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How to Play Tennis – A Beginner’s Comprehensive Guide

What is Tennis?

Tennis, anyone? You might’ve heard this phrase before, but do you know what it takes to actually play the game?

History of Tennis

Did you ever wonder where tennis originated? Tennis originated in 12th century France, where players used the palm of their hand to play.Fast forward to today, and it’s a globally acclaimed sport.

Importance of the Game

Playing tennis isn’t just about fun; it’s a great workout, aids in mental agility, and fosters social connections. Globally recognized, tennis bridges cultural divides with its major tournaments. Furthermore, the discipline and perseverance needed in the game echo essential life skills, emphasizing dedication and resilience. And who can ignore the adrenaline rush of a close match?

Equipment Needed to Play Tennis

How to start playing tennis? Apart from mastering skills and strategies, selecting the right gear is pivotal for your best performance on the court.

The Tennis Racket

Tennis for beginners can seem overwhelming, especially when choosing equipment. Racquets vary in weights, sizes, and balances, all designed for specific player styles and levels. For those just starting out, a racquet with a larger head size is typically suggested. This larger head gives a more generous sweet spot, simplifying the process of connecting with the ball. As players progress, they often transition to racquets tailored for more control or power, aligning with their evolving gameplay style. If you’re looking for options that offer superior control, check out our guide on the Best Tennis Racquets for Control.

Tennis Balls

They might look simple, but there’s science behind these yellow fuzzballs. They maintain a specific bounce and weight to keep the game consistent.Specifically designed for the sport, tennis balls have a felt-covered rubber construction. There are different types depending on the court surface (hard, clay, or grass) and even balls for high-altitude play.


If you’re looking to play tennis, selecting the right footwear is crucial. Specialized tennis shoes are designed to accommodate the sport’s rapid lateral movements. These shoes come with the right kind of grip for various court surfaces, ensuring no slips and promoting agile play. Moreover, choosing a shoe with excellent ankle support is a must to reduce the chances of injuries.


When you’re gearing up to play tennis, it’s crucial to choose attire that prioritizes both performance and ease. Today’s tennis clothing employs moisture-wicking fabrics to handle perspiration, ensuring that players remain comfortable with designs crafted for unrestricted movement. Women frequently gravitate towards tennis dresses or skirts, usually paired with tank tops or t-shirts. For men, the go-to ensemble often consists of lightweight shirts and shorts.

Tennis Bag

A tennis bag is an essential accessory for both amateur and professional players, tailored to securely store and organize tennis equipment. Some bags boast thermally protected compartments, ensuring that rackets are shielded from extreme temperatures, which can affect string tension and racket performance.

Tennis String

The choice of tennis string and its tension is pivotal to a player’s game as it can drastically influence the racket’s overall performance. Strings, often overlooked by casual players, are the very medium of contact with the ball, and their type and tension dictate how the ball reacts upon impact.


If you’re planning to play tennis, understanding the role of dampeners might come in handy. These compact devices, often round or rectangular, are among the racket’s strings. Their primary function? To lessen the vibration from the racket to your hand and arm. This can not only amplify the sensation when the ball meets the racket but also diminish potential discomfort or long-term injury. Additionally, the muted vibration alters the sound produced upon ball impact, a characteristic some tennis players favor.


In tennis, towels are essential, not just accessories. Players rely on them to wipe away distracting sweat, ensuring a clear vision and firm grip on the racket, which is crucial during intense matches. Microfiber towels, preferred by many, are especially valued for their lightweight nature. Their lightness allows players to quickly manage them during matches and they conveniently fit in tennis bags, making them travel-friendly.

Water Bottle or Hydration Pack

Hydration is paramount in tennis, a sport that often involves extended periods of strenuous activity, sometimes in extremely hot conditions. The water bottle becomes an indispensable ally for a player on the court. Dehydration, even if mild, can severely hamper a player’s performance, affecting their concentration, reflexes, and stamina. It’s not just about quenching thirst; it’s about maintaining peak physical and cognitive function.

Wristbands and Headbands

When you play tennis, accessories like wristbands and headbands become essential. Wristbands help absorb perspiration, ensuring a steady hold on your racket, while headbands prevent sweat from reaching your eyes, maintaining unobstructed vision during the match.

Base Tennis Techniques

When you venture to play tennis, you’re diving into a sport marked by its precision, speed, and strategic depth. Grasping the essential techniques is paramount. Here’s a glimpse of the foundational skills that every budding tennis enthusiast should acquaint themselves with:

The Forehand

When you play tennis, consider the basic stroke as a handshake with the racket. Simply swing forward and connect with the ball. It’s an instinctive move and is undoubtedly among the most commonly utilized shots in the game.

The Backhand

A bit tricky for some, the backhand requires swinging the racket from the opposite side. Two-handed or one, it’s your call! It requires good footwork to position oneself correctly.

The Volley

This mid-air stroke is for those quick reflex shots near the net. A game changer! A shot where the ball is hit before it bounces on the court.

The Serve

It’s not just about power; it’s an art. Toss, swing, and ace! A good serve combines strength, precision, and spin to challenge the opponent

Serving is an essential aspect of tennis, and mastering various techniques can significantly enhance your gameplay.

