No matter where you're at in life, if you’re just stepping onto the tennis court for the first time, there are some basics you should know that'll help you enjoy this great game for life. Check out these quick tips for beginners and remember not to take yourself too seriously over the next few months.
With so many racquets to choose from it can be a daunting task for beginners. Most racquets for beginners or kids can be quite cheap but make sure to get the right fit for your body and hand size. Even better, ask a friend who has more experience, talk to your local tennis professional or whomever you may be taking your first lessons with.
Hiring a local tennis pro is a great way to learn some of the basic skills, explained in more detail below. It's so important to make sure you start out with the right habits and correct form - something we help players of all levels with at the Nike Adult Tennis Camps located in Toronto.
You want your feet about shoulder width apart or a little bit wider. Your knees should be slightly bent and your weight should be on the balls of your feet, not the heels. Your upper body should be relaxed, with your arms and the tennis racket out in front of your body. Angle the head of your racket up a little bit. It’s also important that your upper body should not be hunched over, bending forward. Your back should be straight so that with your legs bent it is almost like you are sitting in a chair. Your eyes should be on your opponent and especially the tennis ball, not looking down at the tennis court.
The most common mistake is to change the racquet angle by movement in the wrist, but it’s actually best to move diagonally and forward when hitting the ball. By moving diagonally and forward (as much as you can) into the ball, you have naturally created an angle of the racquet. In your hand, it still feels locked, but in reality, you have created enough angle to counter the angle of deflection. If you just move sideways to the ball the racquet angle has not changed, which can cause the ball to go wide. Moving into the ball is easiest done with the closed stance (or neutral stance as it’s often called) but can also be done to an extent with an open stance.
Now that you’re in the ready position and moving properly towards the ball, it’s time to swing. You want to start with a basic forehand swing. As the ball is approaching, release your non-dominant hand and let the racquet drop behind the body. Then swing forward, starting low and swinging up (high) to the contact point. As you’re following through, you want to catch the face of the racket with your non-dominant hand. The left shoulder will now move away, giving space to the right shoulder to move forward, and the whole upper body will now easily rotate through the stroke. As you improve, you can eventually relieve your arm of the hard work. As you are more relaxed in the arm, you will also have much more feel and control of the ball.
Before hitting the courts or finishing up for the day, always make sure to warm and cool down. Take a quick jog around the courts, get some dynamic stretching going and even ice up when you get home. Injury prevention is going to be the key to you enjoying your new hobby for years to come.