You’ve made a great decision. Tennis is a lifetime sport and can be played much of the year outdoors at a fairly low cost.
It also will help you to network with an entire new group of friends who also play the game. Another great advantage is that tennis can be played between the sexes.
Have you ever heard that saying, “It’s a lot harder than it looks”? Well, tennis is like that. You will not look anything like those pros that you see on television during your first months of picking up a racquet.
In fact, it might be helpful to erase those images of your favorite pro player gliding around the court effortlessly, hitting shot after shot inside the lines with tremendous power.
I repeat: you will look nothing like that player in your first few months. Concentrate on you and take great pride in the small advances that you will make. Tennis can be a difficult sport to pick up as an adult, but with the proper approach, you can be hitting the ball consistently over the net in a fairly short amount of time.
Here are some helpful steps to take to figure out how to learn tennis:
As with any new endeavor, especially if you want to know how to learn tennis, it will be helpful to find one or more like-minded people to encourage you when you want to quit and to hold you accountable when you want to skip a workout or lesson. Tennis is an extremely social sport and your first dip into it should have a social aspect as well. Find a friend or two who also want to learn the game and proceed as a group. This will also give you a built-in partner or partners on the same skill level as you, which will make for fun hitting together soon. Having a support network around is key to how to learn tennis.
How to Learn Tennis By Watching Other People
If you haven’t already, watch some matches on television to get a basic understanding of the sport. Note how the score is kept, where players stand, what they do each game, what rules you can pick up while watching. The rules of tennis are super simple, another part of the appeal of the game.
You basically have to hit the ball over the net on the fly after not having let it bounce more than once on your side.
While you’re watching the tube, pop in an instructional video or two and watch those as well. You might even want to pick up your racquet and follow along.
Pay close attention to how the instructor hits the forehand and backhand, the foundations of the game, called ground strokes. This is a good second step in how to learn tennis.
How to Learn Tennis by Taking Lessons
As you get organized and arrange your first lesson, you can also go out for individual practice. Find a wall that is at least six feet tall and practice hitting forehands and backhands against it. These types of walls can be found many times where courts are located. Often, one side of one court will have a small wall attached to the back fence, usually made out of wood.
Practice Makes Perfect
If no one is on that court, help yourself to a little practice. Don’t try and hit the ball hard, just try to make solid contact after one bounce and develop your hand-eye coordination. Don’t get discouraged if you miss a ball or two; you are training your eyes to align with your hands, which is not easy if you think about it. It will take time to master this skill. Hold your racquet with a firm grip, placing it in your hand as if you are shaking hands with it.
How to Use the Non-Dominant Hand
Use your dominant hand to hit your forehand. You can practice the backhand using one or both hands for support and guidance of the racquet. Do your best to keep the ball from flying over the wall and challenge yourself to continually exceed the maximum number of times that you can hit the ball off of one bounce.
You might be shocked at the amount of progress that you make after even 30 minutes of this drill. Such individual court time is an invaluable part of how to learn tennis.
Now that you have a decent understanding of the rules and have hit the ball a bit, it’s time to get training from someone who has played the game a lot longer than you. Here, you have several choices, depending on your budget and commitment to getting better:
How to Learn Tennis in Group Lessons-
You can take a group lesson at the local YMCA or recreation center. These are usually free of charge and can be a lot of fun to get started. You can also take a group lesson at a country club or other private facility. This will cost a bit, but not too much, and also includes the fun group dynamic.
Take Semi-Private Lessons – You can sign up for semi-private lessons with a professional at a private facility. If you have a friend or two that wants to get serious about tennis, this is a good option if you can afford it.
How to Learn Tennis with Private Tennis Lessons –
The final option is the most expensive: private lessons with a coach, just you and him/her working one-on-one for an hour or two a week. This can run as much as $90/hour, but your improvement will be rapid.
Most beginners start with a group lesson of some sort. The laughs that you will share on the court will keep tennis fun, as it should be. You will definitely need lessons to develop some of the more difficult shots in tennis, such as the serve and volley.
How to Learn Tennis – Be Social
Even if you don’t plan on rushing to the net when you play singles, you will most likely play doubles with friends and will need to know what to do when standing at the net during those games.
Tennis is a technique sport, meaning that players of all sizes and shapes can enjoy it and the biggest and strongest don’t necessarily win. That’s one of the beauties of the sport. However, because it is a technique sport, certain movements need to be ingrained properly if you are to become a consistent player.
That’s why you need outside training.
Sure, there are people who simply pick up a racquet and start hitting, but no matter how athletic they are, they will reach a certain plateau (perhaps intermediate level) and never advance past it without lessons.
Lessons are an important factor in how to learn tennis.
Once you have completed a cycle of lessons and want to see how you are doing, arrange for regular times to hit around or play with your friends. If the truth be told, “just hitting around” with friends has limited benefit to the person who is learning how to play.
It is far more beneficial to play a real match, because many players can hit the ball hard when there is nothing on the line, but real matches train you early to trust your strokes, even in pressure situations.
Developing a Passion for Tennis
More than most sports, tennis is about self confidence, and you’ll need a large measure of that in the early stages. Look up tennis leagues in your area and other events.
The USTA has constant leagues and tournaments based on different playing levels; some even feature beginners like yourself. Once you find a group of players with whom you share a similar skill level, try and establish a certain time each week to play. It goes without saying that you will advance more quickly playing singles than doubles. Try to do both to maximize your fitness benefits and also continue to make tennis fun and social
Hopefully, these tips have proven to be helpful on how to learn tennis. Don’t be discouraged as you learn the game. You will get better with practice and instruction and will then have a sport that you can play for the rest of your life. There are many hours of fun to be had on the court. Get your start now!
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