It’s a warning I’ve not heard since secondary school when the football hurtled towards me in the playground, but now it’s the terrifying cry I hear for about an hour every week at my beginners’ tennis lessons. With balls flying all over the place, I’m grateful for the warning – I don’t want to rock up to work with a black eye.
Having never played tennis before – apart from one PE lesson which ended with my best friend and I in fits of giggles as we tried (and failed) to rally – I decided to take the plunge and start learning. Every year when summer rolls around my friends, inspired by Wimbledon fever, dust of their rackets to play tennis and I can’t help but feel a pang of envy.
So here I am at Better’s Islington Tennis Centre ready(ish) to royally embarrass myself.
It’s a scary thing to start learning something new as an adult. Heading to my first lesson, I almost turn back. With other gym classes I have no qualms with just walking in and giving it a go, but I’m dreading that awkward moment when you have to pick someone to pair up with – and them realising just how terrible I am.
Each session consists of around 12-15 participants and three coaches, one to every four or five people. Even though it’s for beginners there is a pretty big gulf in ability, I later learn some people have been coming to lessons for over a year, but they do take newbies on all the time. This means the room is a mix of people who can actually play a little and those like me who don’t even know how to hold a racket properly.
Each session will have a focus – be it backhand or serves – and the whole class will work on these. Because of the ratio of coaches to participants we’re often split into groups with some learning the absolute basics (me), while others build on what they’ve already learned.
“Whenever anyone joins the courses, we ask what their level is and coaches will observe from the beginning,” explains Joachim Treasurer, tennis manager at Better’s Islington Tennis Centre & Gym. “Even during warm-ups they are looking at every single person, their training is to identify certain things – hand/eye coordination, footwork (some people are a bit clumsy) and their perception. It looks like …read more
Source:: The Huffington Post – UK Tec