I'm sure you've seen your Facebook newsfeed inundated with TopCourt ads from professionals such as Venus Williams and Félix Auger-Aliassime. Their captivating slow-motion videos of top ATP and WTA pros hitting their serves or groundstrokes with upbeat music playing in the background are very reminiscent of the ads you might see for MasterClass (TopCourt undoubtedly took heavy inspiration from the theatrical e-learning platform that pioneered the star-dazzling celebrity-teaches-all format).
We decided to test drive TopCourt and see what it's all about, and we identified some pros and cons of the platform that every avid tennis fan and player should consider before forking over $180.
The TopCourt website and platform has a very clean look. The gold bar logo and the capitalized text by default reflects a pristine and imposing atmosphere.
You can earn "Gold Courts" (essentially points) in order to receive a few additional perks like swag, or you can pay 4X per month ($60+) for their "Platinum" program for a chance to be on one of their film sets.
- Hollywood-level production quality. The shot and editing quality is quite good and seems to be filmed like a documentary.
- "Behind-the-scenes" view into the mindset of pros. Each class features a couple of "Stories" videos where the pro (literally) gives their life story on camera.
- Good entertainment value if you're a hardcore tennis fan. If you absolutely adore a certain pro and cannot get enough from YouTube or Tennis TV.
- Can be daunting for beginners. Most of the videos feature the pros talking about their experience on the world stage, and technique or drill explanation can gloss over details a beginner may not be familiar with. Since most of the videos are from pros who may not have had experience coaching, their explanations tend to be quite short.
- Not organized for learning & progressing. Overall, it seems like the videos for each pros were produced based on whatever the pro wanted to speak on. There's no clear curriculum to improve your forehand or serve.
- Annual membership only. With a monthly membership, TopCourt may face a similar problem that MasterClass with retention as outlined in this Medium article, given the drop-off in replay value (or value in general) after viewing the classes from the handful of pros you actually recognize.
We also did a deep-dive into our own platform, oneCoach, which offers online tennis programs, lessons and drills for beginners, intermediate, and advanced tennis players.
The oneCoach platform is mobile-first: the full suite of content can be access through their iOS and Android apps. The playful baby blue theming (or turquoise blue in dark mode) comes off as welcoming to both newcomers and experienced folks.
There is also a web portal to preview some of the programs if you'd like to get a taste before downloading the app.
- Structured curriculum designed for progressing in the sport. All content is organized into different skill levels (beginner, intermediate, advanced) and focus areas (fundamentals, groundstrokes, serves, returns, overheads, volleys, footwork, fitness) so that you can quickly navigate to the exact thing you want to work on for your skill level.
- Coaches with 7+ years of experience of teaching recreational players. The videos are positioned for recreational players with no professional academy training experience. The coaches identify and explain common mistakes you may make as you go through the stages.
- Platform features like multiple camera angles or mirror mode which give you a 360 view at all times. As you work through the content, you can watch the
- As of when this article was written, there are only classes for the beginner and intermediate level. The team does state that they are working on advanced content as well as more in-depth content for all skill levels.
- No feedback mechanism. A key part of learning a sport is getting feedback from an experience eye and to iterate on that feedback. There is currently no means of receiving feedback from one of the coaches or from any coach in general.
The exponential growth of e-learning since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic has benefited online learning platforms like TopCourt and oneCoach.
TopCourt seems to be skewed more towards entertainment than actual tennis instruction. oneCoach is built from the ground-up to be more structured so that you can pinpoint exactly the lessons and drills you need to work on to improve your tennis game.