Tennis is too often regarded as being a pricey activity. It certainly can be if you join one of the exclusive tennis clubs, play at an upmarket resort, purchase an expensive racquet, and take private lessons. However, none of these things are necessary. Tennis is a sport for everyone.
Public tennis courts are available in most towns in the United States, and you can play for free at any time. You probably won’t be able to make a reservation for a game, but if you check with your local parks and recreation department they will tell you which are the busiest courts. Some of the public courts are lighted so you can play during the evening, although again this should be checked because the greater number, countrywide, are unlighted.
If you live in a colder part of the country you should be able to find indoor courts at a local recreation center. There may be a small charge for these, but it will certainly be affordable. If you want to do more than simply enjoying the fun and exercise of tennis, and feel that by upping your game, even marginally, you can get more out of the sport, then tennis lessons need not be expensive. Most municipal authorities have tennis pros on a roster, and these will generally be certified under one or both of the US professional organizations, the USPTA and the USPTR.
The United States Tennis Association offers a free program that encourages people of all ages to take up the game, and it also has the USA Tennis 1-2-3 program, a low-cost instructional program that teaches basic skills via group instruction. Again, the municipal authorities are a good source of information on these programs as most are associated with the USTA. The town and city authorities may also have a summer tennis program, or have information about tennis camps designed for beginners.
Group instruction can actually be a very good way to develop your game if you are a beginner, because the cost will be around $10 or $15 for a one-hour session and you will be with others who have similar skills or non-skills levels.
This compares to around $40 for more or a private one-hour or 90-minute private one-on-one lesson, which many prospective players might feel is above their skills level. A typical series of six group lessons, held over a few weeks, will be enough to improve the skills of the fledgling player, and with the added interest in the game it might be time to move on to joining a local tennis association.
Enthusiasts who simply want to promote the game and its fitness and social advantages run many of these on a non-profit basis, and they are good places to find someone of similar skills levels. The local clubs and associations will hold regular tennis clinics, which are a good way for those who are above beginner level to begin to sharpen their skills and improve their game. There will also be regular games and tournaments, and if you are playing in a local league you may also have the advantage of playing at some of the private facilities for free.
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