21 Incredible Tennis Tips: Improve To The Next Level
Whether you are a total beginner or an advanced tennis player, there is always something to improve. In fact, even the greatest players remain great if they think that the world still has things to teach them even if they have risen to the very top.
In this article, I will reveal great tennis tips that will improve your game and take your tennis skills to the next level regardless of your current skill level.
Without a further due, let’s begin!
- 1. Warm-Up properly
- 2. Plan Your Practice
- 3. Increase Your Strenght
- 4. Stretch consistently
- 5. Determine Your Playstyle
- 6. Train With Skilled Players
- 7. Footwork Is Your Foundation
- 8. Get Your Grip Right
- 9. Invent a Serving Ritual
- 10. Master Your Spin
- 11. Hit and Recover
- 12. Perfect Your Volley
- 13. Hone Your Receive/Return Ability
- 14. Exploit Your Opponent’s Weaknesses
- 15. Hide Your Weaknesses
- 16. Be Ruthless and Don’t Take Risks
- 17. Don’t Panic If You Get Behind
- 18. Hydrate and Nourish Yourself
- 19. Use Both Hands (Two-Forehands)
- 20. Wear Something You Feel Confident In
- 21. Invest In Proper Equipment
- My Favorite Tennis Equipment
1. Warm-Up properly
Warming up is essential before any hard physical activity, and so it is for tennis. Many types of research show that warming up can prevent and even relieve back pain, the risk of injury and prepare your body for physical activity.
Warming up revs up your cardiovascular system by raising your body temperature and increasing blood flow to your muscles, making you ready for tennis. Also, warming up can decrease muscle soreness that often comes after a hard physical session.
All of this makes you better ready for tennis and certainly makes you play better when compared to if you were to go to the court with cold muscles.
2. Plan Your Practice
This is probably one of the most skipped yet important things, so focus closely. When you get to the court without a play, you will probably start doing a little bit of this and a little bit of that with less focus because you don’t have a goal in mind. This really decreases the quality of your training.
However, if you make a plan for each session, your training will be many times better. For example, you could make a plan to improve on your serve and spin on other sessions and strokes and volleys on the next. Don’t do everything at once because you won’t really improve on anything.
Take notice that you don’t need to focus on only one thing for the rest of your life, but section your training so you can really improve on a single skill on each workout. Think about what are your weaknesses, and that’s usually the best place to start.
This quote from Bruce Lee really fits this step perfectly and should make you understand the meaning of a plan.
”I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times.”Bruce Lee
3. Increase Your Strenght
As you might know, tennis players aren’t the most muscular athletes in the sports world (find out why), but they still need a great amount of strength. Think about it, a tennis court is 78ft (23.77m) long, and the ball weighs ≈2oz (57g). It requires strength to strike that ball all the way to the other side in a difficult way to receive and return.
There are many kinds of exercises you can do to increase strength in the right areas for tennis. Below is a great list of exercises targeting the key strength areas for tennis. (Click for a video)
Tennis players need strength, especially in Chest, Triceps, Shoulders, Core, Lower Back, Hamstrings, Quads, and Glutes. By increasing your strength, you can move faster, strike harder, and receive easier. It’s all benefits.
4. Stretch consistently
Stretching isn’t something you can skip if you want to be a better tennis player and feel better in your everyday life. I remember the time when I didn’t stretch every day; I thought that I felt fine, but oh man, I was wrong. Stretching will improve tennis and the way you feel when you sit, lie down, walk, run, and do everyday chores.
There are many benefits to stretching, but when talking about tennis, it is a sport that requires a great deal of flexibility. Think about it: it requires flexibility when you reach all hard-to-reach strikes with your hands and legs. Even if you could reach the ball without being flexible, it is more comfortable to reach for hard balls when you can stretch your muscles.
There are two main kinds of stretching: Dynamic and Static.
- Dynamic stretching is done with movements instead of being held in positions. Dynamic stretching is best suited before your physical activity to get your muscles ready for your session.
