Tennis itself is a very forgiving sport as you can play it pretty much at any fitness level. Nobody is going to stop you from playing it as I have seen many players who can’t even move that well on the court but enjoy tennis nonetheless. So, if you are in your fifties or sixties and think that maybe tennis might be a little too much on your body then let me tell you the good news.
You can not only play tennis at a later stage in life but I promise you will enjoy it a lot as well. The most important bit that I recommend is that you never stop believing in your own strength. I have seen people in their 40s and they have pretty much given up on their physical lives, they gain weight, and they complain that they are old now. Let me tell those people that all the former players and coaches who are very well into their late 50s or even 60s are not only playing tennis, but they can easily beat young intermediate players.
This post is for people who think that they are past their prime, no matter what they think that prime was, whether it is 45,50 or 60 plus.
I will urge you to at least try and play this beautiful sport. I am not going to sugar coat that you can beat young players and you’ll be playing long sets of singles but you can very well get your fitness on track and take control of your own life.
Sitting at home, watching TV is the easy bit, but if you just take an hour and a half of your day, grabbing that tennis racquet and playing a good set or two of tennis you will feel rejuvenated beyond compare.
Is Tennis Difficult To Learn
Tennis is the kind of sport that has always had a little barrier to entry when you start playing it. No one and I mean no one will start out hitting the ball perfectly. You will probably hit the ball out of the court or the ball will hit the net a hundred million times, but you just have to stay at it.
Tennis is by no means difficult, if it were difficult why would neighborhoods have tennis courts. The general mindset in regards to tennis is a little different compared to other sports because of its association with being a rich peoples’ sport. Which can’t be further from the truth. I have seen people enjoying it with $20-$30 racquets.
By the way, I have written a detailed post about is tennis really a sport only for the rich. I hope the arguments I have made there can convince you of the accessibility that tennis brings to people.
It is like getting good at any other sport/hobby, you will suck at it at first and then slowly learn the ropes. You will begin noticing differences in your game that you didn’t before, you will actively seek out improvement in your game.
Let’s start with this then, going to outline all the things you need to start tennis with, what to stay away from, and what to actually get into.
How to Start
Tennis courts are littered everywhere in the US and you can find a court in your neighborhood or even join a club that has a lot of them.
I would personally recommend you go and find a club if you don’t have a partner, to begin with, but I’m sure you can ask your S/O or even your children to go play with you. They might like the change of pace to the boring old Saturday-Sunday routine.
There are a few things that I will recommend here that you can get, or not but in my opinion, these are some of the things that will make getting into the game a little easier and you might enjoy it more. Some of these are psychological, and some are actual products. I will recommend products from Amazon, because of its trustworthiness and I do a small commission from your purchases.
A tennis racquet is going to be probably your first buy along with a can of balls. I’m going to recommend a few racquets that you should buy but if you are the type that likes to do your own research and then buy, then go right ahead I am not going to force any of these racquets on you. Just keep a few things in mind and you will be fine for the most part
Tennis at an older age in life can be a little daunting as you begin to think that maybe I am not strong enough to swing at the ball, let me tell you something fun and interesting. Tennis racquets are light and very very durable. You can buy one now, and it’ll last such a long time, without ever breaking a sweat.
Just keep a few things in mind before you head out and buy your new racquet
I have two racquets that I recommend to pretty much everybody who’s reaching the experienced age lets just go with that. These racquets are pretty affordable and are extremely fun to play with.
They will basically provide the power for you, because of the sole reason that when people start getting older their strength does start dwindling a little.
My Absolute favorite is the Head Ti Range of racquets. The Ti.S6 is an absolute baller of a racquet for almost everybody who’s starting out but I will recommend it most to people that are around the age 50-65+. Great all-around racquet, weighs very little around 8Oz and has a big wide head size to hit the ball where ever you want it to with a lot of power.
You can check it out on Amazon by clicking the link here.
Babolat Pure Drive 110
If you like the color blue and feel like you might be a fan of Babolat, then look no further than this beauty. I have a very fond memory of playing with its little brother the normal Pure Drive, as it is one of my favorite racquets that I have ever come across.
This racquet has pretty much the same feel and power but the awesome thing about it is the biggest sweetspot I have ever seen in any racquet by far.
If you do pick up this racquet, I promise you will have an awesome time. It is a little expensive compared to the Head Ti.S6 but this taking care of the fact that racquets like these last a very long time unless and until you actually break them.
You can check it out on Amazon by clicking the link here.
Going lightweight is the name of the game here for the most part. The thing is, that most pros play with pretty heavy racquets right in the 350+ grams range, which is not advisable if you are around the age 50-60. We are looking to have fun here, not have shoulder and elbow problems.
You can take a look at racquets around the 275-300 gram range, racquets are made with a lot of precision and even a few grams here and there can make a big difference to how the racquet feels.
Most beginner racquets will feel a little heavier to maneuver at the start, that’s just how their weight distribution is set out to be. They are designed to be a little head heavy(the part which makes contact with the ball) so you can get more power in your shots without hitting too hard.
