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Top Ten Tennis Tips for Beginners

  • April 29, 2014
  • By Brittany
  • 14 Comments
Top Ten Tennis Tips for Beginners

If only I could think of a synonym for beginners that started with the letter “T”.  I’m such a nerd.  But in all seriousness, for my birthday this year, the Hubs gave me a series of tennis lessons!  Woo hoo!  We’ve been playing tennis together for a few years now and while I have gotten better from playing just the two of us, I have not really progressed that much.  I kept expressing how I wanted to learn enough so that we could play with others and not embarrass ourselves (ok by ourselves I mean, myself.  Pete is actually really good).  So I was ecstatic when Pete got me lessons for my bday.  I have to say in four short lessons (I have one more to go!), I have learned so much more than just by hitting with the Hubs.  I can see actual improvement!  So with the weather getting warmer, I thought I would share a few of the tips I’ve learned in case I can inspire you to get out and play this season! 

1.  Invest in some lessons.  See above for my story.  Seriously, if you are intending to play with others, lessons are so valuable.  You can do private or group lessons but I recommend private because you only need a few sessions to really focus on the areas you need improvement.  

Labor Day Tennis

2. Learn the lingo.  One of the easiest ways to get into tennis is to at least know what you are talking about.  Sure, you may not have a great drop shot, but you should at least know what it is.  Here’s a little guide to get you started. 

Scoring

Love = 0

Points go from 15 to 30 to 40.

When players are tied, the score is announced using the word all.  So if both players have 30, the score is 30 all.

When players are tied at 40, it is known as deuce.  Generally you need one point after 40 to win the game but when players are tied at deuce, the next player to win the point gets the advantage.  That player must then win the next point as well to win the game. 

Games are played in sets.  Typically an individual will win a set when he or she has won six games and at least two more games than his or her opponent.

Matches refer to all the games played in a single session.  A match is usually the best of three games or the best of five games.  Women typically play three while men play five.

Strokes

Forehand– For right handed players, this refers to a swing that is taken on the right side of the body with the body open to the ball.

Backhand– For right handed players, this refers to a swing taken on the left side of the body with the body closed off to the ball.

Serve– This refers to the start of the game when one player sets the ball into play.

Drop shot– Refers to a shot that lands just over the net for the strategical purpose of forcing your opponent to run into the net to return the ball. 

Lob– Refers to a shot that lands over the head of your opponent if you opponent is playing close to the net.  The strategical purpose of this shot is to hit it farther back making it difficult for the opponent to return the shot. 

3.  Start off rallying working on forehand.  The forehand is the easiest stroke to master because you are open to the ball and have control with your dominant hand.  When making a forehand shot take a moderate back swing and follow through towards the ball making sure that when you make contact with the ball, your racquet is parallel to the net so your ball will go relatively straight.

4.  Progress to backhand.  After you have mastered the forehand, you can move on to backhand.  A backhand stroke is generally done with two hands on the racquet.  Just like with the forehand, you want to make sure to take a moderate backswing and fall through making contact with the ball when the face of your racquet is parallel to the net.  It can be tempting to allow the top hand to lead in strength causing the racquet to torque in towards you a bit but try to keep the wrists straight and even.

Labor Day tennis 2
5.  Play mini tennis.  When you are starting out, hitting the ball the length of the court can be difficult.  Rally on the service line (the horizontal line closest to the net) or in the service area (the two boxes close to the net) is much easier.  You can practice your shots and not worry about putting too much power into your swing (yet).  Plus, it is easier to hit and return when you are playing closer to the net because the ball has less space to cover.

6.  Play with someone slightly above your level.  As with most things in life, we learn from people who are more proficient than us.  By playing with someone who is slightly above your level, you’ll be able to pick up pointers and improve your game at a more rapid pace.

Tennis
7.  Conquer the serve.  Serving can be daunting when you are first starting out in tennis.  Start with a half serve first.  Stand with feet in a split stance and your racquet hand to the side and slightly behind you.  Hold the racquet as if you were going to hammer something.  Toss the ball up and swing the racquet up towards the ball twisting it so that racquet head is now facing directly towards the court.  Once you have mastered this, you can progress to the full serve, which starts with the racquet and the ball together in front of the body.

