Tennis is one of those sport that can be challenging to pick up later in life. However, with the right mindset and approach, you can make this new tennis adventure quite gratifying and enjoyable. In this post, I’ll share 10 advises to consider when learning tennis as an adult.
These are 10 tennis tips for adult beginners:
- Invest in tennis lessons
- Find the right coach
- Be coachable
- Be patient
- Get extra practice
- Set up goals & objectives
- Don’t get hurt
- Be social
- Be regular with your tennis
- Use the proper equipment and training aids
Below, I’ll discuss more on each advice and on the impact they can have on your tennis game.
1. Invest in Tennis Lessons
If you’re really serious in learning this game, it’s vital that you get help from a professional that can guide you through the right path and progression. Don’t just take one lesson, try to stay as consistent as you can with your tennis instructor.
Tennis lessons can be expensive
I understand that tennis lesson can be costly, so if getting a tennis instructor is not an option, you can look for college or high school tennis players that can help you with your game. It’ll be more affordable than a tennis coach. If you’re still not ready to get one on one help, joining a clinic or group lesson might be a good option.
Online tennis resources & lessons
So, if taking private or group lessons is not possible for you, the next best alternative is to learn by watching tennis lessons online. In youtube, there many instructional videos on how to learn tennis, from hitting a forehand and backhand to game strategies, for the advanced players. There are plenty of great online resources to learn tennis from the comfort of your home. Two youtube channels that I like are Top Tennis Training and Essential Tennis, they really have great content.
To find out more about online tennis instructions, read the following article “10 YouTube Channels to Learn Tennis”
2. Find the Right Coach
A recommended coach
If you’re determined to learn tennis is critical that you find a good coach that fits you; you need the right mentor on the court! The best way to find the right instructor is to have them recommended to you, either by a friend or a person that can endorse the instructor because they played with them.
It’s difficult to find the right coach, especially one that suits your personality and that can actually help you improve your game. Certain coaches might be good players and have all types of certification; however, that doesn’t guarantee that they are the right instructors for you.
A coach that knows how to keep you motivated
A good instructor will know how to keep you motivated to stay on the game and guide you through the process of becoming a tennis player. Many people quit tennis too soon because they get discouraged by the difficulty of the game and all the technical aspects of it. That’s why is important that you find an instructor that can help you gain confidence in your game and reach small goals continually; this is essential to stay motivate and keep playing.
3. Be Coachable
The importance of being coachable
Whether you’re taking private lessons, group clinics or watching online instructional videos, it’s imperative to have a coachable approach. When you’re a coachable person, it means that you’re willing to take some else’s recommendation and/or criticism with an open mind and a positive attitude.
By being coachable, you can accelerate your learning progress, and make the journey more enjoyable and pleasant.
You’re a beginner
Understanding that you’re the beginner and that your instructor is the expert, can be difficult to accept, especially for your ego. Some of you might have jobs where you get to tell people what to do and are not used to take orders from others. However, when you’re on the court, remember that you’re the student and that you should take with a positive attitude what your instructor asks you to do, even if it makes you look ridiculous.
Humility & Growth mindset
Humility is an excellent quality to have when you’re learning new skills. By being humble, you’ll feel more comfortable with making mistakes; this will allow you to make faster progress in your tennis game. Moreover, having a growth mindset can help you become a better tennis player. It’s crucial that you see tennis as a skill that can be learned through hard work and persistence.
4. Be Patient
It can be a challenging sport to learn
Tennis is a sport that has a lot of technical aspects, so it takes time to get good at it. It’s important to be patient when things get tough. There will be some days where you feel like you’re making a lot of progress, and others where you feel that you’re actually getting worse. It can be frustrated! I know! However, remind yourself that, like any new skill that you’ll try to learn, it’ll take time.
Slow & steady
It’s essential that you don’t rush through the learning process. If your coach starts by hand feeding balls to you, it’s for a reason; make sure to do it the best way you can. Remember, that every time you’re on the court, you should accomplish small tasks that’ll get you closer to your goals. As the old saying goes “Slow and steady wins the race.”
5. Get Extra Practice
Practice, practice … , and practice
Taking lessons, or playing once a week, won’t take you too far. Imagine, if you had to go to school only one day a week, it would have taken you decades to graduate; it’s the same with any skills or activity, and tennis is not an exception. To get better at tennis, you have to practice and practice, and…yes, continue practicing. This sport requires players to develop proper muscle memory, and the only way to do this is by doing adequate repetition of the strokes, over and over again.
One way to get extra practice is by hitting against the wall; it’s being the preferred partner by tennis players for decades. However, make sure that when you practice on the wall, always to do it with proper technique. Remember that muscle memory doesn’t discriminate between good or bad technique. If you practice the wrong way, you’ll develop bad habits that will be detrimental to your game.
Practice at home
There are different ways you can practice tennis from the comfort of your home. You’ll just need your racquet, the appropriate balls, sufficient space, and a few tennis aids. For example, you can practice at home by hitting against a tennis rebounder. Check the following video to see what I’m referring to:
To find out more about this Tennis Rebounder, click here.
Also, If you want to find more ways to practice tennis at home, check the following article: “10 Ways to Practice Tennis at Home”
6. Set Up Goals & Objectives
Practice with purpose
Every time you’re on the court, hitting against the wall, or just practicing by yourself at home, make sure to have an objective in mind on what you want to achieve in that specific moment. For your tennis practices to be more effective, it’s crucial that you always practice with a purpose. This will help you to focus on that one thing you’re trying to work.
