Are you looking to get fit but don’t want to go to the gym? Then taking up a sport like tennis can be a great idea!
This sport requires a lot of footwork, coordination, strength, and agility, so playing one game can be a real workout. However, it’ll be so fun that it won’t feel like you’re exercising! Plus, you can play on your own, with a friend, or several people, making tennis a versatile sport.
Make sure you start out with good fundamentals though, or you’re in for a bad time. Read on for eight common beginner tennis mistakes and what you can do to avoid them.
1. Using the Wrong Equipment
Tennis beginners usually don’t want to spend money on equipment if they’re not sure about the sport yet. This means they’ll borrow whatever they can, and it’ll be a mishmash of things.
Often, they’ll have a tiny or hugely heavy racket, and/or it’ll be such an old racket, there’s no string tension left. Plus, they’ll show up in a loose t-shirt, jeans, and Converse sneakers.
If you picture the above scene, you’ll already know it’s completely wrong.
There are excellent beginner rackets that aren’t too expensive, so invest in one. As for your clothes, get decent tennis shoes and tighter athletic clothes that are both comfortable and breathable.
2. Hitting With Too Much Power
You want to give your opponent a challenge, so you want to send the ball flying, right? Obviously, this means you need to hit the ball with as much strength as possible.
However, this is one of the biggest mistakes you can make. When you bring the racket down with all your might, you’re sacrificing accuracy, and you might not even hit the ball!
As a beginner, it’s best to focus on your different tennis techniques rather than power. Once you’ve mastered these, the strength behind your strokes will naturally follow.
3. Swinging With Your Wrists or Elbows
Swinging with your wrists or elbows is not only bad form, but it’ll look and feel bad too. In fact, it’ll compromise your swinging power and result in a weak return.
You should always swing from the shoulders. This gives you more power and stability, and you won’t risk spraining your wrist or getting tennis elbow either.
4. Using the Wrong Grip
You can’t just place both your hands on the racket, swing, and hope for the best. You’d be surprised at what a proper tennis grip can do!
There are three general tennis grips: Continental (Chopper or Hammer), Western, and Semi-Western. You aren’t restricted to only one grip either; in fact, you’re encouraged to switch it up for different types of play.
For example, when you’re serving, hitting overhead shots and volleys, or slicing, you should use the Continental grip. This is where you rest your index knuckle and heel pad on the second bevel on your racket.
If you’re a baseline player, then you should favor the Semi-Western grip. It gives topspin and power to your shots, and it gives you more control too. To do the Semi-Western grip, put your index knuckle and heel pad on the fourth bevel.
5. Not Following Through With Your Swings
Contrary to popular belief, the swing doesn’t end when you hit the ball. When you stop motion after contact, it’ll be like hitting a volley, where you’re mostly rebounding the energy coming toward you.
Ideally, you want your swing to be one smooth, continuous movement where the racket ends up with its handle near your shoulder and the face behind your ear. This will result in a swing that has some “oomph” behind it.
6. Not Practicing Footwork
Lots of beginners focus on their swings since that’s what keeps the ball in play. However, footwork in tennis is just as important, if not more so. After all, if you can’t get to the ball, how are you even going to return it to your opponent?
There are three main types of footwork: small, split, and big steps. You can do various drills to practice maneuvering the court. DO them with a friend, instructor, or even a tennis ball machine with the mode put on “random.”
In general, you want to shuffle side to side to cover the width of the court. Try to always return to the middle so you’re equidistant from the left and right.
7. Not Keeping Your Eye on the Ball
We’re not talking figuratively either. In any sport where there are balls involved, you need to keep constant watch over them. If you don’t, then you might mis-hit or miss the ball in tennis.
Watching the ball can also train your eye and brain. The more you play, the better you’ll be able to anticipate where the ball will land. As a result, you’ll outplay your opponents.
8. Not Using Your Backhand
We’ll admit that it feels awkward to use the backhand, which is why most players favor the forehand. But your opponents know this, and they’ll try to attack your weakness.
When you’re practicing, force yourself to use your backhand instead of bending over backward to use your forehand. The sooner you get used to this stroke, the sooner it’ll become second nature to use it.
Say “No” to These Beginner Tennis Mistakes
You’re bound to make beginner tennis mistakes, but you should take them as learning opportunities!
However, there’s no denying that if you’re aware of the common newbie mistakes, you’ll advance your skills much quicker. If you know what not to do, then it’ll be easier to focus on the correct things.
Check out the rest of our blog page for more advice on improving your sports skills.