If you decide that you want to improve your tennis, or you are a beginner who would like to learn to play, you will want to locate a coach who has experience of working with players of your standard.
You will undoubtedly have seen some excellent coaches on TV, such as Nick Bollettieri or Patrick Mouratoglou, but they do not work with beginners and club players. Even if they did, the cost would be high, and their expectations might not be aligned with your ability, as they are used to working with the elite. So, where can you find a coach who is qualified and ready to work with players like you?
You can begin searching for a coach with either an online directory or a local club. The ideal coach will be qualified, patient, and enthusiastic: a trial lesson should make this clear. You will need to be prepared to pay about $60 per hour for an individual lesson, and should schedule a lesson roughly every week to maintain your improvement.
Best Places To Find A Tennis Coach
The traditional way to find a suitable tennis coach is to go to a local club. There will normally be one or more coaches associated with the club who will be happy to teach you.
If you are already a club member, it should be easy to arrange a lesson with one of the club coaches. Word of mouth recommendations should make it easy to find one whose style will suit you.
If you are not a club member, the coaches will still probably be prepared to teach you, but they may charge more than if you were a member to allow for the cost of using the facilities.
Nonetheless, if you are relatively new to the game and live within range of a few clubs, it can be a good idea to have a lesson at two or three of them. This will enable you to determine which coach you most enjoy working with, as well as gaining an impression of the atmosphere at the different clubs with the intent of joining one.
Another way of finding a coach, which can be useful for people who live in more sparsely populated areas or who are beginners and are nervous about approaching a club coach, is to use an online directory.
Some sites offer to send a coach to your local court to provide a lesson. They provide pictures and profiles of the coaches, including their qualifications and hourly charges. You simply select one who appears suitable and is reasonably near to you and book a lesson.
What To Look For In A Tennis Coach
Firstly, it is vital that you feel comfortable working and communicating with your new coach. If you find them intimidating, it is unlikely that you will progress quickly as you will not provide them with the necessary feedback.
Similarly, if you find their manner unconvincing and their communication poor, you are unlikely to listen to their advice regardless of how good it is.
You will want to ensure that the coach is qualified. The easiest way to check this is to establish if they are certified by the USPTA, PTR, or other recognized bodies. This will show that they have the training and experience necessary to help you improve.
It will also be helpful to establish how long they have been coaching and what standards and age-groups they have worked with. A coach who has only worked with junior performance players, for example, may struggle with the different demands of teaching adult beginners.
If you are already playing the game at the club level, it may also be helpful to find out the highest level at which the coach has played. This will give an indication of whether they are well placed to advise you about what is needed to progress to a higher standard. You will also need to confirm that the coach has enough availability to fit you in for a regular lesson.
How Much Do Private Tennis Lessons Cost?
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. However, it may be a better idea to pay a little more for a more experienced and qualified coach.
The cost would be shared for a group session, which could be as little as $5-10 per hour. You are more likely to encounter a certified coach at a Country Club, 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. Although expensive, this will be more likely to give you a solid base on which to develop your game.
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.
How Often Should You Take Lessons?
The most important point is to make time outside of your lesson to practice. If you only have time to play once per week, you should not allocate it to a lesson with a coach every week. You will learn far more by actually playing the game and putting into practice what the coach has taught you.
For most people, a weekly tennis lesson is about the right number to maintain their development, as long as they are playing at least once per week on top of this.
There are several ways of finding a good tennis coach, depending upon your location and tennis background. Find the right one for you, and you will progress quickly and enjoy doing so.