Tennis and skiing couldn’t be more different. One is on flat terrain, where the other is downhill. Skiing is a solo sport, where tennis has players facing off against each other. And there’d be less love in tennis if it was played in snow. But for tennis star Novak Djokovic, who just won at Wimbledon for the 10th time with a victory over Roger Federer, the two sports are like chocolate and peanut butter; he credits his skills on the courts to his skiing background.
An article in The Wall Street Journal claims that Djokovic’s physique is part of his strengths, that his “years on the slopes helped to develop the body that sets Djokovic apart from his competitors. He’s wiry, limber and broad-shouldered with flexible joints and hips.”
After watching Djokovic beat Rafael Nadal, uncle Goran Djokovic, himself an accomplished skier, is equally quick to credit Novak’s abilities to his time on the hills, saying, “When he’s sliding on the court, this is like skiing. People say, ‘How is it possible?’ Because of that. It’s simple.”
Mike Kenney, coach of skier Bode Miller — once a strong junior tennis player — also sees similarities in the two sports, specifically the ankle strength and flexibility they both require. He believes that being trained in multiple sports combined with their “elastic connective tissue and stretchy muscles” has helped reduce the risk of injuries for these athletes.
Looking at this from a parent’s perspective, I’ve noticed my daughter’s involvement in martial arts, dance, and skating has helped her develop balance and coordination and seem to help her advance quickly in each activity. The facts support kids getting experience in multiple activities; the more opportunity kids have to sample all types of sports, the more they foster different abilities for a range of athletic endeavours.
True, your child may not make it to the US Open or compete at the Olympics, but when you give your kids a healthy, active, balanced lifestyle, everyone wins.
Image by Mike Hewitt, Getty Images Europe