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An Introduction to Tennis


Is tennis good for you?

Absolutely - tennis is a gentle way of exercising for beginners, and for more advanced players is a very thorough workout. Physical activity increases energy and also helps you to stay healthy, fending off germs and infections. Playing one set of tennis would give you thirty minutes moderate physical activity, not to mention plenty of fresh air!

How old do I have to be to start?

Obviously you have to be able to hold a tennis racket, but there are plenty of opportunities for youngsters. Mini Tennis is an excellent game for starting off young players under eight. Played with a scaled down racket, foam balls and a small court the game is a fun introduction to the full game.

How much will it cost?

Prices for coaching vary from club to club, but we always recommend keeping your lessons to half an hour or an hour, and to have group coaching.How can I develop my game?

One way is to go for an intensive week of tennis, or a break where you can play tennis at your leisure, there are tennis holiday companies offering holidays both in the US and abroad. You can see a list of these in Clubs and Camps.

Once you have found a court to play on and you start to play tennis with your friends, family or other players, you will naturally start to get a feel for the game. A way to develop your hand-eye co-ordination is to practice throwing and catching the ball either against a wall or with a partner. Your tennis coach will have many other games and exercises to help develop the correct movement, co-ordination and dexterity for tennis.

If the full court seems too big at first, play a scaled-down version of the game in the four service boxes of the court. As you start to become more confident you will start to use tactics. Hitting a ball that comes near to you is easier than running to hit a ball - therefore you'll soon realise that one aim is to try to make your opponent move in order to hit the ball. You will be better placed to hit each ball if you maintain a good position on the court before and after each shot, and you'll begin to understand the importance of good positioning. Don't get caught out of position to one side of the court or stuck half way between the baseline and the net.

Once you have mastered these basic principles, try to play to the weakness of your opponent. This might be their forehand, backhand, volley, smash, or perhaps running to the ball. Exploiting your opponent's weaknesses will help you to start controlling the game. Also, remember to use your own strengths as much as possible. You may enjoy serving, have a strong cross-court backhand, love to volley and play from the net - try to do more of what you enjoy!

And keep at it! The world's best players spend many hours training and improving their game. Success may not come immediately, so don't get downhearted if you don't always play at your best.

'Tennis is a battle of minds, just as much as it is a battle of playing ability. Trying to expose your opponent's weaknesses is one of the most vital and fascinating facets of tennis'

Gavin Dye Author and Webmaster at http://www.tennis-supply.com


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