From Venus & Serena to Pete Sampras, some of the world’s best tennis players grew up honing their craft right here on the sun drenched courts of LA. Whether you have the next budding tennis star or or a kid who wants to try out a new sport, we’ve narrowed down the top five spots in town for public or private lessons that will help perfect their swing, work on that backhand, improve overall coordination and most importantly, develop love for a sport they can enjoy the rest of their lives.
photo: Jack Kramer Club via Facebook
Jack Kramer Club
Located in the lovely Rolling Hills Estates area of the South Bay, the Jack Kramer Club is home to a world-renowned junior tennis program that’s helped develop tennis stars like Pete Sampras and Tracy Austin. In fact over the last 30 years, the Jack Kramer Club has produced more national junior champs than any other U.S. tennis club. Group and private lessons are available year round starting with the Pee Wee Red/Orange Ball Group that instructs students 4-6 years of age on developing skills like ball control, basic strokes and movement. From there, pint-sized pros can move up to the Green Dot Ball Group for tykes aged 7-10 years old where they continue to build their skill level and learn to keep score and play in a more competitive manner.
11 Montecillo Dr.
Rolling Hills Estates
photo: Palisades Tennis Center via Facebook
LA Tennis Centers
LA Tennis Centers’ Junior Development Tennis programs are available at three convenient locations around the hood—the Palisades Tennis Center, Cheviot Hills Tennis Center and Westwood Tennis Center. When it comes to coaching, LA Tennis Center instructors are at the tippy top of their game, with most having played at the highest levels of the sport and years of experience training beginners through college level. Their “Big Hitters” class for tots aged 4-6, focuses on backhands, forehands and volleys while never letting the kids forget how to have fun. Higher development classes go up from there based on the instructor’s discretion as to whether they are ready to move on. Most Big Hitters classes are offered during the week after school gets out for the day.
LA Tennis Centers have locations in the Palisades, Westwood and Cheviot Hills. For addresses and phone numbers, check the website.
photo: Beverly Hills Tennis via Facebook
Beverly Hills Tennis
Beverly Hills Tennis is located at the La Cienega Tennis Center and features 16 stunning courts, a full-service pro shop and locker rooms. Junior classes are offered here starting at the tender age of 3 so you can start your mini McEnroes learning the game even earlier. 3-year-old classes are only offered after school during the week, while lessons for the 4-6-year-olds, 6-8-year-olds and 9-11-year-olds are offered both during the week, as well as on weekends, which might be easier for some families. Also, be sure to double check when registering as some of the upper age classes are held at nearby Roxbury Park instead. Each kiddo’s skills are evaluated by instructors so they are moved into the appropriate class according to current ability. The swell thing is most lessons cap out at only 6-8 students, so your little one is guaranteed lots of one-on-one instruction. If you’re interested in lessons, we highly recommend swinging by the pro shop to register in person as those families are given top priority. And be sure to book courts for yourselves while the kids take lessons; these are some of the best courts in town.
325 La Cienega Blvd.
photo: Burbank Tennis Center via Facebook
Burbank Tennis Center
Burbank Tennis Center’s “QuickStart 10 and Under” program is made for helping wannabe Federers develop a love of the game right from their very first serve. This USTA (United States Tennis Association) program uses smaller courts, smaller racquets and lower bouncing balls, making it tons easier for tiny hands to grip, swing and hit. QuickStart classes are divided into two groups: a class for 3-8-year-olds and another class for 8-10-year-olds. In addition to the Quickstart program, Burbank Tennis Center also offers affordable 9-week group sessions like the Pee-Wee classes geared toward kids aged 3-5, Youth lessons for tykes aged 5-7 and a Junior program for kiddos aged 8-12. Tennis lessons are offered on a wide variety of days and times (including weekends and weekday afternoons), so there’s bound to be something that will fit your family’s busy schedule.
1515 Glenoaks Blvd.
photo: Chromster.fr via Flickr
LA Tennis, Incorporated
LA Tennis, Inc. (not to be confused with the above LA Tennis Centers) also uses the USTA QuickStart program to better teach its junior players age 10 and under. They’ve found that with more appropriately sized tennis equipment and courts, students have a much more natural progression of skills across the board. Kids’ group classes start as young as age 3 and take place at the Riverside, Vermont and Poinsettia Courts in Griffith Park. A “Parents and Me” class is available as well for parents who’d like to simultaneously take tennis lessons together with their tots. One instructor is designated for the grown-ups and one for the littles. Just don’t be too shocked when your rugrat totally shows you up.
3403 Riverside Dr.
Where are your tots’ fave places to play tennis? We’d love to know in the comments below!