1. Tennis rackets
There are plenty of rackets to choose from, with the standard particularly good, even at the lower end of the scale. Rackets for beginners and junior-sized rackets are relatively inexpensive, but don’t just go for the cheapest — choose one that matches your body and grip size. Ask for advice from the sales assistant. Don’t assume that once a string has broken the racket is no good and should be thrown away. If it is a good one, it may be worth having it re-strung and having the tension adjusted to suit your play.
The world’s best players have spent years getting to where they are, starting at an early age and with help from some of the best coaches. You may play well one week, and then appallingly the next, for no apparent reason. Don’t get downhearted by this — it’s normal! Just keep playing and your game will eventually sort itself out.
3. Take some lessons
The best way to improve is to take some lessons. This will stop you picking up bad habits and give you the opportunity to meet people of a similar standard. Do some research into your local sports centres and tennis clubs to find out what they have on offer.
4. Warm-up and cool-down
Always warm-up and cool-down before and after play.
This should involve some stretching of your arms and legs, and some light jogging. Do the same at the end of the game, ending with the stretches.
5. Stay refreshed
Remember to drink plenty, especially during warm weather, and you can even take light snacks. You will see professional players taking a drink or eating banana during a break in play.
6. Hitting the tennis ball
Aim to hit the ball at waist height. It’s easier to hit the ball after it has bounced and is on its way down after it’s reached the highest point in the air.
7. Improve your speed
Tennis players need to be able to react to an opponent’s shots by moving around the court quickly. Skipping with a rope can improve your footwork and co-ordination.
8. The right grip
There are different types of grip for different shots. Either take lessons or talk to an experienced player to give you advice. Bad habits at the start will be harder to undo later.
9. Improve your stamina
It doesn’t matter how fast you are around the court, if you’re flagging after only a few games. A good frequent aerobic workout will help. You could get this simply by playing more tennis or taking time to play other sports.
10. Take one point at a time
Forget about what has gone before, particularly if you have lost the previous point, and concentrate on the point you are currently playing. Getting angry or frustrated doesn’t help you play better, doing so can often lead to someone becoming so angry that they can fail altogether – this is referred to as ‘tilt’, and it is a common term known in many sports where emotion overrides a cool, calm and collected approach.