When beginning to learn tennis, gaining a solid foundation in the basic techniques is absolutely essential. Before moving on to more advanced strokes, students need to gain a thorough understanding of the basic stroke mechanics, footwork and body positioning of tennis. It is really important that the correct moves and techniques are learnt the first time around in order to prevent incorrect moves becoming engrained in your muscle memory – it is much harder to unlearn incorrect technique and start again than it is to get it right the first time!

While you often hear the claim that tennis is difficult to learn, this clear and easy guide proves this wrong, showing just how easy it is with the right guidance. With loads of clear, helpful illustrations and easy-to-follow instructions, start your journey on the right track.

 

Grips

Continental grip

(Also known as the chopper grip) – Hold the racquet with the edge facing the floor. The “v” created by the point where your thumb and forefinger meet should rest on the centre bevel. Used when serving the ball.

 

 

 

 

 

Eastern Forehand

Most people use the eastern forehand grip. Hold the handle as if you are shaking hands with it; the “v” created by the point where your thumb and forefinger meet should be in line with the centre bevel on the handle.

 

 

 

 

 

Semi-Western forehand

Some players prefer the semi-western grip. Hold the racquet with the edge facing the floor; the “v” created by the point where your thumb and forefinger meet should be in line with the outside bevel on the handle.

 

 

 

 

Double handed backhand

Hold the racquet so the edge of it is facing the ground and place your dominant hand at the bottom of the handle. Comfortably place your other hand above it, keeping your hands close together so they work as one unit.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Single handed backhand

From the continental grip rotate your hand anti-clockwise for right handed players and clockwise for left handed players. The “v” created by your forefinger and thumb should be further away from the centre bevel than the continental grip.

 

 

 

Footwork & movement

Ready position

Hold the racquet centrally to your body, bend your knees and place your weight on the balls of your feet.

 

 

 

 

 

Split step

This is a momentary step, taken when your opponent hits the ball, allowing you to move in either direction. When your opponent hits the ball, bounce lightly in a balanced position with your body facing the ball.

 

 

 

 

Move towards the ball

Depending on how far you will need to move to return the ball, you will require a mixture of long and short strides. Long strides should be taken to get to the ball and small strides should be used to make minimal adjustments when you are ready to return the ball.

 

 

 

Basic serve

Position 

Start by holding the racquet using the continental grip as mentioned above. Your starting position on the court should be behind the baseline and close to the centre mark – this will allow you to cover the middle of the court when your opponent returns the ball. Stand sideways to the court with your non-racquet side closest to the net, your feet should be about shoulder width apart and 45o to the baseline. Your weight should be slightly over your front foot with the racquet in front of you and the ball held on the strings or throat.

 

 

Toss

You want to initiate your serve by tossing the ball up. Push your weight to the back foot and toss the ball up using a straight arm. The toss should be slightly higher than you can reach with your racquet and in front of you so the ball would drop inside the court. Your racquet arm should come back and your hips and shoulders should rotate away from the ball.

 

 

 

Backswing

As you start the toss, your racquet arm should come back and your hips and shoulders should rotate away from the court. Your knees should be slightly bent and the racquet should be in a position ready to hit the ball. Keep your eyes on the ball at all times during your backswing.

 

 

 

 

Hit the ball

As you rotate back towards the court you should drive your body up towards the ball whilst performing an overhead throwing action with your racquet. You should aim to hit the ball just as it starts to descend from its highest point. The momentum of the follow through may move you into the court, you should recover quickly and drop back behind the baseline.

 

 

Basic forehand

Position & backswing

You will need to use either the eastern forehand or semi western grip for a forehand shot. After the split step, you should move towards the ball while keeping an eye on where it bounces. Position yourself using small strides so that you are side on and slightly behind the ball. At the maximum point of your backswing your weight should be over your back foot with your racquet lower than the ball.

 

 

 

Hit the ball

From the backswing position you should shift your weight from the back foot onto the front. Swing your racquet towards the ball with a low to high movement. During your swing you should rotate your body so that you contact the ball with your body facing it. Contact should be made with the ball around hip height and when the ball is in front of your body position.

 

 

 

Double handed backhand

Position & movement

The double backhand grip as demonstrated above will be needed for this shot. Start in a ready position with your knees bent and your weight on the balls of your feet. Split step as your opponent hits the ball and then move towards the path of the ball whilst keeping your eye on it. Turn your hips and shoulders and move so that you will contact the ball when it is to the side of you and slightly in front.

 

 

 

Draw back

With the weight on your back foot, move your front foot towards the ball whist drawing your racquet back in anticipation of hitting the ball. The racquet should follow a low to high path, so at this point the racquet head should be below the point you want to hit the ball.

 

 

 

 

Hit the ball

After pulling the racquet back, transfer your weight onto your front foot.  Some players will hit the ball with bent elbows meaning the contact point should be slightly closer to your body; if you hit the ball with straight arms the contact point should be slightly further away from your body.

 

 

 

 

You should aim to hit the ball when it is just in front of you and at waist height. As you swing through the ball your body should rotate.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Single handed backhand

 

Position & movement

The single handed backhand grip will be needed for this shot. Start in a ready position with your knees bent and your weight on the balls of your feet. Split step as your opponent hits the ball and then move towards the path of the ball while keeping an eye on it. Turn your hips and shoulders and move so that you will contact the ball when it is to the side of you and slightly in front. During this movement you will need to adjust your grip to the continental grip.

 

 

Drawback

With the weight on your back foot and your feet shoulder width apart, draw your racquet back in anticipation of hitting the ball. The movement of the racquet will be more of a looped action so the racquet head needs to be in a high position at the point of the draw back. You should use your second hand to guide this movement. Your shoulders should be side on to the oncoming ball.

 

 

 

Hit the ball

Push your weight onto your front foot whilst stepping into the stroke. Let the racquet fall so that it hits the ball with a low to high motion. Aim to hit the ball slightly in front of you and at about waist height. The racquet should finish high as you follow through the ball.

 

 

 

 

For more information about getting into tennis contact your local club or visit our racquets page.

Summary
Learning basic tennis techniques
Article Name
Learning basic tennis techniques
Description
When beginning to learn tennis, gaining a solid foundation in the basic techniques is absolutely essential. Before moving on to more advanced strokes, students need to gain a thorough understanding of the basic stroke mechanics, footwork and body positioning of tennis. It is really important that the correct moves and techniques are learnt the first time around in order to prevent incorrect moves becoming engrained in your muscle memory – it is much harder to unlearn incorrect technique and start again than it is to get it right the first time!
Author
Publisher Name
David Lloyd
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