Tennis is a sport that is played frequently all over the world, for recreational and competitive purposes. As a way of exercising, it is known for providing the player with cardio, arm and leg workout. Nonetheless, starting to play a new sport from scratch can be a daunting and threatening experience, especially if you don’t know how to begin.
Because of that, it’s important to follow some steps and tips that will help to start off with energy and accurate information. Remember that every new activity is hard at first, but with practice, you’ll get better. Having an instructor or tutor can also be of help if you’ve never played before.
Knowing this, here is a step-by-step list of how to play tennis for beginners:
Table of Contents
1. Choose your racquet and tennis balls
You may think this is overwhelming… choosing a tennis racquet when you may not even know the differences between them, but fear not: it’s not as hard as it seems. If it’s your first time ever holding a tennis racquet, you might want to get one that’s lighter, so you can build up your arm strength little by little. Also, using a wider one will help improve your chances of not missing the ball when thrown at you.
Different materials can be used to make racquets, but synthetic ones are most frequently used. You can always ask the sellers on the sports stores to help you, explaining to them how you’re a beginner and have never played before.
Balls, on the other hand, come in different styles, but if you’re a beginner, the only rule to remember is not to play with a dead ball. If you want to know what a “dead” ball is, hold the ball on the level with your eyes and let it drop. If it bounces, it’s not dead, if it doesn’t, you will need to get a new one.
2. Clothing, sneakers and water
This is one of the most significant things while learning how to play tennis for beginners… Wearing light clothes is important, because, you’ll be practicing a new sport that will demand things from your body that you haven’t experienced before. Sneakers, on the other hand, are also very important because tennis is a type of exercise that requires a lot of running. You also need to remember to stay hydrated at all times, so keep a water bottle close to you and drink after every match!
3. I’m wearing my clothes and sneakers, my ball is not dead and I have my racquet… now what?
Well, first, you’ll need to learn how to hold your brand new, shiny racquet. Hold it in your non-dominant hand (if you’re right-handed, hold it with your left hand, and the opposite if you’re a leftie) and turn it so its face (the oval-shaped part with the strings) is horizontally aligned with the ground.
Then, put your dominant hand on the strings of the racquet, then move the palm towards your body, stopping right when you get to the handle. Close your fingers around it, creating a crease between your thumb and forefinger.
4. You know how to hold your racquet now, so it’s time to learn some moves!
The serve: it’s the stroke to start a point. It can be one of the most difficult for a beginner, but when learned correctly, it has a lot of advantages. It is done by shooting the ball upwards with your non-dominant hand and then hitting it with the racquet into the diagonally opposed territory, without touching the net.
The forehand stroke: this is a simple tennis shot that consists in taking a swing at the racquet across from the body, in the direction in which you want to aim the ball. It is a good shot to begin to play tennis, because, it’s one of the simplest ones.
The backhand stroke: this is a little more difficult than the last one, but you can also learn it if you’re a beginner. It is made by swinging the racquet away from the body, aiming at the direction of where you want to take the shot. It can be a little tricky to master, so don’t worry if you don’t get it right at first. Even professional players can have difficulties with this stroke, but remember that practice makes perfect!
5. Now… how do I win a tennis match?
Well, now that you know the basics of how to play tennis for beginners, including how to hold a racquet and hit a ball, there are some other things to know on how to actually win a game. First of all, you will win a point if you hit the ball and it lands inside the opponent’s territory and it’s not returned. You can also win a point if it bounces twice in the other one’s territory before returning it.
If you bounce the net with the ball, however, your opponent (the one that didn’t hit the net) will get a point. Don’t worry; this is a common mistake when learning how to play tennis. Your opponent will also get a point if you hit the net with any part of your racquet, so beware!
6. Final tips
Remember not to touch the net with any part of your racquet. Nets usually are 3.5 feet high at the posts and 3 feet high in the middle. It is an act of courtesy to shake hands with your opponent before and after the game finishes, so they will know that it was very fun to play with them!
Even though learning how to play tennis can be a little overwhelming at first, remember to give yourself time to adapt to the racquet, the weight of the balls, the dimensions of the field and the basic rules of the game. Every big player started out just as you are doing, so take your time to understand everything and to give your body space to feel the goodness that comes from playing a sport!
If you are just learning how to play tennis for beginners, always think of to warm up a little before practicing to avoid injuries, and stay hydrated during all your games. You will improve slowly but steadily with each practice session. And the most important lesson you should always remember is to permanently have fun!