When to start tennis lessons?

When to start tennis lessons?
  • When you feel ready and motivated, start taking tennis lessons as soon as possible.
  • Don’t just run through the motion; you’ll be wasting your money.
  • For Children, their Attention Span, Tennis Goals, Interest in other sports and Social Aspect plays a major factor.
  • For Adults – Income, overall tennis goals and accessibility is an important consideration.

   Your Guide

Gavin Davison   Gavin Davison

Ah, the memories!

I first picked up a tennis racket when I was eight years of age, SWINGING violently at a sponge ball and barely making contact.

Believe it or not, I was one of the later starters at my local club. Other kids had already been hitting balls around since they were 4 or 5, so you could say that I was a little late to the party. 

With that said, you can obviously start playing tennis at any age, including in your adult life.

I’ve coached players that only picked up a racket for the first time in their 30s, and some were even later than this.

But specifically for TENNIS LESSONS, it depends, is the short answer.

Perhaps the best way for me to answer this question is to break this into two groups – Children and Adults.

Determining factors – children

a) Attention span

For me, this is a big one. This was particularly apparent when coaching a group of six 3-year-olds.

The parents were PAYING decent money for their toddlers to come and learn the game, but at that age, to put it bluntly, it’s glorified babysitting.

With that said, kids mature at different rates.

While some 10-year-olds may STRUGGLE to maintain focus for a one-hour tennis session, some 7-year-olds might concentrate for 2 hours.

So as I say, it depends on the child, and you should observe your child’s average attention span before enrolling them in the right class. 

b) Tennis goals

This might be a little difficult to comprehend for children, but as a parent, you could ask questions to your child to see what they’d like to do with their tennis.

For me, it was easy, as a 10-year-old, I knew I wanted to be as good as I could POSSIBLY be.

Therefore, for my parents, they felt it justifiable to get me started with individual lessons, within their financial capabilities, of course.

But for some kids, they might just be looking to have FUN.

In this case, it’s better to get them started with group lessons, where they will socialize and make friends.

c) Interest in other sports

For young children, I’m a firm believer that they should TRY and PLAY as many different sports as possible – both boys and girls.

This is a great way for kids to assess what sports they actually like the best, and their enthusiasm towards each sport will usually serve as a pretty good indicator as to whether they want to PURSUE it or not.

For example, if you see that a child loves football, and they go to the pitch every week with a big smile on their face, it’s safe to say that this is a good sign.

But if they drag themselves onto the tennis court with a FROWN, it might be time to pack the lessons in and explore other areas.

d) Social aspect

I might not be a parent myself, but I know that friendships are CRITICAL for a child’s growth and happiness.

In fact, this is true for adults too, with socializing having many health benefits on physical and mental health.

But specifically for this area, if you feel that your child will meet other kids with similar INTERESTS, it could be a good time to check out some local group sessions and see what’s available.

Determining factors – adults

i) Your income

While kids only need to worry about getting to the court and having fun, as adults, we have a few more responsibilities to worry about!

Tennis is an EXPENSIVE sport, there is no hiding it, and lessons do come at a cost.

Individual lessons are naturally more expensive than group sessions, but if you want to improve your game as quickly as possible, this is the best way to go.

However, regardless of what tennis lessons you choose, you have to do the math and make sure that you can afford it.

ii) Overall goals with tennis

This is easier to assess as an adult, and of course, we all have our own goals and AMBITIONS with the game.

If you simply want to improve your level, and you’re not overly bothered about your rate of improvement, group classes will be perfect.

But if you want to maybe RAMP things up a bit and start to compete in tournaments or local leagues, locking in a blend of groups and private lessons is also a good option.

But just to stress once more, it’s important to ensure that your decisions line up with your current financial situation.

iii) Accessibility

In short, if the nearest tennis lessons offered are miles away, then it might not be FEASIBLE for you to take classes, period.

However, if you have a local club with a decent coaching team, then it’s clear that tennis lessons are accessible in your local community.

One thing I would advise is to check out the coaching team and see what kind of background they have.

If you live in or near a BIG CITY, you might be spoiled for choice regarding what clubs and coaches are around, which means you can be picky.

But if not, it’s even more important to do your homework and find the right coaches to help you improve your game.

My conclusion

Although I’ve discussed many factors regarding when to START lessons, there is one thing that should determine your personal choice.

For me, you should only start tennis lessons if you feel ready and motivated to do so. 

These two elements have to be present, for if you feel capable and ready to take lessons but might just be running through the motions, you’ll be wasting your MONEY.

But if you are chomping at the bit to take lessons, for any reason, make sure you take the opportunity and get started as soon as possible.

The sooner you start, the sooner your game will improve, and the sooner you will feel great satisfaction with how you can play the game! 

I’d love to hear your own thoughts on this. If you’ve anything to add, do share it in the comments below. 

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