Friday, March 16, 2012

“Hey D, How Many Tennis Lessons do I need Till I am Good”?



It is hard to discuss money in most contexts without sounding vulgar. But as soon as a coach hears the question titling this blog the translation is usually, “what is the least amount of money I can spend and get to enjoy the rallies” so the pressure is on. In all honesty, who isn’t concerned about getting quality for their “dough-re-miii”? Assuming you already have a good coach, I am going to break down some factors directly affecting your rate of improvement and also advice on the most effective approach to your lessons with your coach.

  • The general and rather boring response to any and everyone is “it varies”. I continue to give the client a guestimation based on a few points.
  • Good athleticism and coordination tend to be rewarded in most sports. If this is amongst your stronger suites, chances are you will catch on quicker
  • Consistency in lesson taking is key. The more you practice the higher your rate of improvement particularly in the first few weeks where all players enjoy exponential growth in improvement rate.
  • Your innate level of talent or ability to replicate what the coach is delivering. The more talent you have the less time it takes to catch on, fortunately for those of us who are not naturals, hard work does make up for a talent shortage.
  • Tennis is somewhat similar to your math class and depending on who you ask, more engaging. Regularity is as important as consistency. One of my coaches in junior tennis used to say for every 1 hour private lesson you take, put in 2 hours of practice; “if you do not use it you lose it”.
  • Lastly but not least genuine, invested interest makes any task easier learnt. I have heard all sorts of entertaining reasons that tell me that the client’s interest will be short lived; “their tennis outfits look so cute on tv”, “the women have nice legs”, and “I got a group-on”. Some of my long serving members gave me the following reasons, “I need a good work out and running is not engaging enough”, “I played when I was younger and I miss the game”, “I enjoy the competition” among others.

It is important to be strategic about scheduling your lessons. Instead of arbitrarily showing up for a lesson when you can swing the lesson fees for that particular hour, save for 5-10 lessons (most bulk buying comes with discounts anyways), and space them over the corresponding number of weeks. In between lessons, ask your coach for connections of similar level of ability so you can re-enforce once or twice a week. For those who live in parts of the world where the weather is not always conducive, learning the game during the outdoor season is a little more accommodating on your pocket.

A good coach is as important as the time and money invested, take time research your coach.

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