Tennis is a very widely played sport and can be extremely competitive. With youth programs being plentiful, many people experience the game at a young age. If someone has not experienced the game though, it may be difficult to start playing tennis for adults. However, there are ways to begin playing that may be helpful for those wanting to start the debut season of their tennis career as an adult.
Where do adults with no tennis experience start?
The first suggestion is to find listings for tennis lessons in your area. Getting into contact with a pro that can help properly assess one’s ability and tailor one’s training to help someone progress quickly and begin developing a natural play style. It can be much harder for adults to take up the game because lessons are more self-driven and there are fewer programs for them to enter into. At Elite Sports Clubs with a membership inquiry, you will receive information about getting a tennis assessment. The purpose is to get you onto the courts as soon as possible to begin utilizing the club and discovering the social aspect that accompanies the game along with the enjoyment of playing.
How does one get in contact with a pro?
At Elite, our membership department will give members a tennis brochure with the contact information of our tennis directors. This includes both the email and phone number of our pros. The best way to contact them would be through email. After getting into contact with the tennis director of one of the clubs, they will communicate with their pros to see which one is the best fit for a new player and their schedule.
What if someone doesn’t want to spend hundreds on equipment right away?
Equipment can be very expensive. No one wants to buy a racquet just to realize it is not the right fit or feel for them. Tennis clubs will often offer demo racquets for new players to try before they dive into such an expensive purchase. This can be the best way to find a racquet geared toward one’s playing style because different types of frames and strings each have their own properties. This also helps new tennis players to be more wary of stores that use sales pitches that are trying to sell them a racquet that isn’t the right one for them.
When does one start to get lessons?
After getting in contact with a pro, they will do a full assessment of one’s skill level and how they initially perform. From that assessment, they can instruct someone on what kinds of lessons would be best suited for a person. Private lessons generally cover the more specific sides of the game such as hitting form, placing the ball, and more technical work. Whereas group training is more match-oriented and can help a player develop the more strategic side of the sport and work on movement and how to rally.
Although a pro might suggest something, one’s personal comfort on the court plays a large factor in what they will do during lessons or what lessons they will take. The tennis pros will also show how to use our ball machines so one can practice hitting on their own before they start to establish partners to play with.
Easy steps to develop one’s play:
- Get on the courts: How else does one start playing, besides getting out there and doing it? The more time out there, the more experience someone gets under their belt.
- Take lessons with a pro: This offers a tailored experience and can help develop a player where they are weakest.
- Hit with the ball machine: This gives repetition that is needed in order to improve one’s ability and instinct. It also helps develop muscle memory.
- Play with similar level players: There are always other people at the same skill level looking to improve their game. Find some of these people either through the pros or on one’s own. This match play can help the development process naturally.
- Take group classes: This will aid in developing a playing network and will be a good showcase on how one will do in match play.
How does one know when they are ready for match play?
This can be a very gradual or a very quick process. It all depends on one’s personal athletic ability. The pros will rate a player during their assessment according to the NTRP scale. This is a numerical scale based on skill set by the USTA. This helps players see how they rank up compared to their competition with the low end of the scale being around a 2.5 and the highest being a 7.
Most of the club members at Elite fall near the rank of 3.5 but there are plenty of players of all skill levels. The pros will help arrange matches for a player to get them started. This can be a good way to see one’s comfort level and if they are truly ready to play against others yet.
How does one find a group to play with?
The pros will try their best to set someone up with other players near the same skill level. That is the first option on developing a network of players to be able to hit with. Other great options are group classes and organized tournaments. Group classes, such as cardio tennis, give players a chance to practice playing along with conditioning. It can be a great social experience as well. Through classes, it is easy to meet people who just want to hit around or want to play full matches.
With tournaments, there is usually a gathering alongside playing, to be social and get to know everyone between matches. Finding people to hit with can still be the trickiest part of the process because everyone plays differently and, depending on skill levels, it may be hard to match up with someone. The process is a true experience and really can show how social of a game tennis can be along with being such a skilled competition.Get more involved with Tennis!
Written by Mike Sharp; Elite Sports Club-West Brookfield Tennis Director & General Manager
Mike Sharp has been an Elite Tennis Pro since 1990. He is USPTA certified, a USRSA Master Racquet Technician, and the Elite Clubs pro shop buyer. Mike is President of the GMITA and also President of the WTA. He previously has served as the Head Pro for the J.C.C. summer camp, Director of Elm Grove’s summer tennis, and an assistant coach at Brookfield Central. He was named the Elite Sports Club-West Brookfield Tennis Director in 2002.