Tennis Tips and Tricks

Like most sports, tennis is a game that requires practice, dedication and discipline to be played at its highest level.

Professional tennis players are often rewarded with the kind of yearly income most people can only dream of, but they also work incredibly hard to constantly improve their skills. Some people use the sport as a way of getting some exercise and socializing with friends, the enjoyment of playing the game is often just as important as the score or how well they perform on the day.

At any level, players love discovering tennis tips and tricks that can improve their experience. From equipment to training strategies, this guide explains some top tennis tips and tricks that should be helpful for every type of tennis enthusiast.

Use Equipment That’s Right for You

Tennis Rackets

Being realistic about the kind of racket you need is essential, you need to choose the best racket for you personally. As a beginner, you will need something sturdy, durable and most importantly, easy to use. At this stage, you will mainly be focusing on hitting the ball consistently and also learning the many different techniques such as forehand, smash and backhand. As long as your racket feels ok to you and has enough bounce to provide a decent contact with the ball when you strike it, most budget, entry levels models are fine.

As a professional player, you will need to look at something more advanced. Premium quality tennis rackets are often strung in a specific way that can be adjusted to suit a player’s style, they are also made from high quality materials meaning you can expect to pay a little more. Heavier frames and tighter strings usually provide the power and accuracy many pro players look for, but to handle a racket like this properly, many years of practice will be required. Beginners attempting to use professional quality equipment will almost certainly struggle to use it correctly without proper instruction.

Tennis Shoes

Taking care to choose the correct racket is important but it also helps to have the right kind of footwear. As the game of tennis involves a lot of movement, ensuring you have a good quality pair of tennis shoes or trainers means you can reduce the risk of injury or fatigue during matches. There are a wide range of specifically designed tennis trainers available and amateur or professional players will probably want to consider looking at the top brands whereas beginners will be fine with any shoe that provides lightweight flexibility, support and comfort.

Consider Some Extras

Though you can enjoy a game of tennis with just the basics, a tennis ball machine can be a fantastic way to add a challenging now dimension to your practice sessions. Things like a discrete and practical tennis racket carrying case or a multi-purpose kitbag can also be good investments if you plan to play regularly.

Skills and Training

Any professional tennis player will tell you that its best to get some tuition rather than trying to learn to play the game by yourself. Enrolling in a tennis school or training course can be a good way of meeting new people, learning the basics and improving your game. You can find tennis instructors online or by searching for sports centres in your local area.

Playing tennis tips and tricks


Though its rarely mentioned, fitness is your number one asset when playing tennis. A great tip is to keep in good shape, eat a healthy, balanced diet and make sure your cardio fitness is of a good standard. If you have the energy and stamina to move around the court easily, you will find that you make a formidable opponent, even if you aren’t the most skilled player in the world.

Practice makes perfect

You could have a cutting edge, state of the art racket, the most complicated tennis ball machine on the market and some of the most technologically advanced trainers ever made, but if you don’t practice playing tennis, your game will never improve. Whether you practice with a partner or a group of people you see regularly or on your own using a machine or a wall and an open space, the simple act of repetition will gradually allow you to learn how to accurately hit a tennis ball properly over time.

Strengths and Weaknesses

Be honest with yourself in terms of what you are good at it and which areas you feel you need to improve. If you have a really powerful backhand that seems to defeat your opponents every time but an overhead smash that is always off target, focusing on the weakest of the two shots will mean you can work at improving it.

Take a break

When trying to learn a new skill or perhaps perfect and refine one you have been working on for years, familiarity is not always a good thing. Running, gym workouts or even simple walking can be a great way of keeping up your fitness levels and avoiding tennis overkill if you find yourself playing literally every day of the week.

Find opponents who challenge you

If possible, play with people who are around your level or even a little better than you. This means you can learn from them as you are playing together. The chances are that you will lose a few games but this will make it seem all the more fun when you manage to make a few improvements and successfully win a match.

Keep your eye on the ball

As the number one piece of advice for most ball sports, this old phrase remains as true today as it ever has been. Even with all of the tennis tips and tricks in the world, players who take their eye off the ball are destined to be beaten time and time again. Focusing on the ball as you serve it or as it comes towards you means that you will be ready to make the right move with your racket when you need to. Losing focus for just a second can be the difference between winning a point or losing a game.

