| By Ricky Becker

A Private Lesson:

Pros:  You have the option of tailoring the lesson to what you want.  You can get the best technical instruction with a private lesson.  You can also get exercise or learn strategy or even just hit if you want.  If you want to reach your best long-term potential, you need good technique.  Undoubtedly, privates will help you with your technique the most. 

Cons: This is certainly the most expensive form of organized tennis.  Private lessons are about 150% the drill price and 400% a ladder price.  Additionally, if your child isn't really that interested in playing tennis and you are trying to push them into it,  sometimes private lessons might get dry.


A Semi-Private Lesson

Pros:  You can control who the other person is who you are playing with.  Semi-Privates are also usually about 60% of a private lesson price.  It can also be fun playing with a friend.  You can get a little bit of technical instruction and play structured points against another player rather than with a pro who won't be trying his/her hardest to with good intentions of keeping you going.

Cons: A big misconception is that you still get a lot of technical instruction.  It is hard to get too technical because everyone has his/her own habits and when a pro gets too specific with one person, it can really slow the semi-private down.  Also, if one person improves faster or is a stronger level than the other person, it limits both players.  Also consider, that if one person gets injured or can't make a lesson, the make-up situation could get very tricky.

A Group Lesson (Drill Group)

Pros: You can get a lot of strategic advice because most strategic advice is universal.  It is also cheaper than a private lesson but beware, it is not normally 25% of a private lesson price.  It is also a lot of fun, there are more people joining the party.  Also, many groups are 2-hours, so you can hit a lot of balls.

Cons:  Once again, not a lot of strategic instruction.  Also, you are not at the liberty of choosing who is in your group (unless you set up your foursome.)

Ladder or League Matches:

Pros:  Definitely the least expensive structured option.  You get great experience playing tennis at its' most real form.  You can improve your instincts playing in a "real-world" setting.  You also could get good match experience and if you are ever going to play tournaments, you won't be as nervous.

Cons:  You will net get any instruction.  It's more "Here are the balls. Go play."  Also, if you can't serve well, it can be very discouraging serving double-fault after double-fault.

Booking Court-Time

Pros:  It is a relaxed setting, it is cheaper and you could play with whoever you want.

Cons:  You will obviously not get any instruction or feedback from a coach.  However if you are playing with someone who is an advanced player, you can get assiatance.  Court-time is also often available only during off-hours since successful clubs are booked with lesson programs during prime-times.





Ricky Becker is The Director of Tennis at Glen Oaks Club.  Ricky also coaches high-performance juniors throughout the year and has been the Director of Tennis at three of Long Island’s biggest junior programs.  As a player, Becker was the Most Valuable Player for the 1996 NCAA Championship Stanford Tennis team and ranked in the top-five nationally as a junior.  He can be reached at rbecker06@yahoo.com, 516-359-4843 or via juniortennisconsulting.com.