Everyone Should Know These Basic Rules for Playing Tennis

Kids are more inclined to play this grand game than ever before. For young aspirants and followers, it is necessary to understand the rules of tennis to enjoy it fully.
Basic Rules of Tennis
One player hits or serves the ball from a corner of a marked out area called a court, that is divided down the middle with a three feet high (0.914 meter) net. The opposite player’s goal is to return the ball, bouncing it no more than once in his own court, aiming for the other player to not be able to hit it. A point is gained when a player is not able to return the ball at all or he hits it out of the court. The ball is always served cross court or diagonally.
Equipment
The right equipment is essential for a good game of tennis, along with demarcation of the court according to international standards. Here are the specifications.
Tennis Court

Tennis is required to be played in a regulation size tennis court. This means that it has to be 78 feet long (23.77 m) and 27 feet (8.23 m) wide (for singles matches) or 36 feet (10.97 m) wide (for doubles matches). The court must have a 3 feet (0.914 meter) high net (with 3 ½ feet net posts), dividing it down the center. The type of court floor varies. It may be asphalt, clay, concrete, grass, artificial grass, wood or made of other synthetic materials.
The parallel line at both ends of the court, which marks its border, is known as a ‘baseline’, while the line marking the side of the court is known as ‘sideline’. A line parallel to the baseline, known as ‘server line’, is marked at a distance of 21 feet from the net, on either side. The center line, which is perpendicular to the net, is drawn halfway between the sidelines and exactly divides the courts into two halves on either side. Moreover, the server line and the center line on either side, divides each side of the court into four quarters. The quarter courts near the net are known as ‘service courts’.

Tennis Racquet

The usual tournament size racket should not be more than 29 inches in length and 12.5 inches in width. The hitting area of the racket cannot be more than 15.5 inches long and 11.5 inches wide.

Tennis Balls

These vary in color, but for official tournaments the ball must be yellow or white in color. Two, three, four or six balls may be used in a match.

Singles Game Basics

The server is chosen by a coin toss. The player who wins the toss can choose to serve or choose the side he wants. If the toss winner chooses to serve, his opponent gets to choose the side and vice versa. This applies to both singles and doubles games. In singles, the server (person playing first) and receiver (one who receives the serve) change position (left/right), after every point and the ends are changed after every odd numbered game.

Doubles Game Basics

Serving is alternated from team to team and from player to player so that each player serves every fourth game. Both partners (receivers and servers) can stand anywhere they want, however it is traditional for partners to stand side by side. The order of serving needs to be decided before the first game of any set begins.

Scoring
In a tennis game that’s part of a set, scoring is unconventional. The scores do not start increasing from single digits. The player who scores four points first, wins the game, provided there is a difference of two points. Zero score is referred to as ‘love’. Ergo, the ‘0-0’ score at the beginning of the game is referred to, as ‘Love All’! (Thus the game begins with a noble message of love!)
A match can either be ‘Best of Three Sets (First player to win 2 sets, wins the match) ‘ or ‘Best of Five Sets (First player to win 3 sets, wins the match)’. A player wins a set, when he wins 6 games, provided he is ahead of his opponent by two games. If the difference between the players is less than 2 games, the game may continue till either wins the set by a margin of two (known as the Advantage set scoring method).

Alternatively, if both players are tied with 6 games to their name, whoever wins the tie-breaker game, will win the set (this is known as the Tie-Breaker Method). The latter strategy is mostly adopted in ATP tournaments. Wimbledon, one of the four prime grand slams, uses the advantage set scoring method, due to which there is a possibility of a game continuing for a long time in some cases.

A prime example is the Isner-Mahut match at the Wimbledon championships in 2010, which went on for 11 hours and five minutes! The score read something like this – 6-4, 3-6, 6-7, 7-6, 70-68! The last figure is the number of points played in the last set, which lasted for eight hours, spread over three days.

The serving player’s score is always mentioned first, when calling. If both opponents or teams are leveled at a 40-40 score, they are said to be in ‘Deuce’. Hereafter, the one who scores two points consecutively (with a difference of two points), wins the game. The player who scores a single point after ‘Deuce’, is said to have an ‘Advantage’. However, if both score single points after a ‘Deuce’, the score is again tied, that is they land up in a ‘Deuce’ again. The only way a game can end is when a player scores two consecutive points after the tie.

