How to Play Tennis




Introduction: How to Play Tennis

Tennis is a sport that is played all over the world, and is fun none the less. This Instructable is designed to teach the basics of tennis, as well as some advanced tips to improve your game.

Whether you are just beginning, or hoping to refine your game, continue to read this Instructable!

Step 1: Choosing a Raquet

When looking to buy a raquet, you should figure out the level of play you are at.

Beginners might want to choose a head that is wider, which reduces the chance of missing the ball. More experienced players might want to choose a more narrow head which has more power and accuracy.

The material used for the raquet are nowadays synthetic materials such as composites and others. Wood is out of date, but you can always go old school.

Younger players might want to choose a raquet that is lighter so it is easier to hit the ball. As you grow older, you will become stronger, and a heavier raquet will be needed.

Step 2: Tennis Grip

The grip on your raquet is an important aspect in your tennis play.

You should grip the tennis raquet loosley between strokes, but when you are about to swing, it is better to tighten your hold.

The following is the Eastern Grip
1)Note that the eastern grip is popular with beginners and is widely used with forehands because of its comfort. The grip can also be used to hit backhands, serves and volleys.
2)Hold the racket in front of you in your left hand (or right hand if you're a left-handed player).
3)Rotate the racket so that the face (strings) of the racket is perpendicular to the ground.
4)Lay the palm of your free hand flat on the face of the racket.
5)Move your palm toward your body, down the shaft of the racket, until it hits the end of the handle.
6)Wrap your fingers around the handle and space them slightly apart. Your thumb and forefinger should lie almost directly on top of the handle, forming a V that points toward your right shoulder (toward your left shoulder if you're left-handed). Your thumb should lie across the top of the handle.

Continental Grip
1)Note that the continental grip is used by more advanced players in serving and volleying. Begin by forming an eastern grip.
2)Ease your grip and turn the racket with your left hand (or right hand if you're a left-handed player).
3)Turn the racket until it is perpendicular to the ground, or pointing to the "12 o'clock" position. Then, if you are right-handed, turn the racket to about the "1 o'clock" position. If you are left-handed, turn the racket to the "11 o'clock" position.
4)Wrap your fingers around the handle and space them slightly apart. The V formed by the thumb and forefinger should point toward you, and the thumb should lie along the length of the handle. The bottom knuckle of your index finger should lie right on top of the racket.

'Western Grip
1)Note that the western grip is excellent in forehand play but feels awkward for beginners, especially when used for backhands, serves and volleys. Advanced players often use it to enhance their forehand play.
2)Start by holding the racket with an eastern grip.
3)Relax your grip and turn the racket counterclockwise until the top of the racket points toward the "11 o'clock" position. Left-handed players should turn the racket clockwise to the "1 o'clock" position.
4)Wrap your fingers around the handle and space them apart slightly. The V formation should point to your right (or left), and your thumb should lie across the top of the handle.

Picture 1 is the Eastern Grip

Step 3: Forehand Stroke

The forehand stroke is usually the most powerful and the stroke most users want to use. Of course it has to be on the right side of the person to get the forehand stroke.

The forehand in tennis is a shot made by swinging the racquet across one's body in the direction of where the player wants to place the shot. For a right-handed player, the forehand is a stroke that begins on the right side of his body, continues across his body as contact is made with the ball, and ends on the left side of his body. It is considered the easiest shot to master, perhaps because it is the most natural stroke. Beginners and advanced players often have better forehands than any other shots and use it as a weapon.

The way I learned was to:
Break Up (Release two handed grip)
Come Around (Begin to come around in a circular form)
Contact (Make contact with the ball)
Follow Through (Follow through over your shoulder)
Finish Up (Just finish the stroke)
Back to the ready position (Back in the two handed grip)

Step 4: Backhand Stroke

The backhand stroke is when the ball is on the opposite side of you. It is the opposite of the forehand.

There are two types of back hands. There is the two-handed back hand, which is the first picture below. There is also the one handed back hand which are primarily the same thing, except you are using different amounts of hands.

The backhand in tennis is a stroke hit by swinging the racquet away from one's body in the direction of where the player wants the ball to go. For a right-handed player, a backhand begins on the left side of his body, continues across his body as contact is made with the ball, and ends on the right side of his body. It can be either a one-handed or a two-handed stroke.

