A Beginner's Guide: Starting Tennis From Scratch

A Beginner's Guide: Starting Tennis From Scratch

Tennis players tend to make the sport look so easy to play, but is it really as easy as it seems? If the thought of playing tennis has grown on you and you’d like to give it a shot, but don’t have a clue where to start, here’s a guide for every beginner interested in becoming a tennis player:

Tennis, Sports, Fitness, Tips & Tricks, Beginner's Guide
A Beginner's Guide: Starting Tennis From Scratch
[ photo: pixabay ]

Get the right gear

Breathable clothing

If you’re planning on being a regular, you’ll need to have your own gear. While you can wear any type of fitness clothing, it is best to choose breathable fabrics that won’t stick to your body when you sweat like a pig.


One of the most important elements that will require specific equipment will be the tennis racquet. With the help of Swing It Big’s guide, you can easily find the type of racquet that will match your needs. 

You’ll also be informed on the specifications to look out for, as well as the pros and cons of each racquet you could think of purchasing, making you reach the best decision to put you on the right track. But just so you have an idea, for a beginner, it is always advisable to have a wide head to prevent you from missing the balls as much as possible.


When it comes to shoes, depending on which type of surface you’ll be playing on, there are specific shoes that help you with a better grip or prevent you from sliding. The wear and tear of the shoes will increase rapidly if you buy a pair for the wrong surface, so check out the tennis courts in your neighborhood and buy a pair of shoes with durable soles for concrete surfaces, or those designed for grass or clay courts. 

In some courts, you’ll be required to wear a no-marking sole, especially if you’re playing indoors. Otherwise, the key factor in determining which type to go for is the shoe you feel most comfortable wearing.

Tennis balls

Once you’ve got your shoes, clothes, and racquet ready, the only thing left are the tennis balls. While you can buy a single ball, it is best to buy a canned set that will prevent you from having to chase the ball every single time. To ensure that you don’t have a dead ball, just give it a bounce and if it doesn’t bounce back up to your waistline, then move on to one that does.

Tennis, Sports, Fitness, Tips & Tricks, Beginner's Guide
A Beginner's Guide: Starting Tennis From Scratch

[ photo: pixabay ]

Understanding the rules of the game

A tennis match can be played as singles where there are only two opponents playing against each other on each side of the court, or as doubles with two people on each side and a total of 4 players.

While the number of sets played depends on the level of experience of the players, the minimum amount of sets to be played in each match is two sets. Each set consists of 6 games where each game must be won by two points. The scoring system starts from love (which means 0) to 15, 30, 40, then game, which means that in order to win a game, a player must win 4 points.


Each game starts with a serve and a player has only two shots to make the ball reach the opponent’s side of the court. If a player misses, the point goes to the opponent automatically. When serving, just throw the ball into the air above you, and hit it when it reaches its highest point, directing it forward towards the other side of the court, making sure it hits the diagonal service box on the opponent’s side.


Finding a grip that you’re comfortable with and gives you control over the racquet is different for each player and will come naturally as you start to play, but before you start hitting some balls you’ll need to understand the basic strokes and how they’re played.

When it comes to strokes there are a few different ones that many players use, however as a beginner the most important strokes for you to understand are the basic forehand and backhand strokes.


A forehand stroke is when you hit the ball on your leading side. That means if you’re right-handed, that the ball is on the right side of your body. In order to perfect the stroke, you need to turn your feet, hips and shoulders towards the ball, swing the racquet back at head level and make sure that the force generated for the forward swing is from low to high until it hits the ball and the racquet moves towards your other shoulder.


When the ball is coming at you closer to your non-dominant side, then it is essential to use a backhand stroke. This means that if you’re right-handed, you will position your feet, hips, and shoulders to the left side, swing the racquet back on the opposite shoulder and play it forward from low to high with the racquet moving from your left side to your right side if you’re right-handed.

Understanding the court lines

There are two baselines in a tennis court; the inner line is used for singles and the outer one is used for doubles. The lines are there to highlight where the ball is allowed to go. When serving, a player must make sure that the ball lands in their opponent’s service box which is diagonally opposite to where the service was played. A service box is the two rectangles towards the net. If the ball falls outside the baseline, the point goes to the opponent and helps him lead the way to win a game.

When a player has already won a set, 5 games, and 3 points in the last game, they will win the entire match, if they score the remaining match point. If, however, the opponent ties, the match point is removed and they continue to play until there is a two-point difference.

Understanding tennis, in theory, might seem too much to digest all at once, especially for a beginner. However, with practice and the right gear, you’ll be able to give yourself the chance to learn from experience and become a superstar in no time.

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