3 Tennis Skills All Beginners Need to Master

If you’re new to tennis, you may be wondering what skills you need to master to become a good player. While there are many different skills involved in playing tennis, there are three that are particularly important for beginners to focus on. These skills will help you build a strong foundation for your game and improve your overall performance on the court.

The first skill that all beginners need to master is hand-eye coordination. This is the ability to track the ball with your eyes and then coordinate your movements to hit it with your racquet. Without good hand-eye coordination, you’ll struggle to make consistent contact with the ball, which will limit your ability to play effectively. Fortunately, you can improve your hand-eye coordination through a variety of drills and exercises, such as hitting against a wall or practicing with a partner.

The second skill that all beginners need to master is footwork. Good footwork is essential for getting into position to hit the ball and for moving quickly around the court. Without good footwork, you’ll struggle to cover the court effectively and may find yourself constantly out of position. To improve your footwork, focus on practicing your movement patterns and footwork drills, such as ladder drills or cone drills. By improving your footwork, you’ll be able to move more efficiently and effectively on the court, which will help you become a better player.

Why These Skills Matter

As a beginner in tennis, mastering the core skills is essential to your progress and enjoyment on the court. These skills form the foundation of tennis and are necessary to develop advanced shots. In this section, we will discuss the three tennis skills all beginners need to master: footwork, serving, and forehand.


Footwork is one of the most important skills in tennis. It is essential to move quickly and efficiently around the court, which helps you get into position to hit the ball. Good footwork also helps you maintain balance and control, which is important for hitting accurate shots.


Serving is another essential skill in tennis. A good serve can help you win points and games, while a bad serve can put you at a disadvantage. To master the serve, you need to practice the toss, the grip, and the motion. With time and practice, you will be able to hit a powerful and accurate serve.


The forehand is one of the most common shots in tennis. It is important to master this shot because it is the one you will use most often during a game. To hit a good forehand, you need to have good footwork, a proper grip, and a smooth swing. With practice, you will be able to hit the ball with power and accuracy.

By mastering these core skills, you will be able to progress faster in tennis and enjoy the game more. You will also have the potential to develop advanced shots, such as the backhand, volley, and overhead. Remember that it takes time and practice to get good at tennis, but with dedication and hard work, you can become a skilled player.

Skill #1: The Forehand

The forehand is the most important shot in tennis, and it’s essential that beginners master this skill to progress to higher levels. Here are some tips to help you develop a solid forehand:

The Grip

The Eastern forehand grip is the ideal starting point for beginners. This grip involves placing your index finger on the third bevel of the racket handle, with your other fingers wrapped around the handle. This grip allows for greater control and is the best way to develop a solid foundation.

While there are other grip options such as semi-western and western, it’s best to stick to the Eastern grip until you have mastered the basics. Once you have built a solid foundation, you can experiment with other grips to find what works best for you.

The Swing

The forehand swing has several key components that you need to master to hit the ball effectively. Here are the basic steps:

Unit Turn

The first step is to rotate your shoulders to take the racket back. This is known as the unit turn and is essential for generating power.


For beginners, it’s best to use a simple, closed stance for reliable contact. This means that your feet are parallel to the baseline, and your weight is evenly distributed between your feet.

Swing Path

The swing path is slightly low to high for a bit of topspin, which adds control to your shots. This means that you should hit the ball with a slight upward motion to create topspin.


The follow-through is the final step in the forehand swing. Your racket should finish across your body towards the opposite shoulder.


There are several common errors that beginners make when learning the forehand. Here are some easy fixes and practice drills:

Hitting Late

If you are hitting the ball late, try starting your swing earlier. This will give you more time to make contact with the ball.

Open Stance

If you are using an open stance, try switching to a closed stance. This will help you make more solid contact with the ball.

Extreme Grips

If you are using an extreme grip, try switching to a more neutral grip. This will help you generate more power and control.

By following these tips, you can master the forehand and take your tennis skills to the next level. Keep practicing and experimenting to find what works best for you.

Skill #2: The Backhand

The backhand is one of the most important skills of tennis and can make or break a player’s game. It is often considered the most difficult of the basic strokes to master, but with practice and proper technique, it can become a powerful weapon in your arsenal.

Choosing Your Grip

Choosing the right grip for your backhand is crucial. For a one-handed backhand, the Eastern or semi-western grip is recommended, while for a two-handed backhand, the Continental grip is ideal. Each grip has its pros and cons, and it’s important to understand them to make an informed decision.

One-Handed Backhand Swing

The one-handed backhand swing is similar to the unit turn used for the forehand. The emphasis is on shoulder rotation, and the swing path should be straight or with a slight low-to-high finish.

Two-Handed Backhand Swing

The two-handed backhand swing is all about generating power from core rotation. The dominant hand leads the swing, while the non-dominant hand provides stability.


Common errors for both types of backhand strokes include slicing, not generating enough power, and poor timing. It’s important to address these issues early on to prevent them from becoming bad habits.

By practicing and mastering the backhand, you’ll be able to take your game to the next level and become a more well-rounded player. Remember to choose the right grip, focus on proper technique, and troubleshoot any issues that arise along the way.

Skill #3: The Serve

If you want to be a good tennis player, you need to master the serve. A good serve can win you points and set the tone for the rest of the match. Here are some tips to help you master the serve:

The Stance

The first step in mastering the serve is to get your stance right. As a beginner, you should use the platform stance. This is where you stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your body facing the net. This stance is great for beginners because it provides a stable base for your serve. Make sure you are consistent with your ball toss to allow for a proper hit.

