How To Play Tennis: The Beginner’s Guide

cardio tennis


Why Tennis?

Tennis is a sport that requires a great level of mental, physical, emotional, and technical competence, making it an extremely tough sport to master. If you’re wanting to learn how to play tennis, we cover several topics from the basic rules to starting your own social match.

Running around a tennis court is obviously beneficial to your general health, and acquiring a new skill, such as tennis, is an excellent method to improve your brain sharpness. However, there are many more advantages to playing tennis on a daily basis than you may have imagined.

Tennis provides not just physical benefits, but also hand-eye coordination, muscular toning, and enhanced range of motion. If you want to read more on the benefits of taking on tennis as your new sport, check out our article here.

Tennis, whether you’re a novice or an accomplished player, is a physically demanding activity that needs every muscle group in your body to operate in tandem for extended periods of time. Tennis is also a mental game, demanding players to think fast and select which shot will be the most effective in winning the point. The more you practise tennis basics, the more you may perfect your talents as a tennis player and drastically enhance your game.

What Do You Need To Play Tennis?

Before you can learn how to play tennis, you need to make sure you have the right equipment to get started. Tennis matches require simply a tennis racket, tennis shoes, a tennis ball, and a tennis court with a standard net. Your racket head and grip should be the appropriate size and weight for your physical stature and skill level so that you can effortlessly wield it.

Your shoes should provide adequate lateral support to keep your ankles from sliding during side-to-side motions (running shoes are not recommended). A specific dress code may be imposed at some tennis clubs. Wearing cloth wristbands and headbands can also help keep perspiration out of your eyes and off your over-grip.


Tennis racquet

What Are The Basic Rules of Tennis?

When learning how to play tennis, there are some basic rules you must follow to ensure you get a good grasp on the game. We cover these in more detail below.

Keep It Inside The Lines

In singles tennis, the serve must always land above the net and within the diagonally opposing service box (the box on either side of the service line’s centre mark, often known as the “T”).

If the ball hits the net but still falls in the correct service box, this is referred to as a “let,” and the server must hit that serve again. Even if the ball legally lands outside the box, it is still in play as long as any portion of it touches the line. The ball must remain within the singles court borders, which are the inner sidelines, throughout a rally. The outside lanes are in use for doubles tennis.

Avoid Touching The Net

You are free to rush the net using whatever volleying (hitting the ball on the full before it bounces) technique you like. However, if any part of your body or racket physically contacts the net at any point throughout a point, you lose the point instantly. You must also wait until the ball crosses to your side of the net before you can hit it on the full. The net is the equal separator between both sides, and any change in its location, even if unintentional, is not permitted.

Hit the Ball After One Bounce

The point is over when the ball bounces twice. Likewise, you can only hit the ball once. Even if you clip the ball and it drops in front of you again, if the ball does not go over the net and reach your opponent’s side, the point is finished.

Even if your opponent is way behind the baseline in the “out” area, if they make contact with the ball on the full, or it contacts a portion of their body before the bounce, the ball is still in play. A ball cannot be called before it has landed.

Win By Two

In a tennis match, both games and points must be won by two. In the event of a tie, a tiebreak is used if both players win six games in a set, resulting in a score of 6-6. Players must compete in a first to seven-point mini-match here.

Players transfer sides after each serve point and at the end of the court when the total number of points equals six or multiples of six. The first player to reach seven points (and must have a two-point advantage) wins. If the tiebreaker happens in the final set, the points are played first to 10, and the winner must still win by two points.


Tennis player running

How To Start Playing Tennis

First of all, choose who will serve first. A coin toss or racket spin can be used to determine who should serve first. Because the tennis serve gives the player serving an inherent advantage, it is only fair to let chance decide who gets to. Once you’ve determined who serves, the server has just two chances to get the ball in. It is a mistake if they hit the ball out, into the net, or stand on the line when serving. If you fail to land your second serve in, you have hit a double fault and lose the point.

Make sure you alternate serving sides, each game begins with the first serve on the right side of the court, sometimes known as the “deuce side” of the court. The second point comes from the left side, which is often referred to as the “ad court” (short for “advantage”). Serve sides should always be switched, and you should never serve from the same side twice in a row unless you’re executing a second serve.

You must change the playing sides on every odd game, balanced circumstances for each player help to make a fair game, which is especially important on outdoor courts. When playing tennis, the sun and wind may be big variables, and particular sides of the court may be more influenced than others. When the total number of games equals an odd number, the participants change ends (for example, 1-0, 3-2, 5-0, etc.). This implies that after the first game, the players will always switch, and then every two games after that.

Last of all but most important, have fun! Tennis is a great game and can be played competitively or socially.


Want to learn how to play tennis? Need lessons? Cagney Tennis Academy offers junior tennis lessons and adult tennis lessons for any age. Come down and hone your tennis skills, we offer beginner, intermediate and advanced sessions in small groups or one-on-one private tennis lessons.

Want to play socially? Why not hire one of our courts or organise a social tennis session with your friends and family.