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Jeff Budzik Discusses Tennis for Beginners: Getting Started with the Basics

Written by Jimmy Rustling

Are you willing to learn the basics of tennis and start playing this thrilling sport? If you’re a newbie, you may feel overwhelmed by all the rules and strategies but don’t fear, Jeff Budzik has got you back. Tennis is a delightful and demanding sport with considerable health advantages, and it is never too late to begin!

What Is Tennis?

Tennis is a widely enjoyed sport that involves two players or teams competing against each other. The principal objective is to hit a ball over a net and into the opponent’s area, acquiring points. This sport demands physical strength, skill, and strategic reflection. It can be played on grass, clay, and hard courts. Tennis is a fantastic way to enhance cardiovascular fitness and coordination.

What Are the Basic Rules of Tennis?

As a newbie in tennis, it’s vital to understand the basic regulations that govern the game. These directions dictate how points are scored, the technical elements of serving, and what includes a fault or a let.

Scoring System

  • Tennis follows a unique scoring system where players accumulate points to win games, sets, and matches.
  • A game has four points: love (0), 15, 30, and 40. The first player to get four points wins the game, but they must win by at least two points.
  • When both players reach 40, it’s called deuce. A player must win two consecutive points to win the match from a deuce.
  • A player must win at least six matches and have a two-game lead to win a set. A tiebreaker is done if the pool reaches a 6-6 tie.
  • In a tiebreaker, players aim to reach seven points, but they must win by two. The tiebreaker continues until one player achieves a two-point advantage.

Serving Rules

  • To begin the game, stand behind the baseline.
  • With one hand, toss the ball and hit it into the diagonal service box.
  • Ensure the ball goes over the net and lands in the correct service box.
  • For the first point, serve from the right side of the court, then alternate sides after each point.
  • The server has two chances to get the serve in. If the first serve is a fault, they get a second attempt.
  • If the second serve is also a fault, it results in a double weakness, and the opponent earns a point.

Faults and Lets

  • Faults: A fault occurs when the server fails to serve the ball into the opponent’s service box. If the server commits two spots in a row, it results in a double fault, resulting in the opponent winning a point.
  • Lets: A let occurs when a legal serve is hindered by outside interference, such as a ball rolling onto the court. In such cases, the server can replay the serve without any penalty.

What Equipment Do You Need to Play Tennis?

The right equipment can enhance your tennis journey. Let’s glance at each of these items.


To select a tennis racquet, follow these steps:

  1. Consider your skill level: Beginners should choose a lightweight racquet with a larger head size, while advanced players can opt for a heavier one with a smaller one.
  2. Grip size: Use a racquet with a comfortable grip size. Measure from the end of your ring finger to the second crease in your palm to determine the appropriate size.
  3. Racquet length: Standard racquets are 27 inches long, but longer racquets can provide more power and reach.
  4. String pattern: A denser string pattern offers more control, while an open string pattern generates more spin.

Tennis Balls

Tennis balls are a crucial element of the game, specially designed for optimal performance on the court.

  • Compression: Different tennis balls have varying levels, which can affect the speed and bounce of the ball. Beginners may prefer low-compression balls for better control.
  • Surface Type: Consider the court surface you will be playing on.
  • Brand and Quality: Reputable brands like Wilson or Penn offer high-quality tennis balls that meet industry standards and provide consistency.

Proper Attire

Proper tennis attire is essential to ensure comfort, safety, and freedom of movement.

  • Wear relaxing, breathable attire made of moisture-wicking materials to keep you cool and dry.
  • Choose tennis-specific shoes with good traction and ankle support to prevent injuries.
  • Wear a well-fitted tennis cap to protect your face from the sun.
  • Use sunscreen to protect your skin from dangerous UV rays during outdoor games.
  • Opt for lightweight, non-restrictive clothing to allow easy court movement.

How Do You Hold a Tennis Racquet?

