There are over 8000 sports games in the world, so it’s a wide world out there. One question that often comes up is how hard tennis is compared to other sports, whether other racket games such as table tennis or totally different sports such as darts or basketball.
In this article, I will explain how hard tennis is compared to other sports, how difficult it is to learn tennis, it is demanding physically and mentally, and more about tennis and sports. But before that, is tennis hard compared to other sports?
Overall, tennis is harder to learn than most sports because acquiring the skills needed in tennis, such as serving, hand-eye coordination, and strokes are harder to learn than running and kicking in soccer or hitting the ball in baseball.
This doesn’t mean that soccer or baseball would be easy to learn; however, tennis is definitely harder to get good at. If you don’t take my word for it, take the word of ESPN, who has made a comprehensive study about the subject.
In the study made by ESPN, they categorized different sports by 10 skills: endurance, strength, power, speed, agility, flexibility, nerve, durability, hand-eye coordination, and analytic aptitude. These 10 different skills made up a total score that was used to rank the different sports from the hardest to the least hardest.
The test results show that tennis is the 8th hardest sport globally, behind sports such as boxing, ice hockey, and martial arts. What wasn’t really a surprise to me personally but still quite fascinating to see in a test was that tennis is the second hardest sport when it comes to hand-eye coordination. This is probably known to all tennis players that mastering this skill isn’t easy by a long shot.
Now, let’s take a closer look at how difficult sports tennis actually is when taking all the skills into consideration.
Is tennis a difficult sport?
Tennis is a difficult sport. In fact, it’s arguably the world’s 8th most difficult sport and the world’s second difficult when it comes to hand-eye coordination. There is a total of 10 skills that we should look at, so let’s take all the skills and list them from the most difficult to least.
- Hand-eye coordination
- Analytic aptitude
This list makes sense when you think about it, doesn’t it? The skill of hand-eye coordination is the hardest, and agility and endurance are hard to master as well. However, tennis really doesn’t require THAT much nerve, and strength isn’t super hard to master either.
There are other skills that require the skills listed above, such as delivering an accurate and powerful shot. This is one of the hardest parts of tennis, and things such as timing are well needed for this to succeed. One of the hardest things to master in tennis is the service which takes a lot of time to learn.
This takes us to the next subject. Let’s take a look at how hard it is really to learn tennis.
How difficult is it to learn tennis?
There are many things to learn when it comes to tennis, such as speed, agility, flexibility, and strength. These skills are fairly easily attainable, but there are some that make tennis so hard to learn as it is. For example, serving, striking, hand-eye coordination, and endurance take time to master.
Let’s take a closer look at the hardest skills to learn from technical, physical, and mental skills.
The hardest part of tennis isn’t the physical strength and speed or mental ability to keep a cool head or reading your opponent. It’s the technical part of it all.
Technical tennis skills include serving, striking the ball, accuracy, errors, timing everything right, and things like that. These skills take the greatest amount of time and effort to master.
The most difficult one to master is probably serving. Serving is the core of your come point because it can be the determination of whether you will have control or not on the entire point. For example, if you strike a killer serve, your opponent will be in trouble, and you are able to continue your dominance while your opponent struggles to keep along. However, if your server isn’t good, you will be the one in trouble. Serving requires great timing, accuracy, and point of contact with your racket.
Strokes are a vital part to master in tennis as well, and that’s a difficult task to do. Forehand and backhand strokes are the basic ones, and learning how to do those well is important, but it takes a lot of practice. Things like the point of contact, spin, and backswing are part of the learning curve. The great thing about practicing strokes is that you can do it using only a tennis racket, ball, and a wall to pass it back to you! There are also tennis ball robots that you can use for training.
As I said, technical skills are the hardest to master, which doesn’t mean that physical skills are easy. On the contrary, it’s a tough learning curve as well.
