That’s Ace! The thwacking sound of a tennis racket on a ball can reduce anxiety with its deep bass, subtle crispness and variable pitch

  • Research suggests listening to tennis balls being hit can reduce anxiety
  • Listening to the ‘deep base note’ of a strike can reduce stress by up to half

Watching the action unfold on Centre Court can be a nail-biting affair. So you might be surprised to learn the thwack of a tennis racket on ball has actually been shown to put the bounce back into your life.

Described as a deep bass note with a subtle crispness and variable pitch, it can reduce anxiety, research has revealed.

Scientists found stress levels dropped by up to half for those diagnosed with chronic anxiety after they listened to the ‘soothing sound’ of tennis.

The researchers believe the reason may be that the frequencies and other characteristics of the sound of a racket hitting the ball have a calming effect on the brain because the rhythm generated – of around one second between each stroke – is similar to the beat of popular music.

Stress reliever? Researchers in China found that listening to tennis balls being hit can reduce anxiety by up to half 

The study involved 100 people with chronic anxiety who were divided into two groups, one of which listened to tennis for five minutes, with anxiety levels measured before and after.

The symptoms stayed the same among the control group, but fell significantly in the tennis group.

The decline varied among individuals, but was up to 50 per cent. Writing in the journal Frontiers In Psychology, the researchers from China West Normal University claimed the stable rhythm allowed the brain to predict the next sound, creating a sense of order and calmness.