Whether you’re a Serena Williams in the making or just in it for the sunshine, tennis is one of the most fun things you can do to beat the post-winter blues. But how do you play effectively, and still have a great time?
Tennis is a life long sport, and anyone can have fun playing and being a little competitive. As the tennis season ramps up, we wanted to give you an overview on how to play your best game of tennis yet! There’s so many ways to learn tennis, and how to best play it.
Tennis Basics - How to Play, How it’s scored, and Why play?
Why Play Tennis
Tennis is a great way to get your cardio in, and an amazing way to connect with people outside your home. Any sport that raises your heart rate and gets a sweat going is not only great for your physical health, but for your mental health, too.
Tennis is an easy enough sport to start playing at any age, and is a fun way to start working out with friends without the red faces and huffing and puffing at all times. It also is great for your mind. Tennis helps the brain keep creative and requires planning, tactical thinking, coordination, and agility. Just like any type of activity, the more you play tennis, the better your mind and body can achieve the activity repeatedly, and the stronger the mind gets.
Can anyone learn tennis?
We hear this one a lot - Am I too old to start playing tennis?
And the answer is NO!
Tennis is a great game to learn at any time, especially if you start playing with opponents of a similar level. There are many modifications you can make to the game to make it accessible for almost anyone, even those in wheelchairs.
The cost isn’t as prohibitive as you might think, either! Of course, there are many resources that can elevate the price, like private clubs and expensive tennis gear, but there’s no need when you’re starting out to spend an exorbitant amount of money. Most beginners can start playing for less than $100, with beginner racquets around $20 and a can of tennis balls ranging from $2 up. The cost for places to play also comes down when you’re looking. Local parks often have free public tennis courts and most local private courts are relatively inexpensive.
The Tennis Court
The tennis court is one of the most recognizable sports courts in existence. Here are the lengths and marks you need to know about.
Length: a tennis court is 78ft in length
Width: 38 ft for doubles and 27ft for singles
Net: a net splits the court in half – it’s 3ft 6 inches at the sidelines and 3ft at the center
Baseline: the boundary that runs parallel to the net and signifies the end of the court on either side
Center mark: a simple mark at the middle of the baseline to define the center and provide a guide for players when serving
Doubles sideline: the outermost left and right boundaries of the court when facing the net are the doubles sidelines
Singles sideline: the inner left and right boundaries of the court when facing the net are the singles sidelines
Doubles alley: the area between the singles sideline and doubles sideline which is only in play during a doubles match
Serviceline: the line that runs parallel to baseline and net roughly halfway between the two to create the service boxes
Center service line: the line runs perpendicular to the service line and net that splits the service boxes into equal halves
Service box: the two boxes formed by the service line and center service line where a player must serve to begin each point
Deuce court: when facing the net, the right side of the court
Ad court: when facing the net, the left side of the court
No mans land: the area between the baseline and the service line is referred to as ‘no mans land’ because it’s a very vulnerable position to stand for too long
Now that you’re familiar with the court let’s jump into discussing the basic rules of tennis.
The Rules + Scoring
You’ve probably watched at least part of a tennis of a tennis match, and may be a little familiar with the way the game works to score points, so we’re going to cover the basics.
Tennis can be played with singles - one on one - or with doubles - two on two. To determine who will serve first, players should flip a coin. The coin flip determines who will receive or serve first.
Each point - start of a new play - the server stands behind the baseline on the left or right of the service mark and must hit the ball diagonally across the court. The ball must land in the service box on the other side of the court, or it’ll be a fault. If there’s a “double fault”, the server loses a point.
When a serve lands, the player on the diagonal must return the ball to the other side of the court. An ace happens when the receiver of the serve does not touch the ball with their racquet, forcing an automatic point.
Your points can accumulate when:
- The ball bounces in your opponent’s court without being returned
- The ball bounces twice within your opponent’s side of the court
- Your opponent makes an error like hitting the ball into the net, or outside of the court.
You can lose point when:
- You (or anything you’re wearing) touches the net or the other side of the court
- You hit the ball before it has crossed your side of the net
- You don’t touch the ball before it returns to your opponent’s side of the court. This is rare, and it can happen in high winds or extreme backspin.
