35 PM
Soccer and basketball are simple, the other two are far from it....


Wow. That is an incredibly naive statement. Rather ironic considering the thread topic.

leonidas1982
12-05-2007, 01:49 PM
because they think you just hit the ball and it flies over the net. Mind you tennis is the hardest sport I came across. It took me days just to hit a low shot inside the opponent's court. If tennis is easy , then what's badminton?

Agreed. I play multiple sports, including soccer. By far, training for tennis is the hardest of the bunch. With soccer and basketball (when i played in high school and college), the training fails in comparison. I thought I would be fit for tennis, being a soccer player, but not the case. I'm better now, but I can still tell the difference.