Tennis Basics: Learn How To Play Tennis

Outlines the basic rules and procedures of playing tennis games. Also gives information on types of equipment used and how to keep score of the game.

What Kind of equipment will I need?

In order to begin playing tennis, you will need a tennis racquet and some tennis balls, both of which can be easily found at any sporting goods store. Tennis racquets are typically made of fiberglass or graphite, and when you are first starting out it is recommended that you use a less expensive frame until you gain more experience and expertise with the sport. Also, a comfortable pair of tennis or running shoes should be worn while playing.

How do I begin playing tennis?

Tennis can be played with up to three other people. One player on each side of a tennis court is called a singles match, two people on each side of the court is known as doubles (which is the most popularly played version), and two players against one is called Canadian doubles.

Typically, there are two different types of tennis courts, based on their size; a singles court is 78 by 27 feet, and a doubles court is 78 by 36 feet long. The net in the middle divides the court up into two separate spaces called service courts, where the player's right service court is referred to as the deuce court, and the left is called the advantage (or ad) court.

To start the game, one team throws a tennis ball up into the air and uses their racquet to hit it over the net diagonally, serving it to their opponent(s). Once the first point is made, the players switch to the advantage court, and after the second point is made, they switch back to the deuce court. This switching continues after every time a point is scored.

How do I keep score?

Keeping track of tennis scores is different from most other sports. The first "˜point' scored is actually worth 15 points, the second one is worth 30, the third is worth 40, and the fourth is the last point needed for a player to win the game. If there is a situation where both players win three "˜points,' then the tie is called a deuce. To break the tie, one of the players has to score a point (called an advantage). If the player who scored the last point wins the advantage, then they win the game; however, if it goes to the other player, then the game continues on.

A faster version of the game, called no-ad scoring is where each point is actually worth just one point (4 total). In this version, if both players reach a three point tie, then whoever wins the fourth point wins the game. When a player does not score any points in a game, it is called love (for example, a score could be 45-love, where one player has won 2 "˜points' and the other player has not won any). A set is won when a player wins a total of six games, with at least two more games won than his or her opponent.

Once you have learned how to play tennis, you could help to challenge and motivate your game by joining tournaments or leagues. Many local communities have them on a variety of levels, depending on whether you would like to play on a competitive or leisurely basis. Tennis is a fun, athletic, and versatile sport, and is easily enjoyed by people of all ages.

© High Speed Ventures 2011