Give Me Back My Five Bucks

Learning a new sport

62737se101080-zmYesterday I spent $50 on a tennis racquet and headed to the courts in Stanley Park. I’ve never played tennis before, although I’ve always wanted to learn. But with so many other competing priorities, and no friends in town that play the sport, I’ve just never gotten around to it. Until now. BF loves playing tennis, and he was willing to teach me some of the basics – so I jumped at the chance. It also helps that the courts are free to play on (when you can actually get space), and are just a short walk from his house.

After spending about 90 minutes learning how to hold a racquet properly and hitting balls against a cement practice wall (which also meant hitting the ball into the other practice court about two dozen times), I decided I liked the sport enough to take the plunge and invest in tennis lessons.

After asking Twitter about recommendations for lessons in Vancouver, I decided to stick with Stanley Park for the convenience factor and the good reviews it got. I paid $80.75 for 4 lessons of 60 min. each (approx. $20.19 per hour). Class sizes are no more than 12 people, and there are 2 instructors that teach the course. This seemed a bit expensive to me, but after talking with a few of my out-of-town tennis friends, they confirmed that this was pretty normal.

I’ve stuck with “comfort” sports like field hockey and running my whole life, and have stayed away from sports I’ve never played before, or that I’m not good at. As someone whose played competitive sports for many years, I don’t like the idea of not being good at something. Or having to start with basics and work my way up to being competent. But I know that being uncomfortable with something means that I should do it, and that it will help me to overcome those feelings. Plus, learning a new skill is never a bad thing! Tennis seems like it would be a great summer sport to play, and good cross training for field hockey and running.

Another worry I have is that I won’t be able to find anyone to play with. BF is a lot better than me, and so are his friends. I’m sure he’ll play with me, but it’s not going to be as fun for him until I can reach a semi-adequate playing level. So until then, I’m going to have to find other newbies to play games and learn with as well. Since this whole tennis thing is a bit of a departure for me, and I’m really excited to try something new!

Does anyone have any advice for a newbie tennis player? :)

Author: Krystal Yee

I’m a personal finance blogger and marketing professional based in Vancouver. I’m a former Toronto Star (Moneyville) columnist, author of The Beginner’s Guide to Saving and Investing, and co-founder of the Canadian Personal Finance Conference. When I’m not working, you can usually find me running, climbing, playing field hockey, or plotting my next adventure.


  1. Court says:

    Until you have “control” of the ball, hit it about half as hard as you think you need to hit it. Also, I’ve found my actual court skills improving with Wii practice!

  2. NZ Muse says:

    If only we lived in the same city! I’m totally amateur but do enjoy a round of volleying.

    I would disagree with Court,I generally need to hit way harder than I think I do. You may have a lot more power than me though – I’m pretty weak.

    For me the biggest thing to remember is FOLLOW THROUGH – my school coaches always shouted it at me and it’s true. You want your racket to wind up over your opposite shoulder at the end of your swing.

    • Krystal Yee says:

      Well in the very short amount of time I’ve hit the ball around, I need to put less power into it than I think I do. At least until I’ve figured out how to control myself and the ball. The good thing is, the same rules apply in field hockey. So as long as I keep my angles in mind, I should be okay. :) And yeah, I’m gonna have to work on my follow through, and am excited about learning all of this stuff in my lessons!

      Oh, and if you’re ever in Vancouver and wanna hit the ball around, you know how to contact me. :)

  3. Strandedrocks says:

    Hi Krystal,
    Long time reader, first time commenting.
    I love tennis and one piece of advice I would like to give you is always keep moving your feet. Watch the pros and how they do it. They hit the ball and quickly shuffle back to centre, footwork is sometimes overlooked. But I think placing yourself properly gives you an advantage for hitting better shots. Of course this is just one of the many building blocks involved with tennis but a good one to start practicing.

    ps. It’s raquet not racket :)
    Racket is not incorrect but it looks so wrong.

    • Krystal Yee says:

      Hahaha newbie alert, I can’t even spell racquet properly. :P

      Thanks for the tips, I’ll definitely keep that in mind as I start to get a grasp on this game.

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