| By Andy Stuber

Adult classes are getting very popular and are a great way for you to share the great sport of tennis with your peers. But, as coaches and instructors, how do make the best out of your adult tennis class?

Preparation is everything
Preparation starts early with good time management. Try to schedule your tennis activity for the week in advance. It will make you more relaxed and gives you a better opportunity to enjoy the class itself. Give yourself enough travel time to get to the facility. This also allows you to cut loose from the hectic work day and change your mind set to focus on the more fun stuff. Getting to the facility early allows you to warm up and stretch your muscles. It might also allow you to have a quick chat with your instructor or with some of the other players beforehand. Your mind and muscles are now ready to play!

Stay consistent
Let’s be realistic, taking just one adult tennis class per week will not make you a great tennis player. But at least it’s a good start, as long as you are staying consistent with it. Try to have your one “holy” tennis night. If there is a chance for you to raise the frequency, then add more classes.

Vary your training
The more variety you bring into your program, the better you will play. Put some time into arranging a smart schedule. Ideally, you can plan a mix of technical, physical, as well as tactical and mental exercises. For the technical part, a one-on-one instruction is optimal, but an instructional group class with a low ratio of players per court and instructor is good as well. For the physical part, cardio tennis classes are great. They increase your stamina on the court and improve your footwork. If you cannot arrange any cardio tennis sessions, you can also do tennis-specific exercises in the gym or just grab a jump rope. Jumping rope is one the best tools to improve your footwork on the court. For the tactical and mental parts, you should put time in playing points. Drill and plays are a great way to improve your tactics and match play. Additionally, you have to also find the time to play some competitive matches. Only a real match situation will give you true feedback about your tactical and mental levels of play.

Do not set too many goals at once
Try not to be too ambitious going into a lesson or a match. Achieving one goal in a lesson is ideal and you should then be proud of yourself. Often, our problem is that we try to achieve too many goals at once, and are then frustrated when none of them have been accomplished.

Check the quality
Good, experienced instructors and a good ratio are crucial and have to be taken in consideration when comparing different programs. Check coaches’ bios and try to find out some more about them from other people. A good coach is usually very energetic, inspiring and has good people skills. They will be able to adapt to each individual and make them a better player. The student to teacher ratio is important as well. It depends on the class. The lower the ratio, the more attention you will get from the coach. For an instructional group clinic, a good ratio is up to four students per coach; in a drill and play, up to six per coach; and in a cardio tennis class, up to eight per coach to guarantee a good quality class experience.

Bond with your teacher
The better you bond with your coach, the better the better your chances will be to optimize your improvement in the classes. Teachers are human and respond very well to positive feedback occasionally. Feed their ego and make them feel liked. It’s okay to criticize them from time to time, and at times, even give them some negative feedback. Sticking to a limited amount of coaches allows for less confusion and improves your success.

Take the opportunity to socialize
Playing tennis offers a huge opportunity to meet people, both on and off the court. Throw yourself into the mix. Participate in a doubles mixer or in a league and you will find people who share in the same passion. This might not only lead to new friendships, but you might also find a great practice partner.

Find a club that offers a variety of programs
Look out for a tennis center that offers a variety of classes. There should be a little bit of everything. This should include individual classes, instructional group clinics, drill and plays, cardio tennis classes, some social doubles and singles events, as well as some competitive opportunities for match play, such as singles leagues or adult tennis tournaments. As scheduling can be tricky, find a club that offers flexibility by offering packages and drop-in clinics.