If both players have won 6 games each and the set is tied, a tie-breaker game must be played. The scoring for this game is conventional and linear, starting from 0 to 1, 2, 3.. and so on. The first player to score 7 points wins the game and the set, provided he has a two point lead over his opponent. The tie-breaker game continues, till a player achieves the two point lead to win the game and set. During this game, the sides need to be changed after 6 point are scored.
History
Tennis owes its invention to many pioneers, prominent among whom, was the Englishman, Walter Clopton Wingfield, who patented it in 1873. The game was brought to America, via Bermuda, by socialite Mary Ewing Outerbridge from Staten Island, New York. In USA, it was first played in 1874, at the Staten Island Cricket and Baseball Club.
Since then, tennis has come a long way to become the premier spectator sport world over, only rivaled by soccer. Millions of people all over the world follow tennis religiously. The power, speed and beauty of this game leaves everyone enthralled.
Service
A player must serve the ball from behind the baseline, standing between the center and side line. The serve execution in the first game of a set, should always be executed from the right side of the court, by a singles or doubles player. The service must land in the cross court or diagonally opposite service box (area between the net and server line). If the serve happens to land outside the service box or hits the net, the player is allowed to serve again.
If the serve is faulted twice, the server’s opponent gains a point. The service is alternated between opponents, in every game played. In case of a doubles game, the service is shared by the two players of each team alternately and changed between the opposing teams after every game. In a doubles game, two players of the serving team swap positions with each other, after every point.
Point Scoring
Here are conditions under which a point may be lost.

~The player errs consecutively while serving, causing a double fault.

~A player is unable to return the ball in the opponent’s court, before it bounces twice.

~The player hits the ball outside the court or hits a permanent fixture like the net poles.
~A player returns a serve, before it hits the ground or before it has crossed the net

~A double racket touch or carrying of the ball by a player.

~A player touches the net or comes in bodily contact with the net or any part of the opponent’s court or the ball hits the player’s body.

~When both doubles players on a team, touch a ball at the same time.
Penalties
There are certain penalties while playing tennis, these usually result in several points lost for various things. These are:

~Touching opponents ground, the net or posts or any other person or official in the game.

~Carrying the ball or catching it in the racket.

~Hitting the ball two times before it has crossed the net.

~If the ball hits or touches anything (clothes) or is carried by the player (with the exception of the racket).

~Throwing the racket or verbal abuse.
Officials
Only professional tournaments are officiated. One official watches the lines to call whether the ball is in or not. The senior umpire sits on a high chair outside the sideline, near the net and calls the scores. The senior umpire has the power to overrule all other judges. There is also a match referee who sits in the stands and watches. He can be consulted, should there be any major conflicts. Arguing with the judges costs points and even disqualification from the game.

Racquetball Tips

This sport comes from the clan of sports played using a racquet. It can be called a cousin of tennis or badminton, or even squash. Racquetball is a sport which is played using a racquet along with a hollow rubber ball. It is similar to squash, and seems like a descendant of tennis, but is a bit different. It can be played in an indoor as well as outdoor court. What makes it different from its other sporting cousins is that, there is absolutely no obstacle―there is no net. It is a great sport to burn those extra calories and keep fit and healthy.

Serving
An interesting tip is to mix up your serves. You need not go for a power serve every time. A lob serve in between and a backhand serve can spring a surprise for your opponent. A great trick to decide what kind of serve can give your opponent is to observe his or her feet. That might give you a clue as to what your opponent is anticipating―a backhand perhaps. So if you can take a cue from that, serve to his forehand.

Shot Placing
Use the height of the ball as a guide to your strategy while waiting for a return in the center court. Apply the ceiling shot if the ball is at the height of your shoulders or above. The passing shot is perfect if the ball is between thigh and shoulder height. The kill shot can deliver a killing punch if the return you get is lower than thigh height. A head-high shot is a big no-no into a kill shot. A basic thing to serve and return well is to keep your racquet perpendicular to the ground and ceiling.

Wrist Work
The ideal movement of the wrist involves snapping forward on making contact with the ball. This will give you the requisite power in the game. More than the arm speed, the speed and velocity at which your wrist snaps will prove to be more effective in hitting the ball where you want.

Returning a Shot
For returning a shot, stand in the center of the court and return the serve by striking the ball before it bounces for the second time. A fundamental norm to keep in mind here is that the ball should travel to the play wall so that it becomes a good return to a serve. The ball can hit any surface with the exception of the floor, as long as it hits the play wall before it bounces.

