I need to get in shape something serious and my routine at the gym has been rather inconsistent, so I decided to trick myself into getting more exercise by taking up something that looked like fun. I kept walking by the courts and it looked interesting, so I finally decided to give it a try.

A friend of ours has a teenage son who has been going to the gym with me on the weekends and neither of us had ever played, so I went to Dick's, bought some inexpensive equipment, watched some online videos for basic technique and rules, and hit the court. We've been having a blast learning the game, and since we're both learning at the same time, we're pretty evenly matched.

The first day I could hardly walk the next morning and now I can play a couple hours without any ill effects beyond a little soreness here and there, so I feel like my conditioning is improving, but at my age, (44) I'm not nearly as limber as I used to be and I'm still at that stage where I'm just trying to hit the darn ball and occasionally I might manage a good shot.

Anyway, who else around here plays? Any experienced players with some good practice tips for a beginner, or any other beginners interested in playing a bit? I'm open to any suggestions from practice tips to improve my game to what kind of equipment I should look into down the road. I belong to L.A. Fitness and play mostly at the Oakley and West Chester locations.