Whatever the standard of your tennis, there is always room for improvement. If you are looking for advice on how to hit the ball better and more consistently (technical), or using your shots in a smarter way (tactical), you will want to arrange a few lessons with a coach. There are many different levels of tennis coaches, and most will specialize in working with certain types of players.
For example, if you play at a high level you will be looking to work with a highly qualified coach who has a track record of success with top players. Such a coach will not come cheap. On the other hand, if you are a beginner, or are looking to offer your children a start in the game via group lessons, you will want a coach with a sound understanding of the basics, who is very patient, and who understands how to make learning the game fun. This is a very different skillset to that required by the advanced coach, but, due to the lower level of qualification required, such coaching tends to be available more cheaply.
The average cost of an hour’s tennis tuition in the USA is currently around $60. Costs vary according to the level of the coach and player. If a coach with few qualifications is running a session for a small group in a park, that is likely to cost just a few dollars per head, whereas an hour with a leading coach at an elite venue might cost you between $200 and $300.
There are different factors that influence the cost of a tennis lesson, and we will cover them below so you can make a sound and informed decision to fit your own needs.
Cost of Individual vs Group Tennis Lessons
Coaches will, naturally, be looking to make as much money as possible from the hours they work, so they will charge as much as they believe the market will bear, keeping in mind the number of competitors for their business.
The cost of an hour’s coaching will reflect any court fee set by the venue, some allowance for equipment costs (e.g. balls), and the coach’s basic hourly rate. Group coaching may require more than one court to be booked, and there will be more wear and tear on equipment, but in principle the cost of an hour of the coach’s time should be unchanged.
On this basis, it would be usual for the cost per head of a group lesson to be markedly less than that of an individual one, although equally the coach will look to make more money per court by increasing either the rate per head or the number of players per court.
Another important factor affecting the cost of any tennis lesson is the experience and level of qualification of the coach. A coach who has spent years learning their trade, as well as undertaking qualifications, and who takes professional development seriously will quite rightly expect to earn more per hour than an eager but unqualified novice coach.
If you attend an individual lesson on a public court, run by a coach with no, or basic, qualifications, you should expect to pay around $20-25. For a group session, the cost would be shared, so perhaps $5-10 per hour.
At a Country Club, you are more likely to encounter a certified coach, perhaps a Certified Tennis Instructor or a Certified Professional Tennis Instructor. With the additional overheads at a Country Club, you might be asked to pay $50-80 for an hour of individual tuition, converting to perhaps $10-20 per head for a group session.
Finally, at a resort or hotel, coaches will normally be highly qualified Certified Professional Tennis Instructors, and the venue will look to maximize income, so a range of fees from $90-150 per hour is to be expected. Group rates might go as high as $30 per head.
Are Private Tennis Lessons Worth It?
The fact that private tennis lessons are significantly more expensive than joining a group might lead some people to question whether they are worthwhile. After all, you can learn the basics in a group setting, and then go and enjoy playing the game with friends and family. There are, however, several reasons why you might want to invest in some individual lessons.
First of all, there is the possibility that you hope to become really good. To reach the kind of standard that the best players attain takes years of work on your technique, fitness and mindset, and this is almost impossible without a significant amount of individual attention from a good coach.
A second possibility is that you may be nervous or shy, and would prefer to work on a one to one basis rather than exposing your faults in a group environment. Thirdly, you may wish to use individual lessons to expand upon points which you have picked up during your group lessons, in order to ensure that you really understand and improve. For any of these reasons, individual lessons can be thoroughly worth investing in.
How Often Should You Have Lessons?
This probably depends on the player, as some prefer to think more deeply and frequently about their technique than others. At most levels, however, one individual technical session per week should be sufficient, as it is vital to make time outside of your lesson to practice what you have learned. Once you become more advanced and there is less room for improvement, you might consider increasing the frequency of private lessons to 2-3 times a week.
Why Are Tennis Lessons Expensive?
As indicated above, qualified professional coaches need to make a living. In addition, court fees must be paid, tennis balls have to be purchased, and any other equipment used will eventually need to be replaced. It is also true that some lessons are more expensive than others: if you do not care about where you play you can save money on court fees, and an inexperienced coach can be hired for much less than one at the top of their profession.
Tennis lessons can be expensive, although there are ways of economizing. Group lessons are helpful, particularly for novices, but, if you can afford them, individual lessons, tailored to you, are the best way to ensure that you improve as quickly as possible.