Eastern Grip

The Eastern grip is commonly used in tennis, especially for beginners.

  1. Set the base knuckle of your index finger on the third grade of the racquet handle.
  2. Cover your hand around the handle, holding your fingers relaxed and not absorbing too tightly.
  3. Set your thumb against the back ridge of the handle for counted strength.
  4. Assure you have a firm grip on the racquet, but not so tight that it limits activity.
  5. Practice swinging the racquet with the Eastern grip to get comfortable and develop muscle memory.

Continental Grip

The continental grip is a crucial technique in tennis that enables improved control and versatility in shot selection. Follow these steps to master the continental grip:

  1. Hold the racket with your non-dominant hand in front of you, with the strings facing towards you.
  2. Wrap your hand around the handle, keeping a relaxed grip with your fingers.
  3. Ensure that the V-shaped space between your thumb and index finger points towards the sky, forming the “V” of the continental grip.
  4. Practice gripping the racket firmly but not too tight, allowing flexibility in your wrist and fingers.

Semi-Western Grip

The semi-western grip is popular in tennis for hitting with spin.

  1. Hold the racquet with your non-dominant hand at the base of the handle.
  2. Place your dominant hand on the handle, positioning your knuckles at a 45-degree angle.
  3. Position your index knuckle between the third and fourth levels of the handle.
  4. Wrap your fingers around the handle, maintaining a loose but firm grip.
  5. Ensure that the V formed by your thumb and index finger points towards your shoulder.

What Are the Basic Strokes in Tennis?

As a beginner, learning the basic strokes in tennis is essential for building a solid foundation. Each stroke requires its unique technique and serves a specific purpose on the court.


  1. Start with a proper stance, positioning your body sideways with your non-dominant foot forward.
  2. Hold the racket with a firm but relaxed grip, using an Eastern grip for more control.
  3. As the ball approaches, pivot on your back foot and transfer your weight forward.
  4. Step into the shot using your non-dominant hand for balance and coordination.
  5. Swing the racket forward fluidly, making contact with the ball in front of your body.
  6. Finish the shot with your racket high and your body balanced.


The backhand is a crucial tennis stroke requiring proper technique and practice. Here are steps to improve your backhand:

  1. Footwork: Position yourself with an open stance and prepare to transfer your weight.
  2. Grip: Use a continental or Eastern backhand grip for better control and power.
  3. Backswing: Rotate your shoulders and take the racket back, keeping it parallel to the ground.
  4. Contact: Make contact with the ball using a slight slice or topspin motion.
  5. Follow-through: Finish the backhand stroke with a high follow-through, extending your arm and racket towards the target.


  1. Position yourself behind the baseline with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  2. Hold the racket with a continental grip.
  3. Toss the ball slightly in front and above your head.
  4. As the ball reaches its highest point, extend your arm and snap your wrist to hit it.
  5. Follow through with your racket over your shoulder.


  1. Position yourself near the net with knees slightly bent and weight on the balls of your feet.
  2. Hold your racquet with a continental grip, where the base knuckle of your index finger rests on the third angle.
  3. Keep your eyes on the incoming ball and maintain a relaxed but firm grip on the racquet.
  4. As the ball approaches, step forward and angle the racquet face slightly upward.
  5. With a short swing, meet the ball in front of your body and redirect it with control and precision.

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About the author

Jimmy Rustling

Born at an early age, Jimmy Rustling has found solace and comfort knowing that his humble actions have made this multiverse a better place for every man, woman and child ever known to exist. Dr. Jimmy Rustling has won many awards for excellence in writing including fourteen Peabody awards and a handful of Pulitzer Prizes. When Jimmies are not being Rustled the kind Dr. enjoys being an amazing husband to his beautiful, soulmate; Anastasia, a Russian mail order bride of almost 2 months. Dr. Rustling also spends 12-15 hours each day teaching their adopted 8-year-old Syrian refugee daughter how to read and write.