Serving Techniques

When you play tennis, it’s essential to recognize that the serve is the sole shot where you have full autonomy over the timing and execution. Hence, perfecting this skill is of utmost importance.

Flat Serve

Description: The flat serve is known for its speed and direct approach. The ball is hit with minimal spin, which often results in a powerful, fast serve that can be hard for the opponent to return.
When to use: Use the flat serve when you want to surprise your opponent with speed, especially on first serves.

Slice Serve

Description: The slice serve introduces side-spin to the ball, causing it to curve, usually away from the opponent. This technique can be deceptive and tricky for opponents to predict.
When to use: Employ the slice serve when you want to pull your opponent wide of the court, opening up the court for the next shot.

Topspin Serve

Description: As the name suggests, this serve imparts topspin on the ball. This makes the ball dip faster and bounce higher than expected.
Technique tip: Toss the ball slightly over your head and strike it from below, brushing it to generate spin.
When to use: The topspin serve is especially effective as a second serve because it has a higher margin of error due to its arching trajectory. It can also be used to pull the opponent in with a shorter, kicking bounce.

Kick Serve

Description: The kick serve is a variation of the topspin serve but has more spin, causing the ball to kick up even higher upon bouncing. It can be particularly tricky for opponents to handle, especially if they’re not tall.
Technique tip: Toss the ball slightly behind you and brush up and across the ball with your racket.
When to use: This serve can be an effective second serve or when you want to force your opponent to return the ball at an uncomfortable height.

Underhand Serve

Description: This is a less common serve where the ball is served underarm. It’s often seen as unconventional, but it can catch an opponent off guard.
When to use: If you notice your opponent standing far back or if you’re dealing with an injury that prevents a regular overhand serve.

Every player should cultivate multiple serving techniques to have diverse tools during a match. By varying serves, you can keep your opponent guessing, which can give you an edge. Practice is key. The more you serve, the better you’ll understand the nuances of each technique, making you a formidable force on the court.

Tennis Tips for Beginners

Select the Right Equipment

  1. Learn the Basics First. Focus on mastering basic strokes like the forehand, backhand, and volley.
  2. Consistent Serve Practice. Work on getting a consistent rhythm in your serve.
  3. Positioning is Key. Always try to return to the center of your playing area after each shot, so you’re well-positioned for the next.
  4. Keep Your Eye on the Ball. Watching the ball all the way onto your racket can drastically improve your accuracy and timing.
  5. Develop a Routine. Find a routine that makes you comfortable and stick to it.
  6. Stay Relaxed. Holding the racket too tightly or getting too tense can hinder your gameplay.
  7. Take Lessons. Even a few lessons can provide invaluable feedback and accelerate your learning process.
  8. Enjoy the Process. Remember to have fun and enjoy the game. Don’t get too


Is tennis easy? Well, tennis is more than just swinging a racket and hitting the ball. It’s a strategic mental game. From drop shots to lobs, the tactics you choose can elevate or hinder your performance. Tennis isn’t merely a sport; it embodies passion, challenges, and a way of life. Whether you’re taking your first steps on the court or dreaming of Wimbledon glory, the journey in tennis is both challenging and fulfilling. So, are you set to dive into this mesmerizing world of tennis?


What’s the best tennis racket for a beginner?

The best tennis racket for a beginner should prioritize ease of use and forgiveness. Typically, rackets with larger head sizes offer a bigger sweet spot, making it simpler for novices to hit the ball. Lightweight frames are preferable for easier maneuverability. Brands like Wilson, Head, and Babolat often have beginner-friendly models. It’s essential to try various rackets and choose one that feels comfortable. For those just starting out, rackets with a larger head size and lightweight frames are recommended. Explore our selection of the Best Tennis Racquets for Beginners to find one that feels comfortable for you.

How often should I restring my racket?

The frequency for restringing a tennis racket depends on usage and play intensity. As a general rule, if you play weekly, restring your racket annually. Competitive players might restring several times a season. Some experts suggest restringing as many times a year as you play in a week. Monitoring tension loss and performance can also guide your decision.

How long does a typical tennis match last?

A typical tennis match duration varies based on the players’ skill levels and the match format. Singles matches at recreational levels often last between 1 to 2 hours. However, professional Grand Slam matches, especially those in best-of-five sets, can extend beyond 3 hours, with intense battles sometimes lasting up to 5 hours or more.

How can I improve my serve in tennis?

Improving your tennis serve requires a combination of technique, practice, and strength training. Focus on a consistent toss, proper grip, and fluid motion. Analyzing your serve using video can pinpoint areas for improvement. Regularly practicing the serve, combined with exercises targeting the serving muscles, can significantly enhance power and accuracy over time. Seeking coaching can provide personalized feedback and guidance.

How long does it take to become good at tennis?

Becoming proficient at tennis depends on factors like frequency of play, coaching quality, and individual aptitude. For someone practicing multiple times a week with proper guidance, achieving an intermediate level might take 1-2 years. However, mastering the sport at a competitive or professional level can take many more years of dedicated training and play. Personal commitment and passion play crucial roles in determining progress.