Right now, tennis is experiencing a major increase in popularity. A lot of this can be attributed to Emma Raducanu, the 18-year-old US Open winner who has taken the tennis world by storm. Her amazing performances have impressed younger viewers so much that it’s inspired them to pick up a racket and play, which is great to see.
Because you’re reading this article, it’s safe to assume that you’re a tennis beginner. First of all, welcome, as you’re now a member of the best sporting community in the world. Secondly, are you looking to improve your game? Of course, you are! And this beginner’s guide is here to help you do this.
Pro tip: make sure to bookmark this guide or print it off next time you head down to the court.
Stretch and warm-up before playing
Firstly, it’s important to always stretch and warm up before playing. The reason for this is to activate your muscles and improve your flexibility, which will prevent the risk of you getting injured.
You can start by doing a couple of light jogs around the court, followed by leg and arm stretches. Jumping jacks and knee lifts should also be thrown into your warm-up to get your inner core working and your blood flowing.
Also, remember to never overdo your warm-ups. Going too fast will potentially cause your body some harm. Instead, take your time and give yourself a break straight after. Whilst taking a break, you should do something fun like grabbing your phone and playing some online games for a quick. Online games come with health benefits that can improve your tennis performance, view more to learn how.
Focus on your knee action when serving
The serve is one of the most important shots in tennis, yet many beginners fail to get their serves right due to poor knee action.
Make sure that you bend your knees when serving and extend them prior to hitting the ball (this could cause your feet to leave the floor by an inch or 2). Your knee action will generate more power on the ball.
Practice topspin, slices, and hitting the ball flat
It’s important that you are capable of hitting the ball with topspin, slice, as well as hitting it flat. If you’re only good at one of them (i.e., hitting the ball flat) your game will be very limited. Remember, topspin and slices are key to winning modern games. Once you get them right, even Roger Federer will be proud of you!
Prioritize your footwork
Footwork is everything in tennis, so as a beginner, you should prioritize healthy footwork habits. Stay on your toes and time your split steps correctly – this is key.
If you remain flatfooted, you’re going to get punished by your opponent!
Avoid snapping your wrists and elbows
A lot of tennis beginners make the mistake of snapping their wrists and elbows when hitting the ball, so try not to do this. Instead, maintain a clean motion when using your racket and follow through strongly whilst maintaining a firm grip on your racket.
Lastly, find which grips work best for you – the Continental, the Eastern, and the Western,
In tennis, there are three types of grips:
Each player has their personal preference. For example, the Continental grip is good for slicing, serving, and volleying, whereas the western grip is better for hitting the ball flat and generations lots of speed.
Your choice of grip should be based on comfortability and your desired style of play.