I’ve been saying for years I want to get back into tennis but wasn’t feeling confident enough to go to the club mix in sessions. What I needed was rusty rackets adult tennis lessons, and finally I have one at our club. I’m two weeks in and how’s it going?
My tennis history
Because I’ve been involved with the junior team and know what’s going on with the club and coaching over the years, people assume I’m a proficient tennis player. My tennis knowledge and theory is pretty good. After 5-6 years of watching N’s lessons and opponents in matches, I can see what’s good, what’s bad, and what needs working on. But playing myself is a different matter.
Like many of us, I played tennis at school. But back in my childhood, tennis wasn’t an all year round sport. Most of us played in school, and out on the street. Or we occasionally crept into the school tennis courts if we could get away with it. There wasn’t a tennis club in our large village, the only courts were owned by the private school. At school we played tennis from April to July. Then we did tennis camp for a week in the summer holidays. Which was a waste of time when you then didn’t play again until the following April.
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I played in the school team at secondary and when I was at private school for 6th form, and was the tennis captain for both teams. But matches were fairly limited. Everything was doubles only.
My tennis claim to fame was winning the U14s north oxfordshire school tennis tournament. Sounds like an amazing achievement but really it wasn’t. Three girls entered, all from my school. I won 2 matches to win it. I then went on to the county schools tournament where I got annihilated by all the private school kids.
Back then I thought my tennis was ok. But after school I changed to focus on squash at uni, and that was the sport I continued to play for several years afterwards. Squash helps your reactions and thinking about where the ball’s coming at you, but doesn’t help your tennis action!
Looking back, my tennis at 18 years old was nothing like 11 year olds play nowadays. Nowadays, through mini tennis, children learn the action of all the shots much better than we did, and more importantly play all year round.
But tennis is such a nice sociable sport, anyone can play it, and getting outside in the sun to exercise can’t be bad.
Rusty rackets adult tennis lessons
I did try one rusty rackets session straight after leaving uni, but didn’t really get on with it. But now I’m more involved with my local club, I know the coach (which can be good as well as embarrassing!), and can meet more of the locals through these group tennis sessions.
Over the last year I’ve played a few times on Sunday mornings with N. He doesn’t seem to mind that I’m a bit of a wild erratic player. He’ll happily try and coach me. But I’m happy I’ve got a rusty rackets course to go to. I did have to buy some tennis trainers* because my runners were wrecked at the front turn up bit from playing on tennis courts.
Our rusty rackets is a six week course, an hour lesson weekly. I’m hoping it continues into the summer and possibly into the autumn because I really want to play more consistently. And without that set appointment, I know I’ll never get round to going. Tennis is a sport you can improve at quite fast, but drop it, and you lose it quickly again.
We’ve got 7-8 of us signed up, and that works well with the 2 courts we have. It’s quite a casual group session, so is about small tips, practising our different shots through games, and just building up our skills again.
The first week I was pretty terrible. Being the only left-hander meant I was doing backhands to their forehands. Back in the day it was all single handed backhands, so double handed are quite alien to me, even though I know the theory of them. I was the worst player, and felt for everyone who ended up partnering me.
But the second week it was volleying, and I redeemed myself. I love volleying, there’s less movement needed, and I found it a lot easier. Even my groundstrokes were more consistent, and rallies were happening better. I didn’t embarrass myself.
It hasn’t taken much to get a bit more consistency.
There are a couple of the women who’re really quite good, and one of the men. But none of us are particularly worse or better than the others, so it’s a nice group to be in. There’s also the potential that we have friends to play tennis with once the course is finished.
I’ve really enjoyed being out on the courts, and I could stay for longer than the hour. I thought I wasn’t the fittest, but an hour of tennis has been fine so far. Even though I do go bright red when playing. My knee’s held up too – I just rock tape it up just in case.
If you’re debating getting back to a sport you used to play when younger, I’d recommend it. Whether it’s rusty rackets, or back to netball or hockey. There’s often local sports clubs starting up ‘back to…’ sessions.
There’s so many benefits, and if it’s a sport you’ve done in the past, you already have some skills. You’re not starting from scratch.
Benefits of getting back to sport
- Increase fitness
- Prove you can still do it – often the skills just need a little nurturing to bring them out rather than having to learn a whole sport from the start.
- Show your children that you’re investing in your fitness (and proving that you did used to play sport
- Social side
- Give a different focus to life
- Fitness benefits mental health as well as physical health
- Get different muscles working to your usual fitness regime
- Taking time out for yourself.
Have you ever returned to a sport you used to play? Or joined rusty rackets adult tennis lessons?