The Toss

The toss is an important part of the serve. You need to toss the ball in the right place to get a good hit. The ball should be tossed slightly in front of you and above your shoulder height. Consistency is key, so start with a simple toss and work on improving it over time.

The Motion

The motion of the serve is what generates power and control. To get a good serve, you need to start with the trophy pose. This is where you hold your racket up high behind your back. Then, bend your knees and make an explosive upward movement to hit the ball. Pronation of the wrist is important for generating power and control.


If you are having trouble with your serve, don’t worry! There are some common faults that can be easily fixed with practice. Weak tosses, inconsistent contact, and lack of power are all common problems. To fix these issues, focus on improving your ball toss and getting the right motion.

Beyond the Basics

Congratulations on mastering the basic tennis skills! Now it’s time to take your tennis journey to the next level. Here are three advanced skills that will help you progress your game:

1. Volleys and Overheads

While the forehand and backhand are essential shots, mastering volleys and overheads are equally important for advanced players. Volleys require quick reflexes and precise hand-eye coordination, while overheads require explosive power and timing. Make sure to practice these shots regularly to improve your game.

2. Returns

A great return can put pressure on your opponent right from the start of the point. It’s important to work on your return skills to make sure you can handle any serve that comes your way. Practice hitting returns with different spins and speeds to improve your ability to read and react to the ball.

3. Footwork

Footwork is the foundation for all tennis strokes. The split step, in particular, is a crucial movement that allows you to quickly and efficiently move around the court. Make sure to practice your footwork regularly to ensure you’re always in the right position to hit your shots.

Remember, hard work is the key to improving your tennis skills. Don’t be afraid to seek lessons from a qualified coach who can help you refine your techniques and develop a solid game plan. Keep practicing and pushing yourself to the next level, and you’ll be on your way to becoming a great tennis player!

Additional Value-Adds

In addition to mastering the three fundamental tennis skills we have discussed, there are a few additional value-adds that can help you improve your game even further. These include:

Tennis Lessons

Taking tennis lessons from a certified instructor is a great way to improve your skills quickly and efficiently. Instructors can provide personalized feedback and help you correct any bad habits you may have picked up. Private lessons are particularly effective, as they allow you to focus on your individual needs and goals.

Beginner Tennis Drills

Drills are an essential part of any tennis practice session, as they help you hone your skills and improve your technique. There are many drills designed specifically for beginners, such as footwork drills and serve drills. Incorporating these drills into your practice routine can help you progress more quickly.

Tennis Clubs

Joining a tennis club is a great way to meet other players and get more practice time. Many clubs offer beginner tennis lessons and clinics, as well as opportunities to play in organized leagues and tournaments. Being part of a club can also help you stay motivated and committed to improving your game.

Links to Further Resources on Tennis Fundamentals

There are many online resources available that can help you learn more about the basics of tennis. Websites such as Tennis.com and TennisDrillsHQ.com offer articles, videos, and other resources on topics such as grip, footwork, and shot selection. Watching videos or reading articles on these topics can give you a better understanding of the fundamentals and help you improve your game.

Images or Short Videos Demonstrating Correct Form

Visual aids can be incredibly helpful when learning new skills, and tennis is no exception. Watching videos or looking at images of correct form can help you understand what you need to do to hit the ball more effectively. Many online resources offer videos and images demonstrating proper technique for different shots and skills.

Specific Drills for Each Skill

As we mentioned earlier, drills are an essential part of any tennis practice session. There are many drills designed specifically for each of the three fundamental skills we discussed. For example, there are drills that focus on improving your forehand, backhand, and serve. Incorporating these drills into your practice routine can help you improve your skills more quickly and efficiently.

By incorporating these additional value-adds into your tennis practice routine, you can improve your skills more quickly and efficiently. Whether you take lessons, join a club, or simply watch videos online, there are many resources available to help you become a better tennis player.


Remember, while mastering these skills is important, tennis is ultimately a game! Don’t get too caught up in the technicalities that you forget to have fun. The joy of hitting a great shot, the camaraderie with fellow players, and the simple satisfaction of improvement are what will keep you coming back for more.


FAQ #1

Question: What’s the best grip for beginners learning the forehand?

Answer: The Eastern forehand grip is considered the most beginner-friendly. It offers a good balance of power and control, making it easier to consistently find the sweet spot of your racket.

FAQ #2

Question: My backhand always feels weak. How can I get more power on my backhand shots?

Answer: There are a few things to check:

  • Grip: Make sure you’re using an Eastern or semi-western grip for your one-handed backhand, or a continental grip for a two-handed backhand.
  • Footwork: Ensure you’re stepping into your shot and rotating your body for added power.
  • Core Strength: A strong core is essential for generating power on the backhand. Consider adding core-specific exercises to your training

FAQ #3

Question: What’s the most important part of a beginner’s tennis serve?

Answer: While all aspects of the serve are important, consistency in your ball toss is crucial for beginners. A reliable toss lets you focus on your form and timing, leading to more powerful and accurate serves.

FAQ #4

Question: Is it okay to take tennis lessons as a beginner, or should I wait until I get better?

Answer: Tennis lessons are incredibly valuable for beginners! A qualified coach can spot bad habits early on, preventing you from ingraining them and hindering your progress. They’ll also help you develop proper technique from the start, setting you up for faster improvement.

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