When you practice with a purpose, it’s easier to track your progress, as well as, to stay motivated. On the other hand, without objectives, your practices can become quite inefficient, to the point that they become more detrimental than helpful.
Another advice is to have realistic expectations. Don’t expect to engage in long rallies by your second or third lesson. Although some people pick up the game really quick, as a tennis coach, I can tell you that for most people, it takes some time before they can actually play a game of tennis. It’s essential that with the help of your instructor(if you have one) to set up realistic expectations and goals that you can achieve in a specific timeframe.
Medium & long-term goals
It’s also important to set up medium and long term-goals on what is that you want to achieve from your tennis practices. Are you looking to become a competitive tennis player, who participates in tournaments? Or Are you just looking to get good enough and become a recreational player, so you can play with your friends from work? Whatever your goal might be, it’s essential that you explicitly know it so you and your coach can work towards it, in the most effective way.
7. Don’t Get Hurt
Take Care of Yourself
How you ever heard that saying “Health is everything” Well, I think is very accurate. You can have all the money in the world, but if you’re not healthy to enjoy it, what’s the point? When you’re on the court, you need to take care of yourself; if you get injured, you would have a hard time being consistent with your practices, and you’ll be more likely to quit.
Warm-Up, Cool-Down & Stretch
Remember always to warm up, as well as, to cool down before and after your tennis practices. You can do this by stretching and doing other light exercises; if done correctly, you’ll decrease your chances of getting injure considerably. I know your schedule might be busy and that you are limited on time, but it’s essential that you take at least 10 to 5 minutes to warm up and cool down.
Move the balls
One common mistake that beginner tennis players do is to play while there are balls on the court. Yes, I know the chances you’ll step on the ball are slim, but why would you even want to take that risk? Believe it or not, I’ve seen it happened many times, where players step on the ball while playing and twist their ankle… don’t be that person, please do yourself a favor and move the balls off the court!
Hard-thru & clay courts
For the health of your knees, especially your joints, try to play on clay or hard-thru whenever you can; those kind of courts are more easy on your knees than hard courts. Depending on where you live, clay courts might not be available in your area. If this is the case, try to get yourself at least a good pair of shoes, that’ll give you more support.
8. Be Social
A social sport
According to the Copenhagen City Heart Study, playing tennis can potentially increase your live expectancy by approx. 10 years. The researchers attribute this result to the fact that tennis is a very social sport. This study found that sports that are more social are more beneficial than solitary sports. So if you just picked up tennis, be ready to make new friends on the court.
Learn with a friend
When learning a new skill or activity, it’s easier when you do it with a friend. If you’re thinking of starting to play tennis, try to convince a friend to join you on this new adventure. Besides making the process fun for both, it’ll help you guys split the cost of lessons and court fees. On top of that, you guys will be able to practice together, as well as, to support each other.
Join a tennis league or club
Joining a tennis league is great to improve your game while meeting new people and having fun. There are tennis leagues for all levels from beginners to advance tennis players. If you’re on the U.S., you can join a tennis league through the USTA, which stand for the United States Tennis Associations.
Also, you can meet new tennis partners by joining a club. Usually, there are players of all skill levels and ages. And many of them are also looking for new partners to hit with. So, this is another excellent way to play and practice your tennis.
Take group lessons
Although it’s preferable to take private lessons, signing up for group lessons or clinics is another beneficial way to improve your game and get some individual instruction. Just make sure to join the appropriate clinic that fits with your age and level.
9. Be Regular with your Tennis
It’s crucial that you’re consistent with your tennis practices. If you’re serious and are looking to improve your game, It’s essential that you practice regularly, at least once a week. If you don’t play too often, you might be able to maintain your same level; however, It’ll be unlikely that you will see considerable improvements In your game.
Two steps forward & two step back
I’ve seen people putting a lot of effort and time in their tennis game during a few months, just to later take a break for a month or two. And when they come back to the court, all their improvements are gone because they didn’t stay consistent. This is especially important for beginners because your muscle memory is still developing, so if you stop, you are more likely to lose the improvements you previously achieved on the court.
Exercise & other racquet sports
Although I know that being regular with your tennis throughout the year can be difficult, make your best to practice at least once every 2 weeks or month. If for some reason you cannot practice tennis as often, try to practice other racquet sports that will help with your eye-hand coordination, as well as footwork. Also, be sure to stay in shape and continue exercising even if it something not related to tennis.
10. Use the Proper Equipment & Training Aids
Before I get into how tennis aids can be advantageous for your tennis game, let me remind you about the tennis equipment you should get. Although this might sound obvious, I’ve seen many adult players not using the proper tennis gear on the court.
Be sure to get a racquet that fits your needs; there are good racquets available for beginner players that are not that expensive. Next, get good tennis shoes. Don’t use running shoes! Tennis shoes have more support which is needed on the court. Not having the proper tennis shoes can increase chances of spraining your ankle or getting injured.
As a tennis coach, I’ve seen how using the proper tennis training aids can speed up the learning process, especially for beginners. These tennis aids will allow you to practice, in a more effective way, specific strokes and its technical aspects. In addition, these aids will provide you with the opportunity of getting extra practices off the court, which is convenient for those who cannot be on the court, as often as they’ll like to.
To find out more about some of the best training aids you can use, check the following article “10 Tennis Training Aids for Beginners!”
All Things Considered
If I would have to add something else to this list, it’ll be to remember always to enjoy the journey, even when it gets tough. Before I finish this post, I’ll like to give a special shout-out to my colleagues that contribute to this post with their great ideas! Last but not least, if you have any other ideas or tips for people who are starting tennis later in life, please share them with us in the comment section!