8. Make sure you have proper footwear.  Many courts will not allow running shoes or black soles.  If you plan on playing a lot, invest in some tennis shoes.  They offer better support for the agility moves you will be doing like running, stopping, starting and twisting.

Tennis
9.  Don’t worry about bad shots.  Everyone, even professionals, have bad shots from time to time.  The key is not to worry about them or get frustrated.  

10. Practice, practice, practice.  We all know that practice makes perfect and in this case, that is especially true.  The more you get out and play, the better you will be! 

Tennis 3

Readers, do you play tennis?  What have you taken lessons in most recently?  If you had to give a beginner one piece of advice in your favorite sport, what would it be?

 

By Brittany, April 29, 2014
  • 14
14 Comments
  • Danielle @ Fitness Frugalista
    April 29, 2014

    I was an avid tennis player throughout high school, but recently I haven’t played much and have been running instead. I keep saying I want to pick it back up, and I think your post inspired me to! I haven’t taken any lessons recently, but hopefully that will change. Maybe try some golf lessons? Anyway, if I had to give a beginner advice in any sport, I would say to not get discouraged and keep practicing!

  • Holly
    April 29, 2014

    This blog is with a lesson in itself! Good job! Practice Practice Practice is the key as in anything.

  • Jaclyn @ BumpSweat
    April 29, 2014

    I tried tennis in high school and it certainly turned out to not be my thing. Then I discovered lifting in college, and I love it. My #1 piece of advice to newbs is to figure out your starting point (with form, amount of weight to use, etc.) and take it slow. Actually, the quote ‘Start where you are, use what you have, do what you can’ has become one of my favorites because of this.

  • Allie
    April 29, 2014

    I learned so much just by reading this post!! Playing tennis (and golf!) are on my “someday” list. I always tell my husband I’ll play when my knees give out from running – but of course I will need GOOD knees for both of those sports!
    I also love your outfit and the palm trees:-)
    And thank you for finally telling me what “love” means as it refers to tennis! I seriously did not know that!

  • Nellie
    April 29, 2014

    I think I told you that I was captain of my tennis team in high school–but the one thing I could never master was a proper serve. I need to learn that for sure!! Your pictures are super cute!

  • Melanie @ Happy Being Healthy
    April 29, 2014

    I am horrible at tennis, but I just learned so much from all of your tips!! I’m definitely a newb and didn’t even know how to keep score. Now I do….thanks! I love all of your cute tennis outfits so much!

  • Nicole
    April 29, 2014

    My hubby and I were playing tennis pretty often a few years ago, but have only played once in the last year. I was thinking the other day that we need to break our rackets out for some fun soon. I’m not very good at tennis and totally could use lessons, but I have a good time and get a workout in so it’s all good!

  • Cailee Joy @ http://www.hellohealthyeating.com
    April 30, 2014

    I need this!! HAHA I am soooo bad at tennis! Happy Bday btw!

  • Lisa @ Lulu's Big Adventure
    May 1, 2014

    What a fun idea for a birthday gift! I took tennis lessons in the summer when I was a kid, but it’s been so long. I’m pretty awful haha. But it’s lots of fun!

  • Simone
    December 9, 2014

    I am 40 years old, and I play tennis every day. I play with friends, and I play in a league. I started playing in leagues as an adult, and got really good at it, I am one level below the top level at the local league. It’s really a great and fun sport, it is addictive! And it keeps you in shape, if you play singles. I also run, you gotta do that to get quicker in the court.

  • Tennis Camp Maine
    July 27, 2015

    Having proper footwear is very important to your tennis game. Thanks for the tips.

  • Tennis Fan
    October 4, 2016

    Great tips. Thanks to the author of this post, to share their knwoledge with us. I must say these tips gona help me alot.

  • Pierre
    November 10, 2016

    Great tips! I bookmarked it and I will show this to my nephew.

  • Barbera Peters
    August 21, 2017

    It was awesome that you mentioned wearing proper footwear when playing tennis since I am going to the beach next week with some friends to try tennis for the first time and I had no idea that you needed certain shoes. that is something that I will have to remember when I start packing. Thanks for the help, now all we need to look for is a net to attach at the beach.

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