How to Play Tennis

If you're unsure of how to play tennis, follow these easy steps. Do not limit yourself to playing outdoors. Indoor tennis courts provide year-round availability. Just grab a partner, a racquet, and a can of tennis balls and head to the nearest court.

The Equipment
Gather the necessary equipment. Each player needs a racquet. Selecting a proper racquet can make all the difference in a player's game. Newbies may prefer a racquet with a larger head size. This offers high string tension. A can or two of tennis balls completes the necessary equipment.

The Serve
Professional tennis players make the serve look powerful but easy. You can too. To serve, stand behind the baseline, just right of the center mark. Toss the ball overhead and hit it with the racquet. The goal is to land the ball on the opposite side of the net and let it bounce once inside the opposition's service box. Watch the foot, though. Step over the line before the ball is it and you'll be called for a foot fault.

What happens if you hit the net? You're credited with a fault. Hit the net a second time, you'll receive a double fault. Now, your opponent receives the point. If the ball snags the net but lands in the opponent's court, you may serve again and not be penalized with a fault.

The Rally
Once the serve lands, it's time to rally, or volley, back and forth. A side stroke works best, although for short shots, an overhead shot may be effective in catching the opponent off guard. Try to land the ball away from the opponent to score points. A volley is in play until the ball hits beyond the baseline, outside the sideline, into the net, or bounces twice. The player who is responsible for one of these infractions loses the point.

Keeping Score
Scoring tennis is simple. The person serving announces the score and reports her score first. The point system begins at Love, 0-0, and follows in these increments: 15, 30, 40, and game. A 40-40 tie game is known as Deuce. Now, the serve must serve and score two points in a row from Deuce to win the game. If the server makes the first point, she calls -ad in'; if the partner scores the first point from Deuce, the server calls -ad out'. A split in points on these two serves results in returning to Deuce and beginning the process again.

The first person to win six games wins that set. The player who wins the best of three or best of five sets wins the match.

Tennis offers great exercise and a lot of fun. Scoring is a simple task, and minimal equipment is required.

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