- Static stretching is done with a held position that lasts 10 to 30 seconds before changing the stretch. Static stretching is best suited after your physical activity to relieve soreness from your muscles.
This video should help you to fully understand and visualize the difference between dynamic and static stretching.
5. Determine Your Playstyle
This is one of the most important tips on this list, so listen closely. There are many different playstyles in tennis and the best kinds of equipment suited for specific playstyles. So if you have a playstyle 1 but use the equipment suited for playstyle 2, your overall performance on the court will not be good.
There are 4 main types of playstyles in tennis:
- Agressive Baseliner
- Serve and Volleyer
- All-Court Player
Then, there are different racket materials, string materials, grips, shoes, and you name it for different playstyles and skill levels. Determine your play style and find the best equipment for that, and your tennis skills will improve overnight.
- Learn more: What Are Tennis Rackets Made Of?
- Learn more: Full String Guide
- Learn more: Leather Vs. Synthetic Tennis Grip
6. Train With Skilled Players
If you want to really improve, learn new things, and speed up acquiring new skills, then you need to play with people that are better than you. You can train with your friends that have more skills, get some tennis lessons, or even practice with a capable tennis machine that you can program to do hard drills. The point is, don’t let yourself off easy.
Whatever you put around yourself, you will be the mirror of it.Marcel Wanders
7. Footwork Is Your Foundation
Moving on to actual training. Naturally, you need to start with footwork because it is the core and pillar of your whole tennis game.
This doesn’t mean that you need to have complicated dance moves like footwork on the court. No, it’s actually pretty simple, but you need to really master your footwork to up your game to the next level.
By having good footwork skills that are fast and explosive, you can reach balls you would never have before and turn yourself to the best striking position possible.
Check out the great video below and learn more about footwork.
8. Get Your Grip Right
Taking the right kind of grip from your handle is important to strike well, vibration absorption, and to prevent yourself from wearing your arm too much by gripping too hard.
You can use many different grips, but the two main ways are Fryingpan Grip and Hammer Grip.
- Fryingpan grip: The best way to learn this grip is by placing your racket on the ground. Now, pick it up naturally and you will notice that you are holding it like a frying pan. This grip is best for forehand swings.
- Hammer grip: Hammer grip is one step forward from the frying pan grip. After holding your racket in the fryingpan grip, turn it 90degrees so that the strings are pointing to left and right. Hammer grip is used for everything else than forehand swing.
In addition to the right hold of your handle. There are different kinds of grips that are replacement grips and overgrips. In short, a replacement grip is a grip that touches the metal part of the frame, whereas an overgrip is applied over the replacement grip.
Then, there are different materials of replacement grips: Leather vs Synthetic. Generally, the leather grip is for more advanced players who want a firm grip with a great feel, whereas synthetic grips have more cushioning and comfort.
9. Invent a Serving Ritual
The serve is one of the most important moments of your rally because that’s the only place where you have 100% control of the ball and what’s happening.
Coming up with a service ritual can be beneficial because you can take your time and focus on the serves and as you know, there are no other take your time moments during a rally.
Again, this doesn’t need to be anything complicated. You can bounce your ball a certain number of times, move in the baseline in a certain pattern, or take three deep breaths with your eyes closed. The sky is the limit, really, but the idea here is to get your focus on which leads to better serves and more points won.
10. Master Your Spin
Spin is a vital part of tennis, especially when talking about topspin. When you can generate a good topspin, your strokes will be more consistent, and your groundstrokes will have more depth.
To generate a good topspin, you need to strike the ball with a brushing motion to make the ball spin. You can train this by placing a tennis ball between the net and your racket and using a brushing motion to get the ball over the net. You can do this with both forehand and backhand.
For a visual understanding of the drill and meaning of topspin, take a look at the video below.
11. Hit and Recover
This is something especially new tennis players tend to do very often. After you have stoked the ball, don’t stand there and admire your beautiful shot. No, you need to be ready immediately after your racket loses contact with the ball.
This way, you can save even crucial seconds and can be the difference between a point won or lost.