Tackling the Opponent
Rally is where you try to get even with your opponent. A player makes an attempt to earn points, or even win a serve by ending the rally. Observe how and where the other player is standing. For instance, if the opponent is in front of you, use a ceiling shot. If he is behind you, a pinch shot (front wall to side wall) will do the trick.

At the end, keeping your elbows close to the body. Snapping your wrist at the right time is the key to hitting good returns and services. In addition to this, a good presence of mind is all that you need to do well.

A Guide on How Beginners Should Learn How to Play Tennis

Learning how to play tennis can be a lot of fun, if it really interests you. This game requires a certain amount of agility, cardiovascular fitness, and good vision.For those of you who do not know much about tennis or are just beginning to learn the basics, we’ll cover everything from the equipment to the playing part. First though, we will only mention the obvious points, like you do need a tennis court (or somewhere similar to play), a person to play with, a tennis racket, and a ball. Initially, a net is optional if you are just learning to hit the ball to the other person, but for any real game, it would be a necessity, and these items are all available at any local sports store, or for rent at a recreation area for a minor fee.
Tennis Equipment

The balls used in tennis can either be yellow, green or white. Though, in almost all official matches, yellow balls are used. The racket used is around 27″ in size. The strings of the racket should have all its stitches attached and unbroken, and cannot have any energy source attached which can affect the play. Neither can the strings have more than one set of stringed patterns on the racket. Shorts and a T-shirt for men, and shorts/skirt and a T-shirt/top for women is the normal dress worn in tennis matches. Generally, tennis outfits are white because they reflect the sun better, and are thus cooler. Although, in the past decade, many famous tennis players have been wearing other colors too. It is best to wear what is comfortable for you while playing, whether it is tight or loose. As far as shoes are concerned, proper tennis shoes should be worn, as jogging and walking shoes are not the best bet for playing this game. As opposed to running shoes, tennis shoes are made to withstand side-to-side movement and not just forward steps. Women, because they generally arch higher than men, should take care to get shoes with more arch support. Socks should be thick and absorbent in order to absorb sweat and thereby prevent infections such as athlete’s foot or other various infections. Shoes may differ according to the kind of surface the game is being played on. Surfaces are usually clay court, grass court, hard court, or even wooden court.

Some other important things about the equipment – The grip must fit right or it will hurt. To measure the correct grip size: hold out the hand that you will be holding the racket with, hold it palm-side up and measure from the crease to the tip of the ring finger, and that is the measurement around the handle. Generally, this is around 4 inches in diameter. Of course it is usually a bit bigger for men and older players than for women and younger players. It is important to maintain the grip, because should it wear out, it could be dangerous.
Tennis Court

A standard tennis court is 78 feet long and 27 feet wide. This dimension is used for a singles match. For doubles, the length remains the same, while the width increases to 36 feet. The court is divided equally into two halves by the net, making each side the dimension of 39 feet long and 27 feet wide for singles, and 39 feet long and 36 feet wide for doubles. The net is in the center of the court supported by 2 poles on either side, which cannot be more than 6 inches in diameter. The height of the net is three and a half feet at the sides, while at the center it is three feet. The net needs to start from at least three feet outside the sideline, both for singles and doubles. Since a lot of running and retrieving is involved during play, there should be ample space around the playing court too. A total area of 120 feet in length and 60 feet in width is ideal.
Tennis Scoring

A tennis match consists of either best of 3 or best of 5 sets. A player needs to win at least 6 games, with a difference of 2, to win a set. In case both players end up winning 6 games each, a tiebreak comes into effect. In a tiebreak, the first player to win 7 points wins the tiebreak. Again, this needs to be won with a difference of 2 points. Among the major tournaments, only Wimbledon does not enforce this tiebreak rule, if it is the deciding set.

For the games, the scoring of points goes like – 1st point: score reads 15, 2nd point: score reads 30, 3rd point: score reads 40, and the 4th points wins you the game. Again, a game can only be won if the point difference is at least 2. For example, if both players are 40:40 (deuce), then they continue playing till one player has won 2 points more than his opponent.
Rules of Tennis for Beginners

Coming to the rules of tennis, first, let us assume that we’re talking about a singles match being played. The winner in the coin toss gets to decide whether he wants to serve or choose the side of play. The first serve needs to be taken from the right half of the court, from behind the baseline, and the ball needs to be tossed in the air for the serve. No part of the foot should touch the baseline until the serve is complete. The receiver has to stand on the diagonal side on his half of the court, though he is allowed to stand behind or inside the baseline too, whichever he chooses fit. The serve should land in the service box, which is the square area just after the net on the opposite side of the court. The serve needs to be retaken if it lands outside the service box or into the net. This is called a fault, and a double-fault results in the loss of a point. After this serve has been returned, players can then hit and return the ball after one bounce in their side of the court, or even directly without letting it bounce. The next serve is taken from the left side of the court, and this sequence continues till the end of the game.

