Basics – Tips for New Players

Basics – Tips for New Players

Tips for New Players:

  • Listen and accept suggestions that you’ve violated a rule. It’s to your benefit.
  • Don’t try to serve hard or near the sidelines.
  • Loft service returns so they go deep, giving you time to get to the non-volley line.
  • Remember that both the serve and the serve return must bounce before you can hit the ball, so remain at or behind the baseline after serving to receive the third shot.
  • Always get to the non-volley line as soon as you can.  It’s the strongest position.
  • Face the player who will hit the ball, not the net. You will be better placed to hit the ball.
  • Keep your paddle high, near your chest; your reaction time will be quicker.
  • Keep the ball in play -- let your opponent make the mistakes. Seventy-five percent of all rallies are won or lost because of unforced errors, many of them at the baseline.
  • Return your baseline shots to the center line as often as you can.
  • Use your forehand for power, especially on the serve return, but also developing a good backhand will give you a more complete game.
  • Placement is much more important than power; emphasize control over pace.
  • Don’t try to make a lot of sideline shots; they are low percentage. Hit to open areas (i.e., hit it where they aren’t).
  • Make note whether an opponent is right or left handed. Avoid hitting to the opponent’s strong side.
  • Don’t take your partner’s shots away by crowding his/her position. Do move to the centerline when your partner is pulled to the sideline to return a shot.


Evaluating Your Game:

  • Learn to dink the ball proficiently, both cross court and straight across the net. Be patient.
  • Understand when to hit the ball hard or softly.
  • Don’t try to make a “kill” shot unless it’s really there to make.
  • Watch your opponent’s paddle hit the ball; that tells you how fast the return will be and where it’s directed.
  • Hit the ball to the opponent’s feet or backhand, especially if it’s weak.
  • Develop a drop shot (just over the net) from the baseline. This is an important shot when your opponent(s) are at the non-volley line. Don’t use it when your opponents are near the baseline; keep them deep.
  • Have friends hit some shots to you that you don’t like and work at returning them. Maybe your opponent doesn’t like them either. Try them on him or her.
  • Look for patterns in your opponent’s play that expose weaknesses and repetitive use of certain shots. Sometimes you can observe these “tells” during pre-game warmups.
  • When your opponent is about to hit the ball, stop moving and assume the ready position. It’s much easier to hit the ball under control if you are stationary and balanced.
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