If you are looking for a new sport to pick up, there are few that offer the challenge that tennis does. Chase Rubin has embraced it for the mix of strategic thinking that goes into the game, to say nothing of the workout it provides.
If you want to get off the sidelines and onto the court, here is what you need to know.
Basic rules of the game
Before we get into the particulars of how to play this game proficiently, it is necessary that we discuss the basic rules of tennis.
A racket game that can accommodate anywhere between two to four players, the object of the game of tennis is to hit the ball within the bounds of your opponent’s side so that they cannot return the ball to you successfully.
To score a point, a player must hit the ball to their opponent’s side so that it bounces at least twice. If it bounces once, then goes out of bounds, this also counts as a point in your favor.
If your opponent hits the ball into the net while attempting to return it to you, you score a point. If your opponent commits a double-fault (hits the ball into the net twice in a row), or returns the ball to your side so that it lands out of bounds, you score a point.
The first player that scores four points while winning by a margin of at least two or more wins a game. A tennis match consists of multiple sets between players or teams (at least two for women, and three for men).
To win a set, a player must win six games by a margin of at least two games or more. In order to win the match, women must win two sets, and men must win three sets.
One scoring quirk we need to mention before moving on to skills
Don’t be confused if you score a point and it goes up on the board as 15 points. Tennis is an unusual sport in that the score is kept in the following fashion: love (0), 15 (1), 30 (2), 40 (3), game (4).
Yes, we know it’s weird, but this is how things have been done in this game for centuries, so who would we be to question tradition?
Basic tennis skills
Tennis is a game that takes time to master, so don’t get dispirited if you have trouble getting its basic moves down at first. Let’s start with the serve, as it is here where beginners have the most issues.
Start by angling your left foot towards the right post of the net, while keeping your right foot parallel to the baseline. Grip the tennis ball with the tips of your fingers, with your tossing arm positioned midway between your legs.
As you get ready to toss the ball straight up in the air, begin to bring your racket arm back. Shift your weight to your back foot, and release the ball as your tossing arm passes your shoulders.
Keeping your eye on the ball, shift your weight to your front foot and bring your racket forward to the impact zone. Follow through on your stroke to ensure proper power transfer and trajectory.
This process will take time to perfect, so be sure to practice for a significant period of time to work out the kinks, and to build eye-hand coordination and muscle memory.
If your opponent manages to return your serve, you’ll need to counter with a racket stroke. There are two basic kinds: a forehand and a backhand stroke.
The forehand grip is when the racket is held with its business end angled upwards toward the net, while the backhand grip is the opposite of this.
Both ways of hitting the ball impart different effects, so be sure to experiment with both as you play and practice.