There are basic requirements for navigating and orchestrating a game of tennis. I’ll also touch on etiquette and preparation. Game management is a base of fundamental knowledge that will help you succeed playing matches or practicing.
1. Get to the courts early, at least 15 minutes ahead. You want to get every second you can out of your court time, and loosen up.
2. Bring a bag with two racquets, a water bottle, snacks, a towel, grips and can of balls. Extra points for a stretch band,
band aids, ice pack, cell phone (turn off), and a banana!
3. Warm-up close to the net, then back up, hit easy, then build pace as you warm up. take volleys and overheads, then serves, and a couple of returns (not too many).
4. Spin racquet for serve or discuss your training plans with your partner(s). Always train or play with a purpose.
5. Keep score in your head after everyone point. At the end of a point remember how it ended in your mind and say the score in your head immediately after the point ends. This helps two things, remembering the score by shot results gives you a file in your brain to pull up whenever you need it!
You now have a record of results and how they happened!
So you will always know the score and a sense of what is happening during practice or competition. You now can make adjustments based upon your shotmaking and that of your opponent or practice partner!
6. Hold two balls when your serving, one in your pocket and one two serve. If you miss the first serve you have the second serve in your pocket, not in your opponents pocket or one stuck in the back fence.
7. Always make sure the third ball is stowed safely away from the play area, ideally on the server’s side of the court.
8. Call service let’s immediately if you hear one. Also call a let that disturbs the flow of the game.
9. Never cross behind a court (match in progress) until the rally is over. Move quickly and quietly to your court as a group! This shows respect for other player’s matches,
10. Wear clothes appropriate for the game. If you watch a professional match or YouTube players practicing you can get a sense of what typically is worn. And there’s a large degree of personal taste involved. Personally I like wearing shorts that can hold a tennis ball, good socks and tennis shoes (so my feet and ankles are protected), and a tee-shirt or polo. I take a hat too just because outside it screens glare and indoors it depends on the day. I love hats so I always have one in my bag or on my head. I have a venerable hat collection! You can choose what makes you feel good on the court to move and play better. Sun block, sun glasses, fog wipes, tacky grip, aspirin (yup, keep it simple), and electrolytes (pedialyte), and sandals (for when your done). At least loosen up your shoes when done. Also there is no need to have your laces tied too tight. Support doesn’t mean strangulation. Choosing the right shoe is an art form. You have to try them on first! If you don’t like the fit, send them back.
11. Two racquets are better than one! If you break a string you’re good to go. I like my strings freshly strung with string that’s good for me. That is a whole post in itself and I’ll post an article about that soon. Also have over-wraps ready to go! Having a good grip is divine.
12. When you greet an opponent shake their hand at the beginning and at the end of practice or match.