The backhand is generally considered more difficult to master than the forehand. Because the dominant hand "pulls" into the shot, instead of pushing, the backhand generally lacks the power and consistency of a forehand. Beginner and club-level players often have difficulty hitting a backhand and junior players often have trouble because they are not strong enough to hit it. Even many advanced players have a significantly better forehand than backhand, and there are many strategies based on exploiting this weakness.

Step 5: Volleys

Net play is an important aspect to playing tennis. At the net, the player will primarily use a volley to hit the ball.

The volley is when the ball does not hit the ground before you hit it. It is out of the air pretty much.

You want to get yourself about 3 feet away from the net. Make sure you keep your feet shoulder width apart. Hold your racket in your continental grip. Keep the racket in front of you, with the head pointing up. The bottom of the handle should be even with your belly button. Lightly hold the top portion of the racket handle with the fingers of your non-dominant hand. Bend your knees slightly. You should be able to feel some strain on your quadriceps muscles (in your thighs).

Step toward the ball with your left foot (or your right foot if you're left-handed) as the ball is hit toward you above waist level. Turn your shoulders slightly to the right (or left) until you bring the racket back to a point even with your right (or left) shoulder. This motion should be smooth.

Drive the racket forward to meet the ball - use a quick "punching" motion. The head should be vertical and the ball should strike the face evenly. Make contact as the ball is about even with your right (or left) shoulder.

Turn your racket hand slightly so that the palm faces the ball upon contact. This turns the racket face so that the ball hits squarely off the strings.

Follow through slightly with your swing. The follow-through for the volley is shorter than that for the regular forehand ground stroke; the racket should not cross the front of your body.

Step 6: The Serve

The serve in tennis is a shot to start a point. The serve is usually initiated by tossing the ball into the air and hitting it (usually near the apex of its trajectory) into the diagonally opposite service box without touching the net. It may be performed underhand or overhead. The serve is the only shot where a player can take his time to set up, instead of having to react to an opponent's shot.

The serve is one of the more difficult shots for a novice, but once mastered it can be a considerable advantage. Advanced players can hit the serve in many different ways and often use it as an offensive weapon to gain an advantage in the point or to win it outright. Because of this, professional players win most of their service games, and the breaking serve plays a crucial role in a match.

If you miss their opposite service box, then you get another chance, and that is considered a fault. Doing this twice is called a double fault, and you lose the point.

Step 7: Rules

To make it easier, I just added the link of the rules of tennis below:

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    9 years ago on Introduction

    do you have recommendation for a Brand of raquet like WILSON or PRINCE?
    which brand is better to use?


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    I wouldnt give a particular recommendation because all these brands have very good starter rackets if you are new to the sport. In sports retailers they normally have diferrent sections of rackets for different skill levels, so a beginner section then an intermediate section then an advanced section. I would suggest either looking online or going to your nearest sports shop.

    David M.Law
    David M.Law

    11 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks....I'm trying to get as much information about son (6yrs) is a begginer and is under coaching

    tennis wilson
    tennis wilson

    12 years ago on Introduction

    I hope this helps you for next week Janetta! Study this site diligently! I look forward to collecting on our bet!


    12 years ago on Step 7

    this site is cool cuz it helpd me a lot with tennes me and my dad can play tenes now


    12 years ago on Introduction

    ya i love tennis i've been playin for 6 years and i love it i think alot of other people should play i also think tennis should be a loved sport like foot ball


    13 years ago on Step 7

    Thank you for your site. In order to gain perfection it should propose a service photo and a clock scheme with the 5 grips : 11h eastern, 0h continental, 1h hammer, 3h western, & 4h semi-western. Best regards,


    Hey, really nice one man. I'm just starting out with a few friends and this is really going to help.


    13 years ago on Step 1

    well i am a beginer and i wish i would have looked at this sooner because i just went out and bought a $75 racket and its pretty big and heavy but i also think this may be a good thing because i do have a nasty backhand because i have a lot of power


    14 years ago on Introduction

    k i will get on that as soon as posible and make shore i get good info