Take up tennis this summer

Caroline Cassidy

Wimbledon is just around the corner and thousands of Brits across the country will be inspired to dust off their racquets and take to the courts. A great way to get fit and stay in shape, tennis not only gives you a good workout, but is also a fun, sociable and challenging sport.

taking up tennis
taking up tennis

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Whether you are new to the court or looking to refresh your tennis memory and improve your game, there are courses, lessons and clubs to help you. Whatever your needs, try your local sports centre or tennis club to see what tuition is available.

The Lawn Tennis Association is an excellent resource if you're not sure where to start, as it lists competitions, training courses and coaching in your local area.

Beginners, whether adults or children, might want to consider a group lesson to start with as an intensive one-to-one session might prove a waste of money until you've done the groundwork. Beginner's lessons will teach you the basics, including rules, grip, footwork and strokes, and give you plenty of practice without expecting you get competitive.

If you do sign up for a group lesson, try to get into a class with six or fewer fellow newbies - any more and your personal tuition time won't be enough, any less and you'll find yourself run ragged before you've had time to build up your fitness.

Although watching the likes of Federer and Nadal might inspire you, it's best not to splash too much cash on the spur of the moment. Buy a new racket, sure, and make sure you've got comfortable shoes and clothing, but don't go all-out for pro kit until you've had a few lessons and know you're going to carry on.

Those looking for a refresher course might benefit from joining a tennis club. Many offer private lessons and, provided your fitness is at a reasonable level, a few intensive one-hour sessions will get you back into the game. Tennis clubs are also a great way to meet other like-minded racket sport nuts so if you don't have a partner in mind, they are a great way to get a game with someone of a similar ability.

As with all sports, remember that doing too much (and particularly doing things wrong) can easily result in injury, so professional tuition is a must if you're new to tennis. To find a club, coach or course in your area, visit www.lta.org.uk.