What? Cardio Tennis
Where? Westway Sports centre
The definition of Cardio Tennis is ‘a high energy fitness activity that combines the best features of the sport of tennis with cardiovascular exercise, delivering the ultimate, full body, calorie burning aerobic workout.’ It’s tagline ‘For those born to bounce’.
I have competed in 2 sports at a National Level (I say defensively) however my hand eye co-ordination equates to that of a T-Rex trying to field a game of rounders in woolly mittens. Oh how I wish this was false modesty. Its important to continuously challenge yourself, even if the challenges are bound to involve large helpings of shame and sporting humiliation. So with a steely nerve and brave index finger I booked myself into a Cardio Tennis class. It started at 8 am. On my morning off. I have never before experienced nerves before embarking on one of my fitness jaunts but flashbacks of flailing like a clueless flamingo on the tennis courts at school sporadically popped into my head.
Westway sports centre nestled under Westway overpass is huge, it has its own stables and horse population. The chap at reception was extremely hospitable and helpful and set me up with my new membership card, a racket and some token words of encouragement. I located court 8- thankfully situated indoors- and ambled shyly over to what looked like regulars. The pleated tennis skirts tipped me off. This morning’s line up included Kate, a taut Martina Navritolova look alike dressed top to toe in Lulu Lemon; a perky American with muscles like Madonna. Gillian was the other skilled regular. And thank the lord I had Georgie another newbie for company, although her exponential improvement during the session smacked of a high school career on the courts.
We all donned pedometers. I was grateful for a goal which didn’t require hitting the ball! I would later drop mine causing it to reset and give my total steps for the hour as a scant 64. The warm up drills were very effective and really got the heart rate up. My favourite warm up by far was the one where partners hold hands as if shaking them and then use the other palm to bat the ball back and forth over the arm net. In the process dragging the other about the court. It is a ridiculous amount of fun and very reminiscent of a three legged race!
When the rackets came into play I continued to have a tremendous time whilst also making a titanic tit of myself. The instructor was very encouraging and patiently helpful in moments when my blank expression clearly told him I had no idea how to follow my ‘2 ground strokes with a slice and then a smash’. I had highly embarrassing Laurel and Hardy moment at one stage. I misheard Andrew and thought he was telling me to ‘come closer, no back it up’. He wasn’t. On the 8th repeat- no exaggeration I realised he was in fact patiently saying ‘come closer, NO racket up’. The pained looks of the other women with normal hearing made my confused ChaCha that much more pitiful. My personal lowlight would be the moment I went to serve and dropped the ball behind me. Twice.
I was most impressed by the instructors ability to ensure that everyone got the most out of the session and the less racket sport able like myself didn’t disrupt the regulars workout by accidentally hitting them with a stray ball or holding things up. It was very sociable and despite my continuous jogs of shame back to the baseline I thoroughly enjoyed myself!
It is a fantastic cardio workout, largely as you have barely anytime to consider how puffed you are, so focused you become on returning the ball or running the drill well.
I had a cheeky peek around the bright yellow and purple changing rooms and the climbing area and will certainly be back soon. Westway has a real friendly feel of a community gym with a great sense of scale and space.
£5 one off joining fee at Westway