Originally Posted by WildVolley
Ideally. No question in my mind that you should take lessons the very first time you pick up a racket.
The best way to learn is to start with the right grips and the right stances from the first time you try to hit a ball with a racket. My serve has always been a strength because I had lessons early after I started playing and I was shown the continental grip and proper swing pattern.
Also, you're wrong to assume that some players can't hit a ball the first time they pick up a racket. I grew up throwing balls around, hitting things, and running around as a kid. I could hit a ball the first time I picked up a racket, though I wasn't a small child at that point.
I could hit a ball right away too but I was about 14 when I started. I would fool around with my brother for several weeks and then very quickly got some good coaching which paid off in me learning good strokes.
I actually think fooling around with balls and rackets for some hours first before you learn any grips and techniques is a good thing. I would even start just bouncing the ball up and down with the racket like this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ms7-bsfVBec
before I start hitting).
I don't think it makes sense to learn grips and swings before you master the bounce of the ball. this playing around can be done without a coach too and will save the kid some frustrations.
the mind needs to be free before you learn motions and you can only do that if you do not worry to much about the bounce of the ball.
but after a few hours I would definitely switch to a coach.