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How to get into Tennis


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3 July 2015 Last updated at 09:27


Fast Answers

Why get into tennis?

The simple pleasures of whacking a yellow ball over a net are not to be underestimated! It’s addictive.

Who is it for?

‘Anyone for tennis?’ goes the famous phrase. And yes, anyone capable of holding a racquet can play.

Is there a cheap option?

Schemes such as ‘Tennis for Free’ have made it much more affordable.

What if I want a proper workout?

The top players in the world really revel in the frenetic, stop-start exertion – and so can you.

Can I take it to another level?

If you have real talent, you will get noticed – top-class Brits have been hard to come by (bar Andy Murray).

Is there a disability option?

Wheelchair tennis is really growing.

Is there a family option?

Doubles matches (two versus two) are a good way for families to play together at the same time.

When Wimbledon arrives each summer, tennis captivates the nation for two weeks. But that’s not the full story – Brits of all ages are switched on all year round, with nearly a million swishing their rackets once a month. It’s not hard to see why. It’s fun, accessible across a vast range of fitness levels and abilities, and not as elitist as some might believe.

Lawn Tennis Association  is a great place to start for any information on playing tennis in Britain, or browse the
Ulster Tennis, 
Tennis Scotland, 
Tennis Wales  or
Tennis England sites for specific news in your area.

Casual and competitive tennis

If you’ve never had the joy of pretending to get seriously angry about whether the ball is in or out, a la John McEnroe, there are more than 500 venues across the UK where you can try tennis for free. Explore the
Lawn Tennis Association’s Allplay scheme  for guidance on places to play and, should you catch the bug, people to play against and coaches to train you. For those starting out, a good quality second-hand racket can be bought for reasonably low cost. They are also available for hire, as are balls. Don’t forget! The British weather can be notoriously unkind, but there are many options to play indoors: this is how the tennis season keeps going right throughout the year.

Free Tennis for everyone!

The Great British Tennis Weekend sees venues across the country serve up free tennis for players of all ages and abilities. With rackets and balls provided, everyone will be able to experience tennis in a relaxed and fun environment while taking part in a variety of sessions.

The sessions are being held on 13&14 June and 1&2 August 2015.

Find a participating Great British Tennis Weekend court near you

Cardio tennis

Competition is totally redundant in
cardio tennis  – it’s all about the camaraderie to be found in exercising while having a good time, and bringing a big smile to your face. The main aim of these light-hearted, sociable group fitness classes is to get your heart pumping and your wellbeing soaring. You may have a racket in your hand, but you’ll all be on the same side of the net, cheering each other on as the calories burn away.

Tennis for women and girls

Tennis Tuesdays  is a great way for women to get back on court and progress their tennis skills game forward with like-minded people. The sessions offer fun and informal sessions focussing on a different skill each week with a mixture of fun match play and relaxed coaching. For girls aged 5 to 8-years-old,
Miss Hits  is the way to go. The initiative was designed by Judy Marry and focuses on fun, friendship and enjoyment. It even has it’s own animated characters who take the girls through the basic elements of tennis.

Mini tennis for juniors

The adult world of tennis must be daunting if you can hardly see over the net! For kids, mini tennis is the answer. Children between three and 10 years old can now get stuck in with the aid of smaller courts, smaller nets, smaller rackets and lower bouncing balls. Everybody in this age range is catered for – there are four ‘stages’ of
LTA Mini Tennis:  Tots, Red, Orange and Green, each with their own court size and type of ball. This tailored approach enables players to develop vital skills and techniques at an early age.

Disability tennis

impressive range of adaptations are on offer for disabled people  to play tennis, which can help build social skills, self-esteem and independence, as well as boosting fitness and coordination. Wheelchair tennis integrates easily with the non-disabled game since it can be played on any regular tennis court, with no modifications to rackets or balls. The
Tennis Foundation  is the place to start: they cater for and champion wheelchair tennis, and also offer subsidised camps featuring learning disability, deaf, and visually-impaired tennis.

Team tennis

For anyone who wants to get social and a little competitive, the LTA have a regular Team Tennis league for all ages (starting from an 8 and under category). Matches are played against similar standard players in a competitive team environment. It is the Lawn Tennis Association’s largest recreational competition with a record 5,900+ teams taking part in 2015. Find out
how to get involved. 

Coaching and volunteering

Coaches and volunteers are vital for every sport, and tennis is is no real difference. Coaches are particularly important in taking tennis into more deprived areas. You can coach tennis sessions yourself by taking a
‘Tennis Activator’ course, a simple half-day workshop where you can learn basic organisation and delivery skills.
Email for more details. You can also try
Sports Coach UK  for coaching opportunities.

Volunteers provide a huge contribution to British tennis every single day, and there are a
wealth of opportunities cultivated by the LTA.  Find out about volunteering opportunities in
England  and
Northern Ireland. 
Join In UK  can also help you find a club that needs your hands on attention.

Aspire to be like: Jordanne Whiley

What’s next?

1. Go to our
Activity Finder to get into tennis near you.

2. Or find your local club in
Northern Ireland  or

Share your story  and inspire others.

Are you inspired to try tennis? Or maybe you are a keen enthusiast already? Get in touch and tell us your experience of the activity by tweeting us on
@bbcgetinspired,  visiting us on
Facebook  or email us on

See our full list of
activity guides for more inspiration.