Are you are as excited about this year's Wimbledon Fortnight as every other tennis enthusiast is? Will this be the year that you finally take the plunge - take lessons so that you, too, can deliver those powerful serves and snappy backhands?
After the year we've just endured and the restricted activity we're still subject to, it sure would be nice to be active again, wouldn't it?
There's just one question: how much does it cost to learn how to play tennis?
As with many other ventures from leisure to academic, how much it costs depends on a whole host of factors.
Superprof explores them now and offers up some ballpark pricing.
Group Tennis Classes v. Private Lessons
The first factor to consider is how you want your tennis lessons structured. Would you be happy to join a class to learn tennis basics or would private lessons work better for you?
If you are like so many other burgeoning athletes - a bit self-conscious at the outset, the second choice might appeal to you more. On the other hand, consider that you'll eventually need someone to volley the ball with. Bouncing it off a wall or returning balls shot out of a tennis machine will only get you so far.
Besides, tennis is a social game. Unlike football and other team sports, tennis is played one-on-one or, at best, you might play doubles - two players on each side of the court. Thus, you will have to learn how to interpret your opponents' strategy and playing style, and gain insights to their motivation for the game.
Understanding all of that, taking group lessons would offer you a clear advantage because you would gain greater exposure to other tennis players.
Conversely - and confidence issues aside, if you prefer to just get the straight dope and then find other tennis players on your own, a private tennis coach would be for you.
A private coach can teach you all about the rules for playing and scoring, what a foot fault is and how you might qualify for a second serve because of let. They can help you position your body for optimal power in your swing and, for that matter, can teach you how to swing your racket for maximum effectiveness.
Unlike group lessons, whose focus is more on the mechanics of playing, individual lessons give you a fuller picture of the game: its rules and standards, as well as training your body to play.
If you were wondering how you could get into tennis, the type of lessons you want is the first variable to consider.
Tennis Lessons for Kids, Teens, Adults
The next question that needs answering is who the lessons are for.
Some tennis coaches particularly enjoy teaching children as young as four the rudiments of the game. They may have specially sized rackets for their young players and they make the lessons as fun and engaging as possible. For the youngest tennis players, lessons may only last 20 to 30 minutes, meaning that the price per lesson may be lower.
On the other hand, seeing as they have to have special skills to teach young children, they may charge a bit more.
The per-lesson cost generally increases the older the child-player gets. A coach would understandably command more for each session with, say, an eight-year-old than for one two years younger but, if the trainee is 10 or older, the fees would be a bit more.
Generally, the cost of tennis lessons for adolescents is about the same as for adult players and they last about as long; at least an hour, if not 90 minutes. They probably won't last any longer than that, though.
Some tennis coaches offer lessons to families. They generally cap the number of aspiring players to five or six family members and, for safety reasons, prefer that the youngest be at least four years old.
Such sessions are necessarily limited to teaching just the basics of tennis because Mum, Dad and older kids would have more stamina and focus than littler children do, and a better ability to understand when the coach explains the basic rules of tennis.
The cost for family tennis lessons is generally higher than for individual or group lessons but, because the whole family will benefit, you're getting a better value for your money than if you paid for individual lessons for every participating family member.
Tennis Lessons for Special Needs Players
Generally, when people think of athletes, wheelchairs and prostheses aren't included. That's such a shame because the Paralympics, and especially wheelchair tennis are as exciting as any other sports event/tennis match!
The Grand Slam tournaments - the US, Australian and French Open tournaments, as well as Wimbledon, have made wheelchair tennis a part of their programme. Besides those events, such athletes compete in tournaments all over the world.
To wit, the International Tennis Federation Uniqlo Tour consists of Men's, Women's and Quads divisions who not only compete in the Grand Slam tournaments but also in the Masters and several others, besides.
Of course, not every special needs tennis hopeful is wheelchair-bound; there are plenty of other conditions that make it more difficult for tennis enthusiasts to learn how to play the game they love.
That is why the Tennis Foundation has developed a programme of inclusive coaching that embraces aspiring players of all levels of ability. Tennis coaches who undergo their training course gain access to a host of coaching resources, including:
- Learning Disability tennis coaching factsheet
- Physical Disability tennis coaching factsheet
- Deaf tennis coaching factsheet
- Visually Impaired tennis coaching factsheet
- the also offer a guide to Visually Impaired tennis
- Disability tennis coaching resource
- Tennis Wheelchair maintenance and setup guide
Besides these valuable resources, they also publish resources for tennis coaches in the UK to help them better work with people of all disabilities.
Admittedly, it might be a bit more difficult to find a tennis coach in your area who can help other-abled tennis players learn the game and, if such a coach is available, they might charge a bit more for their lessons.
If you're looking for tennis lessons for yourself or an other-abled person, you might shop around to see if there is any grant money or concessions to be had. After all, why should the benefits of tennis be limited to only the standard segment of the population?
Average Cost of Tennis Lessons in the UK
So far, we've covered some of the main aspects to consider when shopping around for tennis lessons. As we've seen, who the lessons are for and how they will be delivered will impact how much they cost, but there is one more variable to consider.
If you live in a remote area where fewer people play tennis and fewer coaches can be found, you'll likely pay far more for your tennis lessons than if you lived in an area with an ample population of tennis players and coaches.
Now that we've added geography to the list of factors we need to consider in estimating the cost of tennis lessons, it's time to spill the beans: how much do tennis lessons cost, on average?
We found tennis lessons for as low as £3 (Manchester) and as high as £65 (London), and we were pleasantly surprised to find family tennis initiatives all over the country.
In Dorset, for instance, a family can sign on to play tennis for just £30 per year through that city's Tennis in the Park scheme while in Sheffield, their Lawn Tennis Association charges just £5 for a family of four to take part in tennis mini-lessons.
Of course, no matter where you live, you can take tennis lessons online. All you need are a decent webcam and a Superprof tennis coach who has tailored their brand of tennis instruction to remote delivery.
It seems counterintuitive that you could learn a sport from someone who might be miles away - in a different country, even, but judging by the success our Superprof tennis instructors have met and the rave reviews from their trainees, remote tennis obviously works.
Still, if you'd prefer a more 'present' Superprof tennis coach, there are hundreds of them scattered throughout the UK, ready for your call or message. A word of caution, though: you might be surprised by their low prices.
How to Save Money on Tennis Lessons
Paying for lessons isn't the only expense you'll incur when you're learning how to play tennis; you will also have to buy at least one tennis racket per player (if you're planning on family lessons), tennis balls, suitable shoes and maybe a few other accessories.
You might also put sun visors, water bottles, wristbands and/or towels, and a bag to carry everything on your shopping list.
You don't have to buy everything new, especially if you're not sure whether you're going to take tennis lessons long-term.
Rather than hitting up the stores that carry your favourite brands and sports equipment outlets, why not try second-hand shops and scan online marketplaces to see if you can get a good deal on your rackets?
Or, better yet: borrow a racket from your local community centre (if they have them). You could also see if there is an active Lawn Tennis Association chapter near you; they too might lend rackets and they may even rent out tennis balls.
Now that you have all the variables that might impact the cost of your tennis lessons in front of you, you only need your beginner's guide to tennis lessons to get started.