This article was supplied by Karina Weedon. Karina is the LTA coach at The Nomansland Tennis Club in the New Forest. To contact Karina call 01794 390304 or e-mail Karina
Is There a Good Age To Start Tennis Lessons?
All children develop at different ages - classes start for Pre-School ages: 3-5, Mini-Tennis from the age of 5/6 - 9/10 Junior tennis 9/10 - 18yrs.
What Equipment is Needed?
I would ask that all the child will require initially is a pair of trainers. [non marking soles] For mini - tennis the equipment you will require is the correct size tennis racket and mini-tennis balls which are graded in different colours Red [beginner], Orange [beginner/improver] Green [improver moving on to the use of a tennis ball].
Are There Any Particular Brands You Would Recommend?
There are different sizes of tennis rackets starting at 19" for a young player and go up to 27" which is a full size racket. In my opinion Slazenger is a particular good brand of mini tennis racket, however your Tennis Coach will be able to advise you on a suitable brand.
How Much Does Equipment Cost?
You shouldn't need to pay more than £20 for a mini-tennis racket. Rackets for older children start from £20 up to £150. Mini - Tennis balls vary in price from £15 - £20 per dozen.
Is There a Second Hand Equipment Market?
Your Tennis Coach can help you with the buying & selling of tennis rackets. Rackets that show signs of frayed strings and wear in one area on the frame should be avoided.
Is There Any Ongoing Equipment Maintenance Required?
Re-stringing may be required at some time and a change of grip. Also tennis balls wear out so will need to be replaced regularly.
Can You Recommend a Good Instruction Book?
I have not used this book but it may be useful.
How Much Do Lessons Cost?
The Nomansland Tennis Club programme starts at £3 for group lessons and upto £22 for an Individual lesson.
How can parents identify a good teacher/club (qualifications etc)?
The Lawn Tennis Association recommends Tennis Coaches that hold a current LTA Licence, this means they are qualified, insured and keep up to date with the modern game.
How Much Practice is Needed?
The Lawn Tennis Association recommend 2 - 4 hrs in a structured programme for 5/6 -9/10 age group, 5 hrs of tennis in the 9/10 - 12/13 age group, 12hrs of tennis per week 14 -16/17 years.
How Long Does It Take To Learn The Basics?
Some children pick up the fundamentals over a term [6 -8 weeks] others take longer.
Are There Qualifications To Aim For?
When a child reaches their teens they will be able to take a tennis leader qualification. Some Tennis Coaches are able to help them in gaining this qualification.