7 Easy Ways to Learn Tennis: Simple Steps to Build Confidence
Learning how to play tennis for the first time can be quite a daunting task. The rules, scoring system and areas of the court can all take time to get your head around, especially if you are new to the game of tennis.
If you’re looking to start your tennis journey but don’t know where to begin, you’ve come to the right place.
In this article we will explain a number of easy ways in which you can learn to play tennis, so you can step onto the court with confidence.
Why it is Important to Learn How to Play Tennis
Tennis is a very social sport, played at many parks, clubs, and sports centers around the world. However, tennis as a sport is not necessarily the most easily approachable for new players.
This is due to the complexity of the rules and scoring system compared to other sports, the high level of technical proficiency required, the expense of the sport, and the desire to feel part of the ‘in’ crowd.
Therefore, learning not only the rules of tennis but how to play the game and use tactics to win is important.
Especially if you want to get involved at your local tennis club.
Not everyone has ambitions of playing tennis matches for their local club or league. If you want to release those competitive urges on the tennis court, you’ll need to know how the game is played, and how you can take your tactics and technique to the next level.
7 Easy Ways to Learn Tennis
So, here are 7 of the easiest ways that you can start to learn tennis for yourself. This is not necessarily a step-by-step guide, but more of a general list that you can refer to when you are looking to pick up the game for the first time.
Everyone starts their tennis journey at a different stage, so we hope this list will offer a helping hand no matter how much tennis you’ve played in the past.
1. Understanding the Rules of Tennis
The first step any aspiring tennis player needs to take is understanding the rules of the game. This is actually harder than it may sound, simply because the tennis scoring system is quite unique.
Check those out for a full rundown of exactly how the game is played.
Tennis is scored through winning points, games, and sets. This is different from the more straightforward scoring of soccer or basketball, for example, so will take some getting used to.
Along with understanding the rules, there are also a number of tennis terms, like ace and let, you’ll need to understand before going ahead and playing your first match.
2. Get to Grips with the Court Dimensions
Covering a tennis court is not necessarily an easy task. A tennis court is larger than a squash, badminton, padel, or pickleball court by some margin, so you have to be physically fit to chase down balls all over the playing surface.
That being said, if you can understand where the ball should go, which areas of the court to cover at certain times, and how to use the court to your advantage, you’ll be well on your way to learning the game of tennis in no time.
The tennis court has a few distinct areas that you need to know about. These are the baseline, the service box, the tramline, and no man’s land.
The baseline is where all points start for both servers and returners and is also where a lot of shots are played from during the rally. If you hit the ball beyond the baseline it will be out, so it makes sense to stand at least a few feet behind the baseline if you can, so you can always hit the ball out in front of you.
The service boxes are where the serve must land and during the rally, tend to be used for hitting drop shots or sharp angles.
No man’s land sits between the service line and the baseline and is a tricky part of the court to play from.
Many beginner tennis players find themselves in no man’s land as they think they are covering the entire court. However, this leaves them exposed to balls passing them but still landing inside the court.
3. Learning the Serve
Another key aspect of learning tennis is to master the serve. It is practically impossible to progress your tennis skills without first learning how to serve consistently.
The serve can be a difficult shot to master, as, unlike a lot of groundstrokes in tennis, it is hit overhead. However, if you start with a basic technique and practice the feeling of hitting an overarm serve in the service box, you’ll soon get to grips with it.
Repetition is the key when it comes to serving.
It is important to develop a reliable serve that you can hit time and time again rather than always going for power, however tempting it may be.
The serve is such a fundamental part of the game of tennis, that we have developed an online course to help you master this important shot. Our Secrets of the Serve course will teach you the basics of technique, placement, speed, spin, and variation, helping you turn your serve into a real weapon.
So, if you want to take your serve to the next level, check out our Secrets of the Serve course today.
Get more out of your technique and unlock more power
4. Introduction to Tactics
Once you have a basic understanding of the rules of tennis, what shots to hit, and where to stand, it is key to learn about some basic tactics.
Ultimately, the aim of tennis is to hit the ball away from your opponent as often as possible. You want to make your opponent miss, feel off balance, and hit the ball past them where possible.
Therefore, recognizing that if you hit a serve out wide for example, there will be a big gap in the open court for you to hit into, will make it easier to win points.
Tactics don’t have to be complicated, but trying to play to your strengths and highlight your opponent’s weaknesses is a fundamental part of learning how to play tennis.
5. Let the Ball Come to You
Something that many people new to tennis do is run towards the ball too quickly. This upsets your timing and makes it incredibly difficult to hit the ball over the net and into the court consistently.
Instead of trying to get to the ball as soon as it has bounced, think about letting the ball come to you after it has reached its peak and is on the way down.
This will make it a lot easier to time your shots and give you more margin for error.
6. Play Variations of the Game
Another easy and accessible way to learn tennis is to play a few different variations of the game to hone your skills. Stepping onto a full-sized tennis court with full yellow balls can be a challenge, especially if you are new to the game.
However, playing on a reduced court size, like in the service boxes, for example, can make the game feel less daunting.
You can also adapt the game to tennis and play with junior red or orange balls, which don’t bounce as high, are less highly pressurized, and are much softer to hit.
Both of these variations on the traditional game will make it easier to develop your technique and tactics at a more manageable pace, rather than getting discouraged by jumping in the deep end too quickly.
7. Now You Mastered How to Play Tennis, The Next Step is to Understand Tactics!
Once you have mastered how to play the game of tennis, the next way to take your game to the next level is to learn about the tactical side of the game. Technique and physicality are of course important in tennis, but these areas of your game can take a long time to develop simply because of the hours of repetition needed to hone them.
However, learning about tactics both on the singles and the doubles court can immediately improve your tennis IQ.
That is why we have put together dedicated singles and doubles tactics online courses, so you can broaden your understanding of the game from the comfort of your own home.
You’ll learn tried and tested set plays, how to expose your opponent’s weaknesses, and how to think your way through tennis matches rather than relying on the brute strength of perfect timing.
Simple Guide to Learning Tennis
We hope this article has helped guide you in learning tennis the easy way. Tennis doesn’t have to be an intimidating sport and it is actually easier to grasp than you might think.
If you want to learn more about the fundamentals of tennis and take your game to the next level, check out these free articles below:
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