The famous phrase, “Anyone for tennis?” is very apt, since just about anyone can play – and the pleasure that knocking a ball over a net can bring should never be underestimated. Just as important as the enjoyment of the game, the health benefits of playing a sport give you a chance to socialise with like-minded people. So where do you begin?
Buying a tennis racket
You can pick up a new tennis racket for as little as £10. You don’t need to spend the earth to get a beginner’s racket – you could even buy a used racket from online auction sites. If you find you enjoy playing, you can always upgrade to a more expensive, higher quality racket later. Some clubs will loan you a racket when you go to play there.
Finding tennis courts or clubs
It’s very easy to find local courts or clubs. Simply search online for tennis in your area – this will give you a full list of local facilities.
Most will offer tennis lessons for beginners, with experienced coaches who will teach you the best techniques. If you want to practice without spending money on court hire, you could even use your own outside space to brush up your skills.
There are many free resources online to help people get into tennis, such as videos and tutorials that teach you the basics and how to hone your skills. A simple search – by typing “tennis coaching online” into a search engine – will come up with a lot of options, including free-access tennis sites and many tuition videos.
With more than 20,000 tennis courts in the UK and thousands of clubs and local leagues, you can play for fun or even in a more competitive environment if you feel up to it.
Various schemes have been set up to encourage people to take up tennis. Tennis for Free is a community sports charity that works with local councils, coaches and tennis clubs, running affordable coaching sessions for the community using park facilities. As a result, many areas have “walk on and play” courts.
There are also options for disabled players, as tennis can be adapted to suit people of all abilities – as the Paralympic Games 2016 wheelchair tennis champion, Gordon Reid of Team GB, has proved.
Lawn Tennis Association schemes
The LTA supports different schemes to make tennis accessible for all including Go Hit It, Advantage Tennis Training and Tennis Tuesdays – the latter runs in partnership with sportswear manufacturer, Nike. Run by professional coaches, the initiatives aim to introduce beginners to tennis; coaching them in various skills and techniques until all areas of the game are covered.
Although nothing can guarantee you’ll emulate Andy Murray’s success, getting into tennis could be one of the best decisions you’ve ever made. So, clear your calendar and search for your nearest session, now!