Tennis Frequently Asked Questions

Tennis is a fun game, but it does involve quite a few rules.  It’s no wonder that newcomers to the sport are often confused by what is going on when they first watch a tennis match.  This Tennis FAQ will clear up some of the most common questions and talk you through the facts to help you get more enjoyment out of this great sport.

What is the start of a tennis match called?

The first shot played in any tennis match is called a service (or serve).  The first service is performed from the left side of the court’s baseline and must land in the left service box on the other side of the net.  Every subsequent serve will then change sides, with the server moving between the left and right sides of the base line. Take a look at the red arrow below to see how the server must direct their first serve.

Once the game is finished (see below to learn what a game is) the other player gets to serve.  Service continues to alternate when each game finishes.

How does tennis scoring work?

The tennis scoring system is perhaps the most complex part of the game, which is why some newcomers find it confusing.  A tennis match has pointsgamesand sets.



After the ball is successfully served, each player will hit it to their opponent’s side of the court.  If the server successfully lands in the service box, each player will continue to hit it back-and-forth until one of them fails to return it, hits it out on-the-full and or hits it into the net.  If this occurs, their opponent wins the point.

If the ball is not successfully served (it doesn’t land in the correct service box or hits the net), the server will have a fault.  They will get to perform another serve.  If they fail again, they are at double fault and their opponent wins a point.

If you win four points in a row, you will win a game.  However, it’s important to note that tennis points are named in an unusual way:

  • Love— zero points
  • 15 — when a player has won their first point of the game.
  • 30 — when a player wins two points in a game
  • 40— when a player wins three points in a game
  • Deuce– when the score is 40-40 it is called Deuce (another word for a tie).  To win the game from deuce, one of the players must win two consecutive points.
  • Advantage– If you win one point after being at Deuce, you will have Advantage.  Win another point and you win the game.  If you lose the next point, it goes back to Deuce.

When saying or writing the score of a tennis game, you will always have the score of the player currently serving first.  Here are a few examples, of how points work:

  • If you are serving and have won a single point, the score would be 15-0 or 15 love.
  • If you are serving and have lost a single point, the score would be 0-15 or love 15.
  • If you are serving and lose 3 points in a row, the score would be 0-40 or love 40. If you lose one more point, you lose the game!
  • If you make a comeback and reach Deuce (40-40), then win another point — you will have Advantage. Win the next point and you win the game.  If you lose the next point, the score goes back to deuce.  Games can continue for a long time if either player cannot win two consecutive points after the score reaches deuce.

See: How to Keep Score in Tennis  |  How to Read Tennis Scores


At the end of the game, the person serving will change.  So, if you were serving that game, give the ball to your opponent so they can serve the next game.

If you managed to win the game, congratulations!  Now, you need to win the set.  A set consists of at least 6 games, with the first person to 6 games winning.  However, you must win by at least two games.  That means, if the score is 6-5, you still have to win another game to be two games in front (7-5).  If it is a close match, players might end up winning 8, 9, or 10 games before they claim the set.


The winner of the match is determined by the best of three or five sets.  If you are playing to three and win the first two sets, the game is over.  If you win one set each, you must play the third match to decide.


What is an Ace?

An ace occurs when you successfully land a serve inside the service box and the receiver is unable to hit the ball.

How many sets to win in tennis?

Most matches are decided by the best of three sets.  However, professional male tennis players participating in a grand slam tournament will usually play best of five sets.

How long does a tennis match last?

It really depends on how close the match is.  If every game is a tightly contested affair with points often going to deuce and extra games being played, it can go for many hours.

On average, a three-set match will last around 2 hours in total.  A longer five-set match averages around 3.5 hours, but some close games can last much longer.  In 2010, a match at the Wimbledon Championship between John Isner and Nicolas Mahut lasted for 11 hours and 5 minutes over the space of three days.

Why do tennis players bounce the ball before serving?

