A student’s crash course for playing tennis

A beginner's guide to tennis. (Brooke Barrett | Collegian Media Group)

To play the game of tennis you need to have patience. It takes both upper and lower body strength to play the game.

If that is something you’re looking for, then tennis is the sport for you.

Tennis can be played two different ways — either single player or doubles. So, is it team-based or more individualized?

Nolan Foth, freshman in physics, played varsity tennis in high school and plays club at Kansas State. He said the sport is a mix of both.

“It depends on what you play, singles or doubles,” Foth said. “Overall, I’d say it’s more individual, that’s just the nature of the game, it’s your shot and you’re the only one who can change what kind you go for and how much you put on it based on what your opponent does.”

That said, there are four points to win a full game and five sets in a game. The first point is worth 15 points, the second point brings a player to 30 points, the third point makes the score 40 points and the fourth point is called “match point.”

When a ball goes out of bounds the person who didn’t hit the ball out gets the points. The amount of points you earn depends on where you are at in the game.

If there is a tie at the end of a set it is called a “deuce.” To break the tie, you would either score two more points in a row — an “add-on”— or win by one point — an “add-off.”

It is also important to know the different types of serves and strokes. Serves include overhead, slice serve and topspin. Strokes include forehand, backhand, lob and volley.

Let’s start with the serves. An overhead serve is when you throw the ball above your head and hit it. A slice serve is when you throw the ball in the air and you basically karate chop it. A topspin serve is when your arm is straight and you hit the ball as it’s coming down in a brush motion.

Now, the strokes. A forehand stroke is when the ball bounces and you hit it. A backhand stroke is where you move your dominant hand across your body and then when you have contact with the ball you follow through. A lob stroke is when you are hitting underhand and you are trying to make the ball go as far up and as far to the other end of the court while still keeping it in bounds. And a volley stroke is where you make an L with your racket and forearm and when you see the ball you tap it.

Isabelle Liuzza, senior in architectural engineering and former member of the Missouri Valley Tennis League, said the right racket and grip can make a big difference in how well you play along with keeping other things in mind.

“Always stay on your toes during the game to be ready to move,” Liuzza said. “Last but not least it’s important to encourage your teammates while they’re playing the game.”

When playing the game you always want your tennis racket in front and in a continental grip. A continental grip is where you form a “V” with your hand and you want the “V” to be in the middle of the grip.

“Tennis is a complex sport sometimes and it can get the best of people because there’s a ton of cardio and exercise in the game,” said Victor Armstrong, senior in kinesiology and referee official for K-State Recreational Services. “Just try to remember that Rome wasn’t built in a day, so neither was being a good tennis player.”