Last Sunday, I joined a tennis meetup group. Most of them are beginners which reminded me so much of my early days playing tennis. I used to have a tennis group just like theirs. I think we were more addicted than they are and maybe we were a level higher when we started getting together. Anyways, playing with them inspired me to write this – My seven tips for people who want to try tennis. Why seven? It’s my favorite number so why not.
1. If you haven’t yet, watch pro tennis match highlights on youtube.
Many people take tennis lessons but stop after several sessions. I think the main reason is because majority of them don’t watch or have no appreciation for the game. They think tennis is cool and want to give it a try. A few lessons later, they find out how hard it actually is and quit. To avoid hitting and quiting, I suggest watching a few pro match highlights first. Take your pick from Roger Federer, Rafa Nadal, Maria Sharapova, Serena Williams or Victoria Azarenka. They usually have the best highlights. If you become bored and can’t even last 30 minutes watching, I’ll say this sport might not be for you. You might end up wasting your time and money. On the other hand if you find yourself watching highlights after highlights, congrats and join the club!
2. Find a court near you and if possible find a friend who will join you.
One of the struggles of tennis enthusiasts in the Philippines is the availability of tennis courts or the lack thereof. Also the rates on most are a bit high and they charge by the hour. If you’re still learning, this can really burn a hole in your pocket as you have to shoulder the full cost by yourself. But don’t be discouraged. There are courts that charge a one time guest fee per day. They range from 50-100 pesos ($1.00 – $2.00). You can also try looking for a friend who’ll join you. It will be more fun and you can split the cost.
3. Get a cheap racquet.
If you are rich and have money to burn then by all means buy whatever racquet your heart desires. But if you’re like me, I suggest buying the cheapest racquet in the mall or buying second hand. I got my first racquet from Toby’s for 1,200 pesos ($24). I’ve met people who bought theirs second-hand for 500 ($10). The reason for buying cheap is you don’t know yet what racquet will fit your game or playing style once you level up. Racquets don’t just differ in their paint jobs they also have different specifications. You will know more about this as you go along but the point is to not spend too much on something that you wont be using for good anyway. If there is one thing all tennis players have in common is that all of them have gone through more than one racquet in their lifetime.
4. Buy tennis shoes.
I know there are people who started their lessons using their running shoes. I am not one of them. If you read my first blog post, you know that I got the shoes before everything else. But that’s not why I’m telling you to buy tennis shoes. I played once in my runners/trainers (I wanted to preserve my Nike Lunarlons, silly me) and I kid you not, by the end of our game, three toenails were dead. If you love your toenails the way they are, get the right shoes.
5. Invest in lessons.
This would be the best time for me to tell you that tennis is very different from badminton. You cannot and will not be able to play right away without learning the basics. I paid for lessons for six months. I still hire a trainer whenever I want to work on something. Hitting the ball is easy, making it go where you want to is not. Also there’s a correct form when hitting forehands and backhands and the wrong form can cause injury. Find a trainer, most courts will have one then strike a deal.
6. As early as now I’m telling you that you need to be patient.
No one becomes a pro overnight and tennis is not an easy sport. They don’t call it a game of errors for nothing. So put in the time, work with your trainer, practice regularly and never give up. All of it will be worth it once you start playing matches. Doubles are fun but singles matches are more fulfilling. Before you know it you’re entering tournaments left and right.
7. I feel like this will be the deal breaker for some. Be prepared to be a shade or two darker.
Unless you will only play indoors or at night then this shouldn’t be a problem. However, majority of the tennis courts are outdoors and you might not be able to find a coach who will work with you after hours so just in case, I hope you’re okay with the tan lines. They are inevitable. Google tennis tan lines to see what I mean.
That’s it. I want to give more tips but I want to keep this short and sweet. I hope this helps. So in the words of Lorde “Let’s go down to the tennis court, and talk it up like yeah.” Happy hitting. 🙂