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Raina asked in SportsTennis · 1 decade ago

If I learn how to play tennis, what can I accomplish as a rookie adult?

I'm 19 years old, and I've never played any sports outside of gym class...I want to learn how to play tennis. I don't expect to ever be a professional. But I'd like to play competitively someday.

I need to get in shape first. I'm 5'2", twenty pounds overweight, and my muscles...are pathetic. I can hardly lift heavy boxes. I don't think I'm ready to try tennis lessons...What kind of training should I start with? What types of abilities and physical assets should a tennis player have?

And what are my chances of ever playing competitvely? I gave up tae kwon do because the environment was too laid back...I don't want a light workout--I expect to be challenged and even have the opportunity to compete against advanced players.

I plan to start college in 1 or 2 years. I don't think I'd be ready to try out for a team...and wouldn't colleges rather recruit high school players--not rookie adults? I live in the U.S. Are there any teams or programs for adults at any level?


Also, please note that I can't devote my entire life to tennis (I have family...a fiance...and a full time job). But I'd be willing to travel.

4 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favourite answer

    I will do my best to answer your questions in the order they were presented:

    Question #1: "What kind of training should I start with?"

    Answer Part A: The first thing you should do is gradually get yourself into a workout program with an aerobic element. If you start into a training program too fast, you will likely burn out and lose interest. Start off slow. Aerobic exercises will increase your metabolism, burning fat - and combined with a reasonable diet, excess pounds should begin to disappear. Weight training can be introduced slowly as well and will provide great results when used in combination with aerobic exercises. Again, weight training should start with low weights (high reps) first, and then gradually increase the weight and lower the reps.

    For tennis, I would highly recommend focusing a weight training regimen on your core (stomach/torso) and legs (quads, hamstrings, calves). Power is generated from legs, not arms or shoulders. Always remember to stretch thoroughly both before and after your excercising. Hamstrings and calves are prone to tears and cramping if not developed slowly and with poor stretching habits. Always stay hydrated with plenty of fluids and include a source of potassium in your diet.

    Answer Part B: As far as tennis training goes, I would suggest finding a USTA Certified Pro in your area and try to get some lessons in once or twice a week depending on your budget and available time (you sound pretty busy). USTA Pros are all over, and can be found either in the phone book or through a network listing at Your local park and recreation department may be able to help you too.

    Don't feel obligated to stay with one coach if you don't feel comfortable working with him or her. Try to find someone who has experience with someone of your level. It may take a few tries with different coaches before you find someone you feel comfortable with.

    Once you get the basics down pretty well, and want to progress to the "next level," I would very highly recommend attending one of the Bolletieri (or similar) tennis camps that are available in all regions of the U.S. They typically run in single week sessions and amount to about 9 hours of tennis per day. It's expensive, it's intense, but the benefits of attending one are tremendous for new or already semi-competitive players. This is where you will learn to be a competitive player in a relatively short amount of time.

    Question #2: " What types of abilities and physical assets should a tennis player have?"

    Many people here on Yahoo! Answers may have their own opinions, but from experience, I feel the following are the most essential for a semi-competitive (or higher) player: Good hand/eye coordination, good anticipation, stamina, strong legs (for movement and quickness), a strong core, mental toughness, and an overall well-conditioned body (conditioning can vary depending on the level of competition).

    Question #3: "And what are my chances of ever playing competitvely?"

    Just like with anything else, the more you invest of yourself, the more you will get out of it. If you casually get into tennis, it may take years and years before you would see any sort of success in local tournament competition. However, if you really dedicate yourself to the sport, find a good coach that can help you with your game - your skills will improve tremendously in a shorter amount of time.

    Now, your definition of "competition" may be different than mine. If you are referring to collegiate competition, depending on the Division ranking of the school - you might not be at the level you need to be when enrollment starts. If you would like to compete in local tournaments and USTA events, that might be more feasible in a few years after some solid training.

    I've personally seen (and trained) some people who went from picking up a racquet for the first time to being captain of a high school tennis team in four years (4.0 - 4.5 level). Granted, they had good coaching at the start and they dedicated themselves to the sport practicing every day and seeking the instruction from a high-end tennis camps (in this case Bolletieri's).

    Question #4: "Wouldn't colleges rather recruit high school players--not rookie adults?"

    Division A colleges likely recruit from high school, but if a walk-on does meet their standards, they will likely be accepted too. Division III schools usually hold try-outs where a coach would see for the first time the level of talent trying out for the team.

    Question #5: "Are there any teams or programs for adults at any level?"

    Yes! Look no further than the USTA. They have numerous programs for adults at most any level and they are held all over the U.S.- - and tennis is much more fun when you participate with people around your own ability level.

    To sum this up, you are 19 and young. Don't get discouraged by what others might say about you being "too old" or whatever. 19 is young, and tennis is a sport that you can play for the next 50 years of your life. If you decide that tennis is what you want to do, and you put forth the effort and discipline required to meet your goals, you WILL achieve them. Depending on the resources available to you and your level of committment, you could conceivably be a 3.5-4.0 player in about 4 - 5 years. At that level, you should be able to enjoy at least some minor/local tennis events in your area. Everybody's development is different, so it is difficult to predict your rate of improvement over time. Your reference to wanting the opportunity of playing advanced players makes me think that you would want to hold a USTA rating of 5.0 or higher. Again - - practice, discipline and dedication will determine how quickly you progress.

    A goal isn't a goal unless you write it down and place it where you can see it every day. Make small goals that act as stepping stones to the ideal place you want to be. This way, you can measure your progress, and have something to feel good about when you accomplish them.

    I hope this helps. If you have any other questions, feel free to contact me directly.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    well, i actually got better in tennis while in college , never played in high school, just natural ability but yes, study for college and get a career as tennis, and any sport, has its share of injuries. Since you are not to strong by not be able to lift 20 lb boxes, I think tennis may give you problems when serving, hitting forehands, backhands as your arm may ache from oncoming tennis elbow. to train against this, you will need to go to the gym and do some occasionally weight lifting dumb-bells, or some arm machine, and a shoulder machine so your shoulder doesn't ache a lot after serving.

    So, do some simple arm curls, and upper back, shoulder exercises, ask a trainer they will know what you should do.

    Now once, you get to learn the proper tennis strokes, hit the ball in front of your body, and do some lite weights, or other cross training, you can play this game the rest of your life.

    I play much less now, and i can go back out and still have a 4.5 to 5.0 rating. as my strokes and strategy are memorized. Did you know muscles have memory too. All that goes if you don;t play for a while is your footwork.

    So, yes get into a advanced or beginner tennis class at your college and you'll be glad you did. it's a great sport and international too. You can also find partners local to you to play with on your skill level.

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  • 1 decade ago

    most women peak in tennis between 16 and 20 (there are a few exceptions to this, martina navartalova, the "sisters"). it's too late to be anything but play ground player, don't devote your life to this, go to college now, by the time you finish, all the women pro players will be done and have no college education, you will be just beginning

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  • 1 decade ago

    try your best

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