Tennis is a sport with a long proud history, with illustrious champions, epic matches and unforgettable moments. Every time a major competition comes around, people around the world begin to take an interest in the sport and want to learn to play. So whether you’re new to the sport completely or you’ve been watching for years thinking, “I could make that shot!” here’s our lesson for beginners.
If you’re going to learn to play, first you need to be familiar with the tennis court itself.
- At the top and bottom of the court horizontally are the baselines. The baseline is where serves are taken and they mark the limits of the court; any shot which lands outside the baseline will cost you the point.
- Running vertically at the edges you’ll find two sets of lines on either side. The innermost lines on either side mark the width of the playing court for singles matches, whereas the outermost lines act as the width for a doubles game. Shots outside of these lines will cost you the point.
- In the middle you’ll find a net. During a serve, hitting the net will force you to retake the serve, but it’s legal to hit during a rally – though to do so intentionally is considered unsportsmanlike.
Nobody wants to walk to their first practice with a hockey stock and a football, so take note here!
- The equipment used to strike the ball is called a racquet. If you’re new to the sport, make sure to pick one with a wider head, to ensure you don’t miss the ball.
- Tennis balls are obviously essential and can be bought in most good sporting goods stores. Don’t opt for bottom of the line balls; they won’t bounce as well and won’t last as long, making it harder to practice.
- For beginners, don’t bother about wearing specialist tennis clothing. Wear something that’s comfortable, lightweight and that won’t restrict you’re movement too much.
Ball Striking Basics
Follow these tips and you’ll go from a nobody to a Nadal in no time.
- For a forehand strike – that’s a strike on your stronger side – turn your hips and shoulders to your dominant side, pull back and swing from low to high. The ball tends to go where your racquet is facing, so try to keep it aimed in that direction.
- With a backhand, your hips and shoulders should face your non-dominant side and you swing low to high hitting the ball with the back of your racquet.
- Serving overhead involves throwing the fall in the air and striking at its highest point but don’t worry, it’s a hard skill and it’s perfectly acceptable for beginners to serve underhand.
The Most Important Thing? Practice
It’s one thing to read about it, but to become a decent tennis player practicing regularly is what the doctor – or coach, in this case – ordered. It’s tempting to give up if you don’t get it straight away, but you should stick it out – nobody was born a champion, and they certainly never got that far by quitting. After all, practice makes perfect.
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