12. Perfect Your Volley
Volley is a great way to make your opponent feel more threatened, which is done by keeping a couple of things in mind.
First of all, you want to be in as middle of the court as possible because you can volley in more directions with greater accuracy. Also, you want to hit the ball down the line so you can receive your opponent’s potential response to the volley more easily.
If you like to play as a volleyer, you need to think about the steps done before, during, and after the volley.
- Before a volley, you need to execute a stroke that pushes the opponent behind the baseline for optimal results during the volley phase. At this point, you should be approaching the net.
- During a volley, when you are at the net and your opponent has returned the ball from behind the baseline, you should strike the ball as far from the opponent as possible (usually close to the net on your opponent’S side), making it really difficult to return your volley.
- After your volley, you should move close to the center of the court and be prepared if your opponent can return your volley. If the return is coming, you should be able to make another extremely hard ball to return for your opponent.
The point is to make your opponent run and stretch for your strikes, so if and when they can return your shot, you can once again make a tough ball to return.
13. Hone Your Receive/Return Ability
Receiving the ball is as important as any other skill because it’s 50% of the game.
You can improve your returns in various ways, such as playing far behind the baseline, which gives you more time to prepare your return. I get that it may seem difficult at first because you want to reach shorter balls, but if you play closer to the net, you have less time to hit the ball, so both cancel each other out.
Another way is to not think about the point all the time. If you play like the next strike I hit will award a point for me no matter what, your returns will be bad, plain and simple. Don’t rush tennis because it can’t be rushed.
The right way is to play great strikes and implement great tactics, and the right window for point will present itself automatically without the need of forcing it. This way, your overall game, and returns will be much better.
Long story short, if you play far behind the baseline and don’t force a potential point on every strike, you will have more time to hit better strikes that aren’t only focused to the point. Ironically, this awards you with more points.
Want to learn how to receive a serve? Take a look at the video below!
14. Exploit Your Opponent’s Weaknesses
Finding weaknesses and noticing strengths in your opponent is something you can really work with if you can spot them early on.
For example, if you notice that your opponent is poor at backhand striking, you should aim most of your shots there. Another example is that your opponent is bad at receiving spin; you should add more spin to your strikes.
Weakness isn’t the only thing to be aware of. If you notice that the opponent’s volleys are really powerful, you should do everything in your power to not give them the chance to volley all the time.
Keep an eye out, and you will surely notice a pattern, weakness, or strength that you can use or be aware of.
15. Hide Your Weaknesses
As you should exploit your opponent’s weaknesses, they are most likely to do the same for you, so make sure you minimize the do tells about your weaknesses.
It can be tough not to give weaknesses away but let’s say you are bad at backhand strokes; then you should try to strike the ball in a way that will give you mostly forehand balls to return.
16. Be Ruthless and Don’t Take Risks
Another tip that I see most beginners make is that they get cocky after gaining a few-point lead, so they let their guard down. As the saying goes, don’t lick until it drops, which is very true in tennis.
Never let your guard down and think that you have an unbeatable advantage even if you would have because sometimes it will backfire, and if that time is in the middle of an important match, you will beat yourself down from it too much. Be ruthless and keep striking!
17. Don’t Panic If You Get Behind
Naturally, in all sports, you will win, and you will lose. However, if you get behind a couple of points, there is no need to get anxious and panic because you will only mess up if you do that.
Try to calm yourself by taking a deep breath because you can definitely come back even from a big setback. What I always like to do is think about the world situation all over the place so my match wouldn’t feel as important and I can get back into the game focused.
Although thinking that can set off different thoughts, so don’t stray too far away with your thoughts.
18. Hydrate and Nourish Yourself
Hydration is essential before, during, and after your tennis session. Did you know that dehydration can cause increased fatigue, poor skin health, and even more frequent illness? A good do tell whether you are drinking too little water is bad breath and unusually dark and yellow urine.
So remember to drink at least 3 liters of water per day, and if you are an athlete that includes rough training sessions in your days, you should aim to drink +5 liters of water daily. This is a great amount of liquid, so it can seem hard, but hydration is essential if you want to function well on a basic level without talking about hard training sessions of tennis.