There are two reasons why most tennis players will bounce the tennis ball on the ground before the serve.  The first reason is pragmatic — the player is simply testing how “bouncy” the ball is before hitting it.  If the ball still contains a lot of air and is very bouncy, they change how hard they hit it when serving.

The other reason is that bouncing the ball a few times acts like a kind of ritual that helps the player get into “the zone”.  When they bounce the ball, they remember all of the other habits that they are meant to perform when serving, like throwing the ball a certain distance, moving their feet correctly, or adding spin to the ball.  These little rituals help a player hit their serve reliably and have it land in the service court.

What does “let” mean in tennis?

A “let” occurs when a player serves and the ball hits the top of the net but still manages to land in the service court.  When a let occurs, it is not considered a fault and the player serving gets to serve again.

What is a break in tennis?

A “break” is announced if a player receiving serve is ahead by between one to three points and only needs one more point to win the game.  For example, if you are receiving serve and the score is 30-40, you will “break” your opponents serve if you win the next point and take the game.

If a ball lands on the line is it out?

No!  If the ball lands on one of the singles sidelines or the baseline between the singles sidelines, it is considered in bounds.

Choosing A Tennis Racquet For Your Child

Tennis is fun and exhilarating pastime that children enjoy.  It is a particularly good sport for children as it simultaneously improves their physical fitness, hand-eye coordination, speed, and strength.

Encouraging children to play tennis also helps them make new friends and spend more time outdoors.

To help your child make the most of their tennis, it is important that they own a high-quality tennis racquet.  Their tennis racquet should be appropriate for their grip size, height, and playing style.

It should also be durable enough so it can handle being dropped by your child — which will happen a lot if they are new to the game.

This guide is going to share all of the information you need to know when choosing a tennis racquet for your child.

Let’s get started!

When should you buy a tennis racquet for your child?

One of the many great things about tennis is that children can start playing at a very young age.  A child as young as two years-of-age can swing a paddle around and hit a ball.  In fact, toddlers love the excitement of hitting a tennis ball with a paddle and it quickly becomes one of their favorite games.

If you want to get your toddler into tennis, you can buy them a lightweight plastic paddle or an ultra-light tennis racquet designed for small children.

The smallest tennis racquets have an all plastic design and are extremely lightweight, so they are safe for young children to use.  Combine this racquet with a tennis ball on a string.  They will love hitting the ball and watching it spin around!

If you have an older child, you should consider buying them a racquet once they have shown a clear interest in tennis.  If they already play more than 4 games a month, then a tennis racquet would be a great investment that would help them enjoy the game even more.

It’s important to realize that giving your child one of your old racquets to use is usually not a good idea.  In most cases, the grip size will be wrong for their hands and the racquet will be too heavy.  This could make playing a frustrating experience for your child.  They will enjoy the game much more if they have a racquet that is suitable for their body size.

If your child is still very young, it is usually better to purchase an inexpensive racquet initially.  That’s because a three or four-year-old doesn’t have particularly good hand-eye coordination.  They are likely to drop the racquet frequently and it will get damaged.

By the time your child is five, you can invest in a more expensive racquet.  They will be developing their fine motor skills and can already become quite skilled at tennis at this age.

Considerations to keep in mind when choosing a child’s tennis racquet

The key considerations to keep in mind when choosing a tennis racquet for your child include:

1) Find the correct grip size for your child’s hands

Finding a racquet with the correct grip size for your child’s hand is crucial.  Having the right grip size will ensure that your child can:

  • Maintain control of the racquet when playing shots
  • Feel comfortable while on the court
  • Avoid dropping the racquet
  • Avoid injuries to their wrist or elbow

The tennis racquet’s grip size is the perimeter of the handle’s octagonal cross-section.  In other words, how thick the handle is when measuring from the outside. Finding the right grip size for your child is fairly simple.  Start by measuring from the middle line on your child’s palm to the top of their middle finger.  That will usually be the correct grip size for your child.

Most tennis racquets have grips that range in size from 4″ (101.6 mm) to 4¾″ (123 mm).  Children can usually be comfortable with a 4″ grip.  However, if your child is below 10 years of age, or has small hands, they may require a grip that is between 3⅝″ to 3⅞″ inches.

