Finding the best tennis instruction for children can be challenging. There are a variety of teaching programs available in this area.

Choosing a program and-or tennis lessons that children enjoy will help develop a good lifelong taste for the game.

Tennis instruction for children can be broken down into four main categories: recreational programs, group lessons, semi-private lessons and private lessons.

  • Recreational Programs. These are offered by local recreation departments, and the instructor is often a young adult player looking to get some teaching experience. The number of children might vary depending on the program’s popularity.

Pros: very low cost, very informal, emphasis on fun, less or no commitment once it’s over.

Cons: less instructor time per student, less hitting time, no guarantees on instructor skill, more wait time and crowded conditions where kids might feel lost.

  • Group Lessons. These are a step up from recreational programs, they cost about $5 to $10 per hour and are usually run by instructors at a local tennis club.

Pros: peers involved in group setting, well-organized lessons, and children kept busy most of the time.

Cons: less instructor time if group is large, individual attention limited, and less one-on-one hitting with instructor.

  • Semi-Private Lessons. These are usually taught by an experienced tennis professional, work well when the players are at a similar skill level and include individualized instruction plus peer companionship.

Pros: cost shared by 2-3 players, children have valuable peer contact during lessons, individual attention increased, and hitting with a new friend enhances instruction and enjoyment.

Cons: cost jumps to $12 to $36 per hour, younger children may like larger groups, frustration may be higher if one child advances quicker than another, one-on-one hitting with the pro still limited.

  • Private Lessons. These are almost always taught by a seasoned professional who does it exclusively for a living. These lessons are great for children who want to improve as fast as possible, learn the proper strokes and hit the ball with a variety of shots.

Pros: individual attention, rapid improvement, activity is non-stop during lesson, it’s a thrill to hit with the pro, lots of fun and great confidence builder.

Cons: more expensive, some kids want other kids around, no peer hitting.

It does not matter whether your child is a budding pro or just wants to learn a fun sport and get into the game.

There are lots of tennis instruction opportunities here in Bluffton and on Hilton Head.

Lou Marino is a USPTA Cardio Tennis, Little and Quik-start tennis coach who lives and teaches in the greater Bluffton and Hilton Head Island area.