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Tennis History of Tennis Ten Things All Kids Should Know About Tennis Purchasing Tennis Equipment Tennis Terminology Why Participate in Tennis




What is Tennis?

Tennis is a game played with rackets and a light ball on a rectangular court.  It can be played with two or four players who hit the ball back and forth over a net that divides the court.  The court can be made of grass, clay, or asphalt.

Who plays Tennis?

Tennis is for girls and boys starting at age 5.  Lessons teach your child the fundamentals and skills of tennis in a fun, instructive and supportive environment.  

The types of Tennis instruction....

Tennis instruction comes in four types: recreational programs, group lessons, semi-private lessons and private lessons.

Recreational programs are run by a local recreation department or summer day camp.  It is a nice way to introduce children to the sport. It is usually very inexpensive, less than $3 per hour, and racquets are usually available to use.  Programs emphasize fun and are informal.  However, there is little instructor time per student and it lacks individual attention.

Group lessons are the most common type of lessons.  Groups range from three or to as large as ten. The lessons can be taught by a pro or by a high-school/college player.  The cost is fairly low ranging from $5 to $10 per hour.  Games are fun and it is usually well organized.  Children get to socialize while learning.  However, one on one attention with instructor is limited.  Drills are not always conducive to your child’s needs.

Semi-private lessons work best if the two players are about the same skill level.  These lessons should be taught by an experienced pro.  Your child will have a significant amount of individual attention from the instructor and plenty of competition with their lesson partner.  However, the cost is higher ranging $12 to $40 per hour.  There is a limited time with full court hitting and your child could become frustrated if the other child is slower at learning techniques.

Private lessons should be taught by an experienced pro.  This will usually produce the quickest improvement in your child’s game.  There are many advantages as well as disadvantages to taking private lessons. 

Advantages Disadvantages
Undivided attention of the Pro Much more expensive than group lessons
Best way to fix a problem Could be uncomfortable for child to interact with Pro alone
Rapid improvement Fewer “fun” games are available
Full activity for the session Less socializing
Full court hitting time There is no peer to compete with

Age Requirements...

Tennis classes are usually grouped by age and skill level.  Most organizations will have a beginner, intermediate, and advanced groups.

Beginner classes are designed to introduce the fundamentals of the game in a fun environment.

Intermediate classes will refine stokes and play strategies as well as begin competitive play.

Advanced classes are for those who are ready for a higher level competitive play in leagues and tournaments

Many children are ready by the age of five to enroll in a group tennis lesson, and almost all are ready by seven. As a parent you should seek a clinic that will emphasize fun while teaching the basic skills of tennis. At this age private lessons are not recommended and knowing left from right is very helpful for group lessons.

By the age of 7 or 8 years old you can introduce your child to semi-private lessons.  Semi-private lessons will allow your child to develop good skills, learn how to rally and score. It would be beneficial if you could orchestrate lessons with some of their friends.  At this age you can start to encourage free play and having a friend to play/practice with would be great.  You should still continue with group lessons since it will allow for additional play. 

You could begin private lessons at the age of 9 or 10 to complement group or semi-private lessons. 





Cost To Participate...

Depending on whether you are doing group, semi-private or private lessons the cost will vary.  Private lessons with a pro are scheduled in one hour increments and the fee can be as low as $40 an hour to as high as $120 an hour.  The rate varies based on facility (indoor/outdoor), location, child’s age and the experience of the instructor. 

Group lessons will run about $150 - $180 for younger children and $200- $250 for older children per session.  Sessions are normally for a 6 -8 week period for 1 – 1.5 hours per week depending on age level. Some organizations offer 1 week clinics that will cost from $60 - $180 for the week.   

Indoor Tennis Clubs often require a membership to play and this could run about $70 per year for a child under 18.  In addition, when you child begins free play court fees for indoor play run about $40 per hour.

When does competitive play start?

If you want to play tennis competitively there are competitions in various age groups from 8 to 18.  Divisions include 10 and under, 12 and under, 14 and under, 16 and under and 18 and under. These are at local, county, national and international, level.

Practice makes perfect...

As with any other sport if your child wants to improve their tennis skills they need to practice.  The ball machine is always a wonderful way of encouraging children to continue playing and practicing. A great benefit of the ball machine is that it can be used for family fun and all levels of players can take turns hitting. 

Tennis courts are located all over the world both indoors and outside so you can easily find a location for practice. Hard courts are the most common type of court. You can check for courts at your local schools, civic/recreation center or park.

Encouragement verbally, physically and emotionally is the key to your child’s success in tennis. Parents can promote an interest in tennis by spending time with their children on the court, in the driveway or with the ball machine before and after their regular lessons.


Equipment Needed....

To participate in tennis you need a racquet, tennis balls, and tennis shoes.

It is also important to drink plenty of water when you play tennis so a sports water bottle is recommended.  You may also consider having a towel to wipe away sweat.  Sun screen is a must if you will be playing outdoors.

For more details on tennis equipment click on  Purchasing Tennis Equipment.



United States Tennis Association:

Assoc. of Tennis Professionals:

Women's Tennis Association:

International Tennis Federation: