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Fundamentals of the Game We Love 

Attn: Jake Nelson





June 10, 2002








Fundamentals of the game we love


Another part of the enjoyment of playing tennis is building a fundamental base of skills that will help you have fun playing the game. If you master them well enough you will have a strong game and be able to then expand your skills by allowing your particular talent and creativity to come through.


The first fundamental stroke needed is the serve. All game play starts with a serve. Depending on speed, placement, spin and depth the serve can give you an advantage on the point. Otherwise it can be a neutral shot to get the point started without giving the opponent an advantage.


Next are the basic ground strokes, forehand and backhand. You should be able to hit aggressive, neutral and if forced, a defensive shot. It is best to learn when the appropriate time for each shot to be played. The balance of knowing these three shots will develop a thinking-winning player.


Different styles of ground strokes are topspin, slice, or flat. The ball height, when hit, will be low, in the zone, or high. You need to master landing these shots to all parts of the court. This can take years to learn. With each new skill your game will allow you to advance up the ladder and win over other players.


The easiest shot to learn is the volley. Both the forehand and the backhand volley are technically easy to perform. You can excel by using your willingness to approach the net to use the volley to win the points.


With your good strong net game, your opponent may tend to rely on the defensive lob to get back in to the point after you take the net. The next fundamental shot you need to master is the overhead smash. This shot is hit out of the air or after a bounce. Watch out for the lob and move to the correct position as quickly as you can. Early preparation is very important. Again you should be able to hit the overhead from any place on your side to any place on the other side.




Learn to hit these shots at will, to the intended location, with the intended spin and speed, without straining any part of your body, and you will have a complete game to be proud of. This will take time, be patient. oHHH



However, this is also the beauty of the game. Once the fundamentals are understood you can continue to develop them to a very high level. Along the way you will learn variations and other skills that will make your game unique and bring you loads of fun by improving yourself and by winning matches.



Tip of the month: Along your path of improvement take time to play a match with an opponent you do not mind losing to. Use this chance to hit a certain shot over and over in game play. This will allow you to test your skill, and see what happens when your opponent hits it. After you master the shot, you can tuck it away in your arsenal and develop the next fundamental.


Special thanks to coach, teacher, and mentors Don Henson, USPTA tester, Eric Mann USPTA First vice president California Division for iniating this discussion and helping me understand the fundamentals of the game we love.


For further information call Stan Carter, USPTA certified professional, at the Flint Canyon Tennis Club: 818-790-3355 or 213-321-8699.   You are invited to please email questions and comments to

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