A little tidbit at the start, always go with a bigger head size. Why you may ask is totally the right question. The simple answer is, the bigger the head size, the bigger the surface area to make contact with the ball and get the shot across.
You tend to lose a little bit of control when you go higher up the head size bracket, but we are not looking for control at the moment. We are just looking to get the ball inside the court and actually hit the ball over the net. The more you play, the more you will start getting your rhythm right and your balls will get control.
This is something personal preference, I have a post completely dedicated to what grip size you should get into and how the size of your hand has a lot to do with making this decision. Head on over to that post, if you want to get into the nitty-gritty of it.
If you are just looking for a simple answer then, go for the smaller of what you think you should go. The thing with grips is that you go a size higher and then you feel like it isn’t working and you need to change it, you are stuck with it. If you go with a size smaller, you always have the ability to just wrap more overgrips to make it larger.
Generally, people go with 4 ⅜, I think it is a good point, you can always make it thicker by adding an overgrip or two to it.
Balls Balls Balls, tennis can’t really be played without balls eh, pun intended. Now that we have the joke out of the way. Let me just say that most balls on the market work just fine if you are starting out as a beginner. There are a few companies that always manage to sell well, so just stick to those.
Wilson, Head, Penn, and even Dunlop make a great choice. I personally love the Wilson Extra Duty ones. They are not that expensive, you can get a whole box of them and they will last a very long time because of their shelf life if they remain unopened.
You can check em out on the Amazon link here.
Just be careful of not buying an extra cheap knock off ones that you may find at Walmart. Those are not meant for tennis, and they will end up breaking your strings and they won’t bounce the same way either.
You might be thinking that, do I really need some special shoes to play tennis? I already have a perfectly fine pair of sneakers or joggers, whatever you prefer to call em. I don’t want to spend an extra $50-$70 getting special tennis sneakers.
I am going to calm you down a little and say that there is nothing wrong with doing that, heck I did for most of my playing life without really realizing that I was just spending extra on shoes every 6 months.
I have a whole post on why tennis sneakers are better for your feet overall, and the older you get, you don’t really want to get any injuries to your heels or knees, or whatever the case may be.
Shoes are probably the most important buy when it comes to the exercise you are doing.
You can find good shoes around the $50-$70 range, and there are a lot of clearance sales going on as well, so you should be able to find the more expensive ones for a cheaper price. If you are looking for some at the moment you can go to these links and grab em
Buying shoes for tennis is a great investment, as they remain different from your running/walking pair and also last a really long time because of their more durable build for the most part.
This is something I’ll just say, just stick with what you have. Everybody has a pair of shorts, some good T-shirts and socks. You don’t need to spend an arm and a leg just to get to the tennis court and play.
For women, any kind of yoga pants or skirts that you might have lying around will do you just fine.
Just keep in mind one thing that you wear something that you are comfortable and can stretch without limitations. The last thing you want is an injury caused because you couldn’t stretch far enough to get to a ball
I have a very detailed post on the kind of equipment that you can buy that will make your tennis playing experience optimal. You can view it by clicking here but for the most part, when you are starting out, you don’t need to be spending too much and then end up hating the game in the long run
Coach or No Coach
When you are starting out, and especially at an older age. You are mostly looking to have fun and not take the game too seriously. So to get a coach, just as you are starting most be the smartest move from my perspective.
Start out slow and steady, have fun with your friend or a group of friends if you all started doubles together. The key is to have fun and exercise first, then think about being the next Roger Federer. Let me say this, there is nothing wrong with getting a coach and trying to sort out your game. But just wait a few months, play the game a bit and try and enjoy it. After a few months of playing or even a year or two, you can get a coach.
Coaches are a great way to propel your game to the next level and get you to tournament level if you are looking to play them. Just see if there are group coachings available, they are more often than not cheaper than one on one coaching and you can make new friends and socialize while learning the game
Clubs Vs Normal Courts
Clubs are a great way to meet new people, socialize and make new friends while you learn tennis. I remember the first time I started playing, we were a bunch of kids who had no idea how to hit the ball but it was this aspect of learning together and trying to beat each other that improved our game.
Clubs are not that expensive and they come with the added advantage of finding a coach, and some other services that might make it worthwhile spending a little bit of money. But I know, people as beginners are always skeptical that they might not like the sport that much and the money spent on the club might be wasted. Start as a beginner, just go to the court with a friend or partner that might be interested and start playing, give the game time to entertain you, and then make the decision to get into a club.
The benefit of a club is that you can find a lot of players even when you don’t have your partner available. You might be able to find group coaching in the same package as the club membership in a lot of cases as well, so that is always a plus.
In the end, it is your choice, but I would save the money and probably get a few extra cans of balls cuz you can never have too many balls.
I hope you had a good time reading this post, I have some other posts that will help you along the way of learning tennis. This includes my Tennis Tips for Beginners and also how to find a racquet once you are reaching the intermediate to advanced level.