In Europe, adult tennis racquets use the sizes 0 through 6.  We’ve included a chart below so you can compare US/EU sizes.  Most junior tennis players (12 to 18) will use a racquet with a grip size of 1 or 2.

US Sizes European Sizes Sizes in Millimeters
4 inches 0 100-103 mm
4-1/8 inches 1 103-106 mm
4-1/4 inches 2 106-110 mm
4-3/8 inches 3 110-113 mm
4-1/2 inches 4 113-118 mm
4-5/8 inches 5 118-120 mm
4-3/4 inches 6 120-123 mm

For children, tennis racquet grip sizes are often less standardized and they may not feature a number that tells you the grip size.

You may have to measure your child’s hand and manually measure the racquet.  Here are a few additional tips for choosing the right grip size for your child:

  • Check the butt cap for size first
    Tennis racquets will often show the grip size on the butt cap at the end of the handle. This will immediately give you an idea of how suitable the racquet is for your child.
  • Use the finger test
    To double check the size of the grip, have your child hold the racquet in their dominant hand using a basic tennis grip. Then have them place the index finger from their other hand between the fingertips of their racquet-holding hand and the base of their palm.  If there isn’t enough room to squeeze their finger in, the racquet’s grip is too small.  If there is plenty of space around your child’s finger, the grip is too large.
  • Choose the smaller grip when in doubt
    If there are two different grips that you are stuck between (both are in the “acceptable” size range), choose the racquet with the smaller grip. You can always add an overgrip to the handle later to make it larger.  An overgrip typically adds about 1/16” of an inch to the grip’s size.
  • Avoid handles that are much too small
    Avoid handles that are way too small because they will force your child to constantly squeeze their hand — leading to fatigue in their hands, wrist and elbow. A poor racquet choice can even cause injuries like tendonitis.  If your child has owned a tennis racquet for a long time, check that their grip size is still correct.
  • Avoid handles that are much too big
    Avoid handles that are too large because they will make it difficult for your child to move their wrist and will require much more strength to use (making tennis a difficult game for your child).
  • Look for a full range of motion
    When your child is using the racquet, make sure they can easily swing the racquet with a full range of motion. Ask them if the racquet allows them to move easily or they feel constrained.

2. Consider the racquet’s length

The racquet’s length is the measurement from the handle base through to the top of the racquet head.  The appropriate length of the racquet is usually based on how tall your child is.  The following chart is accurate for most children:

Age Height Racquet Length
4 years or younger < 40 inches (100 cms) 19 inches
4-5 years 40-44 inches (101-110 cms) 21 inches
6-8 years 45-49 inches (114-124 cms) 23 inches
9-10 years 50-55 inches (127-139 cms) 25 inches
10 years or older > 55 inches (139 cm) 26 inches


Some teenagers will begin using an adult racquet in their early teen years, which will usually be 27 to 20 inches (68.6 to 71.1cm) in length.  There are also 29-inch racquets available for extremely tall players.

Longer racquets give the player more leverage, which helps them push more power into each shot.  The downside of using a long racquet is that they are less maneuverable and can be difficult to aim.

There is a simple technique that you can use to test the length of a tennis racquet for your child.  Have them stand as straight as possible, then place the tennis racquet next to them, with its head on the ground and handle facing the sky.

Have your child place the palm of their hand on the butt of the racquet, like they are using it for a walking stick.  They should be able to comfortably reach the butt of the racquet with the palm of their hand.  If the child has to bend their arm because the butt is too high or bend at the waist because it is too low, you might want to try another racquet size.

3) Choose the right racquet head size

The design of the average tennis racquet has changed substantially over the past few decades.  There are now many options when it comes to the size of the tennis racquet head.  For adult racquets they are categorized as follows:

  • Midsize heads 80-94 square inches
  • Midplus heads 95-105 square inches
  • Oversize heads 110-115 square inches
  • Super oversize heads 116-135 square inches

The racquet head sizes of Children’s racquets typically begin around 60-80 square inches and go up from there.

