This article is published in partnership with Rally Point Tennis.
If you’re looking for tennis lessons, the Grand Rapids area offers plenty of options. We even have local tennis lessons in Lowell, Michigan that are held at the Lowell High School.
However, before spending money on lessons, you need to ask yourself the following five questions:
- Why do I want to take tennis lessons?
- How are tennis lessons structured?
- What equipment do I need for tennis lessons?
- Should I sign up for private or group tennis lessons?
- How do I know if a tennis coach is any good?
Only after you know the answers to these questions can you be assured that you’re choosing a tennis coach and program that will help you reach your goals. Here’s a closer look at each one.
1. Why do I want to take tennis lessons?
Obviously, you want to play tennis, but take a moment to pinpoint exactly what you are hoping to achieve. Do you want to:
- Learn a new sport?
- Get physically fit?
- Play competitively?
- Meet new people?
- Introduce your child to tennis?
All are good reasons to take tennis lessons, but your answer will help guide you to the right program. As you talk to tennis coaches in Lowell and Ada, let them know your goals and ask how they can help you meet them.
2. How are tennis lessons structured?
Tennis lessons aren’t one size fits all, and you want to make sure that you are selecting a program that is appropriate for your experience. Here’s what to expect at each level:
Beginners: Lessons for beginners are designed for those who are completely new to the sport. Expect to learn the fundamentals: forehand, backhand, volley, overhead, and serve. Over time, drills and exercises will evolve as strokes improve and mental strength develops.
Intermediate: Intermediate players have some experience with the game, and lessons will improve current skills and make corrections to strokes. At this level, expect to learn how to add more power, control, and consistency with shots as well as focus on footwork and positioning.
Advanced: At this level, you have the skills of an experienced player and are looking for an edge on the competition. Advanced lessons may include drills for placing the ball, driving your body through a shot, placing your serve in a precise spot on the court, or learning new strategies for mental toughness to keep you in the game.
Strength or Cardio Training: Tennis is a great workout, and some tennis coaches offer lessons specifically to improve strength and cardiovascular health. These fast-paced lessons incorporate drills to strengthen your legs, core and arms as well as improve your speed on and off the court.
Even those with injuries or mobility concerns can take tennis lessons. Ask your tennis coach about what modifications can be made to accommodate your individual needs.
3. What equipment do I need for tennis lessons?
One nice perk of tennis is that you don’t need a lot of expensive equipment to play the sport. Wear comfortable clothes and athletic shoes to your lesson and bring a racquet and water bottle. That’s it!
If you’re signing up your child for lessons and need to buy them a racquet, use these size guidelines:
- Ages 0-4: 19″
- Ages 4-5: 21″
- Ages 6-7: 23″
- Ages 8-10: 25″
- Ages 10-12: 26″
- Ages 12 & up: adult size – 27″-29″
Caleb Kaufman, a Lowell tennis coach, explains how to find the right size racquet in this way:
“The best way to tell is to place the palm of your hand on the bottom of the racket and hold it to your side. If the racket is on the ground and your arm bends, it’s too big. If your arm hangs or if you need to lean to get the racket on the ground, get a larger racket. (Unless you’re using an adult racket).”
4. Should I sign up for private or group lessons?
It depends on your goals and your comfort level. Some people are more comfortable working one-on-one with a tennis coach while others prefer a group dynamic, particularly if they are looking to meet new people.
Here are the pros and cons of private vs. group tennis lessons:
Private Tennis Lessons
- Fully tailored one on one instruction
- Faster improvements
- Best format to implement specific stroke corrections
- Usually more expensive
- Some may find learning alone with no friends or peers to be less enjoyable
- Fewer gameplay exercises due to just one player
Group Tennis Lessons
- Cheaper lessons with valuable instruction
- May be more fun learning and socializing with peers
- Can be both casual and competitive
- Less opportunity for personalized instruction
5. How do I know if a tennis coach is any good?
It isn’t enough to type “tennis lessons near me” into a search engine and sign up with the first tennis coach you see. Instead, to make sure you are receiving your money’s worth, look for the following when evaluating tennis instructors:
Experience: Having an experienced tennis coach is especially important for anyone who is looking to play competitively, but even casual players need to be sure their instructor knows what they are talking about. Otherwise, you risk learning improper form or, worse, setting yourself up for an injury. A good coach doesn’t need to be a better player than you, but they should be competent on the court. Look for someone with at least three or four years of tennis experience, who has coached at least 10 people and has experience with the age group you want instruction for.
Enthusiasm: Enthusiasm is contagious, and if your tennis instructor is excited about the game, it is likely to make your lessons more effective and enjoyable. Instructors who aren’t passionate about being on the court could slow improvement, discourage you or your child and lessen the results of each session.
Patience: A good coach offers encouragement and can calmly provide recommendations. If an instructor shows frustration, it can make for a stressful lesson and, in the case of a child, it could turn them off to the sport forever. Players learn at different speeds and the quality of the coaching should remain high regardless.
Communication: Finally, don’t overlook an instructor’s communication method. A good tennis coach knows there are multiple learning styles and can break down instruction into actionable and understandable content for everyone.
If you are looking for tennis lessons in Grand Rapids, Lowell or Ada, Coach Caleb Kaufman is one example of an experienced instructor who currently has openings in West Michigan. He has played tennis for 18 years and coached for eight years. More than 400 players – of all ages – have benefited from his experience as their coach.
As the head coach for Rally Point Tennis, Coach Kaufman teaches one-on-one, group and cardio tennis lessons. View available time slots online and book your lesson today.