Getting Started In Tennis

If you are new to tennis you will benefit from reading our Rules Of Tennis section, and also our Glossary Of Terms.

How To Play Tennis

Let's dive straight into the type of shots tennis players use.

The Serve - How each point starts. The server has 2 chances to hit a ball over the net and into the service box located diagonally across the court.

Forehand & Backhand - These are called groundstrokes. This is when the opponent hits the ball to you, it bounces once, and you hit the ball back over the net.

Volleys - Unlike a groundstroke, you hit the ball before it touches the ground. Played on either the backhand or forehand side when near to the net.

Overhead Smash - If you are near to the net and the ball is returned to you very high this is the most appropriate shot to play. It is similar to hitting a serve.

A Rally - This is any combination of the above shots between players where the ball is kept in play.


Players serve alternate games. The server has the responsibility of calling the score before commencing with serve. Correct practice is to call your own score first before your opponent. Scoring is as folows:
    0 points = love
    1 point = 15
    2 points = 30
    3 points = 40
    4 points = game

If both players have won 3 points each (40-all), this is called deuce. The player who wins two consecutive points wins the game.
The first player to reach 6 games wins the set, provided he is 2 games clear of an apponent. The game can also be won at 7-5, but at 6-6 a Tie-break is played. Our Rules Of Tennis (Brief) explains this in good detail.

Where To Play

Public Courts - There are thousands of free (mostly hard) public tennis courts around the country. They are usually very accessible, except near Wimbledon when there is a sudden rush to play tennis! Public courts usually have a 1 hour play limit if others are waiting to play.

Tennis Centres - Arguably the among the best tennis facilities you will find. Some require a yearly fee, while others allow pay per hour. Either way this is usually an expensive option! Not the choice of team - We prefer...

Tennis Clubs - If you are serious about playing regular tennis, then joining a club will be your best option. For a yearly fee you can play as often as you like. Clubs usually have a good social aspect too. Find your local tennis club in our huge database!

Improve Your Game

Coaching - Tennis coaching can be expensive, but it really depends on whether you want 1-to-1 coaching or group coaching. Coaching does work! If you are keen to improve, visit to the head coach at your local tennis club. Many clubs offer drop in group coaching sessions in the evenings, which are perfect if you don't wish to pay up-front for a course.

Watch The Pro's - There is no harm in watching tennis in TV and trying to emulate the Pro's! Pay attention to how they position themselves before hitting the ball, how they are always on their toes, their timing, and of course their tactics on serve and during a rally.

Video Yourself - So you know what the Pro's look like when they serve and play their shots, well get someone to video tape you and compare yourself to the Pro's. If you have never received coaching you will be surprised how different your own service action and shots look!

Books & Videos - Richard Williams taught his daughters Venus and Serena how to play tennis from a book! Why not browse our Books and DVD sections.

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