Physical skills include speed, agility, strength, power, flexibility, balance, and endurance. If you haven’t ever played tennis, your current level, and required training really depend on what you have been doing before. Have you done any other sports, other racket sports such as table tennis or badminton, hitting the gym, jogging, or have movies and streaming services been your thing?
Overall fitness is required if you want to endure and get through a full tennis match that often lasts at least 90 minutes if it’s a best of 3 and only longer if it’s a best of 5. This means that you need to have aerobic endurance in addition to enough muscular development that you can strike the ball and move from place to place in an explosive manner.
You need speed and agility for the skill of footwork, strength, power for serves and strokes, flexibility for receiving your opponent’s strokes and hitting them back, and good balance to play tennis, keep things together and enchance other skills.
Mental skills are always present and needed wherever you go, especially when you step into a tennis court to face your opponent.
Mental skills include managing your emotions, focusing on the moment, ignoring the crowd and other distractions, pressure-containing and overall confidence, and the ability to believe in yourself.
A strong mind is important in tennis because that allows you to play better when it comes to all other skills. At first, these can be hard to learn, especially if your personality is more doubtful and overthinking than your opponents, but everyone can learn these; it only requires training and time on the court to become more at home in there.
How long does it take to learn tennis?
Depending on your history with racket sports, natural skills, how well you will adapt, fitness level, training frequency, and teaching opportunities, it will take anywhere from a couple of months to multiple years Also, what you consider well-learned has a major effect as well to the overall learning time.
Is tennis physically demanding?
Tennis is physically demanding because an average tennis match lasts nearly 2 hours or more, and your side of the court is 39ft (11.89m) long and 27ft (8.23m) wide. Tennis requires speed, agility, strength, power, flexibility, and balance so that it will drain a lot of energy and effort physically.
Is tennis more physical or mental?
Tennis is definitely more physical than mental because you will constantly move from front to back and side to side while keeping your eye on the ball and striking it as hard as you can. Nonetheless, tennis does require mental skills as well, but the physical ones are more in demand.
Is tennis the hardest sport in the world?
According to a study made by ESPN, tennis is the 8th hardest sport after sports such as boxing and ice hockey. However, tennis is the second hardest sport in hand-eye coordination right after table tennis.
Obviously, determining the hardest sport in the world can be personal to every one of us. Still, when we examine them in general and use the 10 skills mentioned above as factors, we can get really close to determining the difficulties of the sport.
My Favorite Tennis Equipment
Thanks for reading this article. I hope it brought you great value that you can implement into your own life! Below you’ll find my top tennis equipment recommendations would like.
- Racket: My preferred tennis racket is the Wilson Ultra 100 V3. This racket is made from graphite and carbon fiber, making it durable, firm, and easy to swing. The racket weighs 300g, making it lightweight yet not too lightweight to generate power. The racket’s main benefit is power. I like to add multifilament strings to the racket, such as Wilson NXT Soft 16 (recommended tension 52lb/23.5kg), because they are comfortable and soft on the arm with a great feel to the game.
- Tennis balls: Best tennis balls are always pressurized, and I like them having extra-duty felt, which is fit for hard court play. I like Penn Championship Tennis Balls, and so does the ITF because these balls are approved for competitive play. So yes, these are the real deal.
- Tennis shoes: I can’t stress enough the importance of comfortable and supporting shoes. ASICS Gel-Resolution 8 tennis shoes are unique because the balance between durability and support mixed with comfort is something out of the ordinary.
- Fan Equipment: If you’re a fan more than a player, you don’t want to miss Fan Equipment by Fanatics. You can find items from various sports that bear your favorite team’s logo, such as jerseys, gift ideas, or other surprising things.
All in all, tennis is often placed as the 8th hardest sport in the world, and given that there are 8000 sports in the world, tennis is in the top 0.1 percentile, which is extremely high. Learning tennis can be overwhelming, and you might feel like you want to quit, but if you put your mind and time to it, you will surely become great at it.