The main advantages of having a larger head on a child’s racquet is that the sweet spot of the racquet will be larger.  There is also a higher chance of your child landing each shot and a racquet with a larger head can generate more power.  Larger heads can be very useful for children, as they make it easier to get started on the tennis court.

Skilled tennis players tend to use midplus or midsize racquets.  They are highly accurate players, so they don’t require a larger sweet spot and they already have plenty of power in their shots.  By the time your child is a teenager, they may be able to move to a smaller racquet head size.

4) Consider the racquet’s weight

The racquet’s overall weight can be an important factor when choosing a tennis racquet for a child.  Usually, it is best to opt for a lightweight racquet as it will allow the child to use it more easily.

If your child is serious about tennis and already starting to become a highly skilled player, you should also consider the weight distribution of the racquet.  Some racquets will have a heavy head, which allows the player to generate more power.  Others will have a light head, which allows for more control.  A racquet with a balanced head will offer a mixture of power and control.  You should ask your child which racquet type they prefer for their play style.

5) Consider the racquet’s materials

The most common materials used to make tennis racquets include:


Graphite is a very lightweight material that is made from carbon.  It is a fairly durable and stiff material that can help the player put a lot of power into the ball.  Many graphite frames are “composite frames”, which use a combination of graphite and other materials.

Composite frames often use kevlar, titanium, tungsten, copper and fiberglass in conjunction with graphite.  These materials will change how the frame handles and where weight is distributed across the racquet.  Composite frames tend to have less vibration when hitting the ball compared to pure graphite frames.

Boron/Kevlar/Carbon Fibre

Boron, Kevlar and Carbon Fibre are even lighter and stiffer than graphite.  The main downside is that the additional stiffness in the racquet can make them harder to use for novice players.  Their stiffness can also make them more tiring to use.


Aluminum frames are strong and cheap.  They are light, but not as light as graphite, boron or kevlar.  Most aluminum frames are tubular or hollow to reduce the weight of the racquet.

The shape of the racquet and the thickness of the frame will determine how durable it is.  However, most aluminum racquets can really take a beating and are still usable even if the frame is slightly dented.

Aluminum offers the player a moderate level of power and feel.  There is more flex in an aluminum racquet compared to other materials and they are heavier than graphite, Kevlar, boron, or carbon fiber racquets.

Which one to use?

If you are purchasing a racquet for a child who is very young, aluminum is usually the best choice.  It is a tough material that will survive being dropped on a tennis court again and again.  The paint may come off but the racquet will retain its shape well.

If your child is a little older or a more experienced player, a graphite racquet will usually work well.  Your child will find it easier to use because it is lighter and they will be able to achieve more power with each hit.

Most children would find a Boron, Kevlar, or Carbon Fibre hard to use because they are such stiff materials.  They are very unforgiving to mistakes made by the player.  However, if you have a teenage child who is a keen tennis player, they might enjoy a racquet made from these materials.

6) Consider trying a few out

If you are still unsure about which racquet to purchase for your child, ask other people for advice.  Other parents who have children that play tennis regularly would probably know a lot about tennis racquets and be able to suggest some models.  They could also let your child use their child’s racquet for a couple of games to see how it feels.

Local tennis coaches would also be able to give you a number of suggestions and they might have some children’s racquets available to try out.  If your child has friends who play tennis, see if they can test their racquets out also.    

7) Consider your budget

Your budget will also be a major factor when choosing a tennis racquet for your child.  The best idea is to spend an amount of money that is appropriate for your child’s:

  • Age
    Are they 4 or 5 years old? There isn’t much point spending a lot of money, because your child is still developing basic hand-eye coordination.
  • Commitment to tennis
    Do they play every day? Are they interested in participating in competitions?  Considering spending a little extra money on a high-quality racquet.
  • Skill level
    Is your child clearly talented or are they struggling with the basics? If they are a natural, spend a little more.

Final thoughts

Tennis is a rewarding game that can be played for many years.  Choosing a high-quality tennis racquet won’t just keep your child happy, it may encourage them to remain fit and healthy into adulthood, make more friends, and enjoy an expanded social network.  By taking the time to find a racquet that your child will enjoy using, you will help them enjoy this terrific sport.