The Early History of Tennis



After 20 years as the dean of The University of Alabama School of Law, Kenneth Randall went on to be the president and CEO of iLaw and iLawGlobal located in Tuscaloosa, Alabama in 2012. In his spare time, Kenneth Randall enjoys playing tennis.

While some historians believe the ancient Egyptians played a form of tennis, and there are records of Tuscan villagers playing a version of it with their hands in the fifth century, a more recognizable game was played in an enclosed area by monks in Italy and France in the 12th century.

The French aristocracy adopted the sport, and they named it Real Tennis while developing a unified system of rules and equipment by the 16th century. The French monarch, Francis I (1515-1547), was passionate about the game and oversaw the construction of numerous courts and encouraged other social classes in his kingdom to engage in the sport.

Meanwhile, England’s Henry VIII was an expert player himself during his reign between 1509-1547, and he had a court built at the Royal Palace of Hampton Court that is still in use today.


Tennis Body Mechanics Myths

Tennis Body Mechanics pic

Tennis Body Mechanics

An Alabama attorney with nearly 35 years of legal experience, Kenneth “Ken” Randall serves schools by providing educational content in his role as president and CEO of iLaw and iLawGlobal in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Outside of his work life, Kenneth Randall is an avid tennis player.

Tennis is a leisure activity that helps promote physical fitness. For new players, it can be tempting to try to emulate everything one sees in tennis instructional manuals and other learning tools, but sometimes such rigidity can be counterproductive to progressing as a tennis player. Here are some tips about body movement that run counter to popular wisdom, but are actually fundamental to becoming a better player.

Many tennis players subscribe to the notion that the body should be moving forward on every shot. While this might be ideal, the very nature of tennis precludes such a thing, because many shots require the body to be moving sideways, and sometimes even backwards. Instead of trying to fight against the body’s mechanics and force an unnatural motion, it’s more advantageous to learn how to work with your body’s natural movements while shotmaking. It’s good to move one’s weight into the shot when circumstances allow, but it’s also important not to be afraid to make a shot while moving backwards or sideways.

Similarly, many players have been told that they must bend their knees on every shot. Again, while this is ideal when a player has time to set up perfectly and wait for the ball, sometimes the circumstances of play simply do not allow it. It’s natural for the body to bend the knees, actually, so focusing so hard on doing it takes vital mental energy away from other aspects of shotmaking that require concentration. Also, it brings unnecessary critical thought in response to situations when one needn’t bend the knees to make a shot. As with body weight movement, leg movement is more about athleticism and leaning into the body’s natural movements than trying to artificially introduce knee-bending into every shot.

Tennis Offers Great Health Benefits

Tennis Health Benefits pic

Tennis Health Benefits

Kenneth Randall is a former law professor and dean at the University of Alabama School of Law. He currently serves as the President and CEO of iLaw and iLawGlobal in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Outside his professional life, Kenneth Randall is an avid tennis player.

Tennis is one of the most enjoyed recreational sports, ranking right up there with golf as one of the most popular active leisure pursuits. What most people might not know, however, is that tennis is also one of the most efficient workouts out there. Playing tennis for an hour burns almost 600 calories, and the game also keeps the mind sharp as well.

According to physician Ralph Paffenbarger, playing tennis for 3 hours a week reduces a person’s risk of death by 50% regardless of cause. He came to that conclusion after a two-decade long study that involved more than 10,000 individuals.

Dr. Joan Finn, of Southern Connecticut State University, found that those who play tennis regularly report higher overall self-esteem and possess more vitality than those who don’t. They also report less instances of anxiety, depression and other negative emotions.

Researchers at the University of Illinois have found that playing tennis regularly can generate new synaptic connections in the brain, as the game involves evolving strategies and on-the-fly thinking.

Tennis also promotes cardiovascular health because it’s a whole body workout. Rather than performing the same actions over and over, as in a traditional workout, tennis keeps the body off balance, hence building strength in muscle groups rarely used in most other activities.