When it comes to the eating side of things, I have noticed that if you work out frequently, drink enough water, and get enough sleep, you can really eat as you see fit by listening to your body. Given that most of them are clean foods like pasta, rice, potatoes, vegetables, lean meats, plant-based proteins, and you name it.
This means that you can eat fast foods, ice cream, donuts, and whatever you desire from time to time without the need of feeling guilty about it. Just be sure to eat enough food with high nutritional value, that you don’t feel tired and weak all the time.
19. Use Both Hands (Two-Forehands)
This is an interesting way to improve your game. However, don’t necessarily expect it to improve yours, and if you could use both hands, it will likely take years of training unless you are a special person with similar skills in your other hand as in your dominant hand.
As I went through in my other article about changing hands in tennis, a man named Marty Devlin used both hands to win USTA National Championship.
The way using both hands works is that your forehand strike is normal as always, but when you should strike a backhand, you change your racket hand to use it as your dominant hand, making it a forehand as well. So if you can use both hands well, you will have two forehands and zero backhands.
However, this is extremely difficult to master. If you are already an advanced player, training with your other hand will only take time off from your dominant hand that you grew comfortable playing with.
On the other hand, if you are a recreational player and want to try this off, you might find a great advantage on the field from using two hands in tennis.
20. Wear Something You Feel Confident In
In my early life, I quickly noticed that if I wear something that I like, I feel more confident, which automatically leads to better performance in sports, social life, and relationships.
You can train in whatever you like, but some tournaments have dress codes that have only certain pieces of clothing you can use. Usually, these include shorts, t-shirts, tops, and skirts. On the other hand, those are the garments used in tennis most of the time anyway.
And don’t feel any pressure if you can only wear shorts even if you wouldn’t like them because there are +1001 different kinds of shorts out there. Long or short-legged, tight or loose-fitting, and simple or ravishing colored so you will find clothing that you will feel confident and play well in. You simply need to try and look for different ones.
Learn more: Why Do Female Tennis Players Wear Skirts?
21. Invest In Proper Equipment
Last but certainly not least, the importance of proper racket, shoes and well-fitting clothes is something you wouldn’t believe if you haven’t tried the difference between bad ones and quality ones.
This doesn’t mean that you need to spend thousands of dollars on equipment. You need to find equipment that is best suited for your skill level and play type to maximize the benefits you can get from equipment.
However, there is a fine line between affordable quality equipment and just trash equipment fit for nothing. I wouldn’t recommend buying the cheapest options because, as in all things, money buys better design, more careful product testing, quality materials, trustable brands, and simply better stuff. If the price is too low to believe, it’s usually as low quality you can imagine.
Below you can find my favorite tennis equipment that I have learned to love and trust!
My Favorite Tennis Equipment
Thanks for reading this article. I hope it brought you great value that you can implement into your own life! Below you’ll find my top tennis equipment recommendations would like.
- Racket: My preferred tennis racket is the Wilson Ultra 100 V3. This racket is made from graphite and carbon fiber, making it durable, firm, and easy to swing. The racket weighs 300g, making it lightweight yet not too lightweight to generate power. The racket’s main benefit is power. I like to add multifilament strings to the racket, such as Wilson NXT Soft 16 (recommended tension 52lb/23.5kg), because they are comfortable and soft on the arm with a great feel to the game.
- Tennis balls: Best tennis balls are always pressurized, and I like them having extra-duty felt, which is fit for hard court play. I like Penn Championship Tennis Balls, and so does the ITF because these balls are approved for competitive play. So yes, these are the real deal.
- Tennis shoes: I can’t stress enough the importance of comfortable and supporting shoes. ASICS Gel-Resolution 8 tennis shoes are unique because the balance between durability and support mixed with comfort is something out of the ordinary.
- Fan Equipment: If you’re a fan more than a player, you don’t want to miss Fan Equipment by Fanatics. You can find items from various sports that bear your favorite team’s logo, such as jerseys, gift ideas, or other surprising things.