I expect that this, my initial article will be found useful by both novices and experts alike in the tennis world. I am trying to arouse interest in the student of the game of tennis by a somewhat lengthy discussion of match play, which I hope will shed a new light on the game of tennis.
I will turn to the beginner in my opening article and speak of certain things which are second nature to the skilled player. The best tennis equipment is not much good for the novice even if he really is trying to improve. However, one has to buy good quality; it is a saving in the end, as high quality goods far outlasts poor quality gear.
It is vital always to wear tennis apparel when playing tennis. The question of selecting a tennis racquet is a much more serious decision. I do not like to force a certain make of racquet upon any player, since all the standard brands are of excellent quality. However, the weight, balance, and size of the handle are the really important considerations when choosing a racquet frame, while good stringing is essential to get optimum results.
After you have acquired your racquet, make a firm resolve to use only quality tennis balls, as a consistent bounce is a great aid to advancement, while a “dead” ball is no use at all. If you really want to succeed at tennis and advance rapidly, I strongly urge you to see all the good tennis you can. Study the play of the leading players and try to copy their strokes. Read all the tennis instruction books you can get your hands on. They are a great help.
More tennis can be picked up off the court, in the study of theory, and in watching the top players in action, than can ever be learned in actual play. I do not mean miss opportunities to play tennis. Far from it. Play whenever you can, but try when playing to put in practice the theories you have read or the strokes you have watched.
Do not allow yourself to become discouraged by lack of progress. The trick of playing some stroke you have worked on over weeks in vain, will suddenly come to you when you least expect it. Good tennis players are the result of hard work. Very few players are born geniuses at the game. Tennis is a game that pays you dividends all your life. A tennis racquet is a letter of introduction in any city.
The brotherhood of the game is universal, since none but a fit sportsman can succeed in the game for any lengthy period of time. Tennis provides relaxation, excitement, exercise, and pure enjoyment to the person who is bound hard to his job until late afternoon.
The following is the order of development that produces the quickest and most lasting results: i. Concentration on the game. ii. Keep the eye on the ball. iii. Foot-work and weight-control. iv. Strokes. v. Court position. vi. Court generalship or match play. vii. Tennis psychology.
Concentration. Tennis is played first with the mind. The most perfect racquet technique invented will not be enough if the directing mind is wandering. There are many causes of a wandering mind in a tennis match. The main one is lack of interest in the game. No one should play tennis with any expectation of real success unless he cares sufficiently about the game to be willing to do the practice necessary to learn the game correctly.
Give it up at once unless you are willing to work hard. Conditions of play or the noises in the gallery often confuse and bewilder experienced match-players playing in new surroundings. Complete concentration on the matter in hand is the only cure for a wandering mind, and the sooner the lesson is learned the quicker the improvement of the player.
The best way to keep a game in mind is to play for every set, every game in the set, every point in the game and, finally, every shot in the point. A set is merely a conglomeration of made and missed shots, and the man who misses the least is the ultimate victor.
If you are a novice tennis player or are interested in tennis apparel, please go to our site entitled Tennis Tips for Beginners. This article, The Fundamentals of Tennis. is available for free reprint.