A point is won if the opponent cannot return the ball, the opponent hits the ball into the net on his side, the opponent’s return goes outside the sideline or the baseline on your side of the court, if you hit the ball and the opponent cannot get to it, and even if the opponent touches the net or comes into your side of the court. After this, 20 seconds is the maximum time allowed for the server to start the next point. Balls that land on any part of a sideline or baseline are considered to be in, and play continues.

In a doubles match, all players serve turn-by-turn each game. That means, the same player gets to serve again every fifth game. Just like in singles, the first serve is taken from the right half of the court, and then the left. The two players in the serving team thus switch sides every point, while the players in the receiving team do not, which means that the player receiving each serve changes for every point. Once the serve is taken and returned, players can then go to any part of the court, hit the ball after one or without a bounce, and any player from each team can return the ball, meaning, from then on, no sequence needs to be followed in the course of the point.
Tennis is a great sport that can be either played as a pass-time, form of exercise, or even professionally. All the basic tennis shots need to be practiced day in and day out in order to get better and move on to a competitive level. If we take a look at all the past and present champions, they took up this sport as beginners when they were kids, and years of practice got them to where they are/were.

How to Break in New Basketball Shoes

People wondering about breaking in brand new basketball shoes should know that there is no secret to this process.If you have recently bought a new pair of basketball shoes, then it is advisable to break into the shoes by using them a few times, before you use them for a proper match. They are typically made of very sturdy leather, so they take some time to alter themselves to the shape of the wearers foot, and this can result in some foot pain while playing, along with some blisters as well.

The tendency of new basketball shoes to cause pain and restrict movement is not surprising, since the person wearing them needs to move around and jump up and down many times during the course of the game. If the shoes are not comfortable while performing these activities, it will inevitably result in some discomfort and pain for the wearer. Simply running around in new shoes that are not broken in will also cause some problems, so every purchase must be followed by a suitable breaking-in period.

Best Way to Break in New Basketball Shoes

You cannot possibly do this without wearing them, so the aim should be to put them on and use them as much as possible. If you wear them and start playing a high intensity game right away, the chances of pain occurring in your foot are very high, so you should concentrate on jogging lightly for a few days. A suitable alternative is to put on the shoes around the house and carry on your daily activities for a few days. This will help you get your feet accustomed to the shoes, and it will also give the shoes enough time to alter their shape according to your foot. The longer you delay a proper game in the shoes, the better it will be for your foot. Over time, you can also start performing some basketball drills and exercises (like ankle stretches) that are similar to the movements that you will be making in a proper match.

Another alternative is to hold the shoe in both hands, with one hand under the toe of the shoe and the other hand supporting the heel. You should curl your finger around the toes and move the front part of the shoe up and down many time in order to loosen the rigidity of the shoes. This task will need to be performed for the other shoe as well, and it will ease the process in the future.

It is also important to buy the right kind of shoes for your feet. Simply buying a pair of shoes because they look good, or because your favorite player wears them or because they cost a lot is not a smart way to go about things. You need to buy a pair of shoes that is comfortable on your foot, since everyone has a different foot shape. Moreover, it should not bite into the sides of the foot while wearing them. It is true that they will get more comfortable after wearing them for some time, but this will be helpful only if you end up buying an appropriate pair in the first place. Basketball shoes can be pretty expensive in some cases, so there is no point in wasting money over a pair of shoes that are inappropriate for you. There are certain shoes that will take a rather long time to break in and get adjusted to your feet, so you need to carry out some careful research before you buy yourself a pair of basketball shoes. Never buy a pair without trying them on for yourself.

The trick is to simply wear the shoes as soon as possible, and to use them for some normal tasks before playing a match. The shoes need some time to get shaped according to your foot, and this means that there is no other option. If someone is giving you some tips like soak the shoes in some kind of mixture or keep it at a certain temperature, then you should not believe these instructions because the shoes will still take the same amount of time to get accustomed to your feet. Carry out some simple exercises, go for a jog a few times and the shoes will automatically break in and be ready for some intense use.