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Starting Tennis from Scratch: a Beginners’ Guide

Enjoy tennis on a Mark Warner holiday

As Wimbledon looms into view, many of us will be tempted to finally realise our ambition of learning how to play and/or getting the kids started with some tuition – not least because you’ll all then be able to enjoy using the superb tennis centres at Mark Warner’s Mediterranean resorts!

But what clothing and equipment will you need, how much will it cost, and how do you go about finding facilities handy for you? Read the following for all you need to know about tennis for beginners.

Gear
The good news is that you can play tennis in any comfy trainers and sporting clothes and don’t need to splash out on specialist gear. That said, tennis trainers are designed to give the right support and to cope with quick changes in direction, so if you are buying new footwear, they might be a worthwhile investment.

When it comes to rackets, it’s crucial to use one with the right frame and grip size for you. To assess the former, hold a racket down to the ground – with a straight arm, it should reach to just above the floor.

You will know you have the correct grip size if there’s a centimetre’s gap between your thumb and index finger when you hold the handle (check this by sliding the index finger of your other hand between the tips of your fingers and thumb). Do note that there is a very limited range of grip sizes for children’s rackets. Overgrips are available to enlarge grip sizes slightly.

Rackets for kids start at about £20, with the sky the limit for the adult versions!

Quality-wise, tennis racquets split into three basic groups: aluminium, graphite and carbon-fibre composite. Aluminium are the cheapest but offer the lowest performance. Graphite racquets are more flexible and less brittle than carbon-fibre racquets, which advanced players use. Carbon-fibre composite racquets are a lot firmer but more expensive than graphite racquets.

Graphite rackets, which start at £30, are middle of the range and significantly better than aluminium racquets so it is probably worth spending an extra £10 per racket. It can be a good idea to buy all your gear in one shop as you can usually get a discount (if you ask nicely!). If you’re buying secondhand, avoid rackets with frayed strings and/or signs of wear on any one area of the frame.

Location
From free courts in local parks to exclusive members’ clubs, there’s no shortage of places to play all over the UK.

Cost
Tuition prices vary by region, club and teacher, but for private lessons you’re looking at about £30 for an hour’s session. For children’s group lessons, prices start at about £3, with private lessons £20 or more.

First Steps
Although the essentials of tennis are simple to pick up and it’s easy to have a knock-around on a court without any tuition at all, getting grounded in the basics will mean that you get more out of your game – even if your main aim is to play socially or in the park with the kids.

Group lessons can be good – it means you have lots of different partners to practise against, and kids also find it fun playing with others around their own age and mixing it up with some games. You should expect children to pick up the fundamentals within about 6–8 weeks.

This said, adults and kids alike will naturally make more progress with private lessons. For all tuition, look out for coaches with an LTA licence. Practising outside of lessons is essential for all players.

Learning tennis with Mark Warner
Lastly, don’t forget that even if you’ve not played before at all, you can enjoy tennis at a Mark Warner resort, with tuition available for complete beginners, kids and adults alike.

Read more about tennis holidays with Mark Warner

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