You may already be familiar with the scoring of tennis, and you might know that it’s not the familiar 1,2,3 point system. In a standard game, tennis is scored:
Love: zero points
15: one point
30: two points
40: three pointsDeuces
Deuces occur when players have accumulated 3 points each, and sit at 40-all. This is called a deuce. This is when a player or team must win the game by two or more points, and those are counted as “advantages”. This is how those famous tennis players sometimes end up playing 6-7-8 hours in a row.
The difference between a game, a set, and a match
A set is a collection of 6 games. Similar to game, a set must be won by two games. A match is typically the best of 3 sets - unless you’re playing in the men’s grand slam which is the best of 5 sets.
Quick Tennis Tips to Level Up Your Game
- Everything in tennis is about the feet. Never stop moving your feet because it keeps you agile and assists in increasing your reaction time.
- Learn your split-step-hop. This is all about creating a long enough period of time between the moment of impact on your opponent’s racquet and the moment it hits your side of the court.
- Don’t run - Shuffle! Side shuffling helps players respond quickly.
Learning how to play tennis, whether it’s for the first time, or to improve your game inch by inch, takes time and a genuine love of activity.
Want some more tips about forehand hints? Check out our forehand tips for women guide!
Best Tennis Clothing and Accessories
Tennis is all about agility and keeping things moving, so you’ll need to find clothing and accessories that move with you, not slow you down. Here’s what you’ll need to look for in great tennis clothing and accessories.
Women’s tennis apparel and activewear comes in a variety of fits and cuts. Our tops are designed to fit your shape and all are fitted with scooped hems for increased coverage and back darts to pull the waist in for a more feminine shape. Tennis clothing should fit tight, but not restrictive to movements. We’d place it between your soft, flowy golf clothing and the rigid, and compressive gym wear. Keep in mind that mobility in your arms and legs is the most important thing. You can test mobility in the changing room or the living room by giving a few high kicks or arm swings - if it pinches, go up a size, girlfriend. If it hangs off you or exposes your belly, time to go down a size or two.
To truly perform this spring, try out a fabric that is moisture wicking while being full coverage. Performance-focused fabric with moisture management properties are the cornerstone to our product. Our soft nylon and spandex blend tennis shirts are a great choice for anyone looking to keep warm and dry. This breathable fabric blend looks incredibly stylish and will stretch and move with you around the gym or around the coffee shop.
Tennis skorts, shorts, and skirts are perfect for tennis. They’re lightweight, sleek, offer supportive compression where you need it, and have pockets to hold balls, or anything else you might need. Our Jofit skirts and skorts come in a variety of lengths and colors, with front and back pockets concealing, and providing comfort and convenience. Available in two lengths – our traditional tennis short typically falls a just above the knee, has a zipper, a 3-button snap closure, and belt loops. Get this classic, feminine, tennis look at Jofit.
Our optical delusion tights are going to elevate your wardrobe like you’ve never seen before. You’re never going to want to get out of these active pants! These incredibly versatile tights will keep you warm with heavier fabric than most leggings, but are still breathable and moisture wicking. The compression fit is perfect for keeping everything in motion and keeping it all tight.
Short Sleeve Tennis Tops
The Jofit tennis tops are buttery, soft, and have a wonderful, cotton-like feel - perfect for layering under a fabulous active jacket for cooler mornings on the court. All performance-focused, our women’s tennis tops have moisture management and wicking properties incorporated, ensuring your comfort without restricting your game. Designed to move with you, our tennis shirts come in sleeveless, short sleeve, half-sleeve, ¾ length sleeve, and long sleeves, all with proprietary neck and sleeve treatments.
Tennis Clothing with Jofit
Whether you’re out and about or scheduling a tennis re-match, our women’s tennis clothing is the perfect blend of comfort and style, so you can walk to and from your activities with comfort and class. Remember! Women’s tennis clothing should
- Fit well
- Be made with breathable fabric with a focus on retaining warmth, moisture wicking if possible!
- Have high mobility and flexibility
- And show off your feminine figure!