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TENNIS Origin and Development The game of tennis is most widely held to be derived from handball. Handball originated in Ireland in the tenth century; although some believe tennis dates back 20 or 30 centuries to when royal families were great sports devotees. Handball moved from Ireland to England and Scotland, but did not take hold in either of these countries. The French adopted the game of handball but soon discovered, as did the others, that it was very hard on the hands, so they began to devise methods of protecting the hands by wrapping them with cords, wearing gloves, and eventually using a paddle. In 1873, Major Walter Clopton Winfield, a student of court tennis, introduced tennis. We know it today as lawn tennis. The game was first intended to be played on the lawn, but eventually the use of hard surfaces grew in popularity. As we know tennis today, it is most often played on clay, asphalt or cement. However, the annual United States Lawn Tennis Association singles championship matches are played on grass at the West Side Tennis Club located at Forest Hills, Long Island, New York. The terms “grass”, “hard” “clay” and “indoor” are used to designate all tournaments sanctioned by the USLTA. The International Lawn Tennis Federation (ILTF) controls the game internationally. The association determines and enforces the rules in order that the game be played uniformly in different countries. The popularity of the game spread rapidly. A British officer who had observed the game introduced it in Bermuda. Miss Mary Outergridge, who was vacationing in Bermuda from her home on Staten Island. New York, was attracted to the game. She bought some equipment and leaned the rules of the game, and is credited with first introducing to it to the United States in 1874. The game spread quickly in the United States and by 1879 had crossed the continent to California. In 1881, E.H. Outergridge, the older brother of Mary Outerbridge, called a meeting of the tennis leaders of that day, who organized themselves into the United States Lawn Association, which is still the governing body of amateur tennis today. The first National Lawn Tennis Tournament Championship was played in 1881. Other well-known tournaments are the Wimbledon Tournament in England; the Davis Cup Championship, which is sought by men’s teams from various countries of the world; and the Wightman Cup Competition which is composed of women’s teams representing the United Slates and England. International tennis team competition for women players representing as many as 16 nations and inaugurated by the ILTF in 1963— each team consisting of three players. Two singles and one doubles match are played, with the winners determined on a two-out-of-three basis. Nature of the Game Tennis is a game that has always appealed to both sexes, young and old. It is considered by many to be one of the best forms of co-recreational sports. The pace of the game can be set to the individual player’s ability, or may be played merely as a mild form of exercise, or so strenuously that it taxes one’s endurance and strength. Speed, agility, coordination, and endurance can be developed, and are needed to play a good game of tennis. Tennis can be played both indoors and outdoors, but we find it most often played in the open air. We usually associate tennis with sunny, dry weather, because the strings of the rackets, which generally are gut or nylon, cannot withstand dampness. The courts have varying surfaces, such as lawn, clay, composition, cement, or dirt. There are two separate games of tennis. One is the singles game, which has two participants, one individual opposing the other, and the doubles game, which has four participants, two individual teaming up to compete against another team of two. The doubles court is nine feet wider than the singles court, having a four and one-half foot alley on each side of the singles court. TERMS Ace-to score a service ace (a shot which the receiver cannot return). Ad- a common contraction of “advantage”. Approach shot-A shot used to return a short ball deep to the opponent’s weakness after which a player moves to the forward volley position. Backspin-rotation on the ball in a direction back toward the hitter Baseline-the end boundaries of the court. Bye-A term used to demote the face that a player does not have to play a match in the first round of a tournament and advances automatically to the second round. Choke-To hold the racket at a point nearer its striking surface, shortening the grip. Continental Grip-A forehand grip with the V formed by the thumb joining the hand 45 degrees to the left position of the Eastern Grip Deuce-In general, an even score after it is 30-30 (i.e. 40-40) Eastern Grip-A forehand grip with the V formed by the thumb joining the hand over the plane of the handle, which is a continuation of the frame (sometimes called the “shake- hand” grip Fault-In general, usually a service failure. Foot-fault-A violation regarding the delivery of service rule Ground Stroke-A stroke used to return the ball after it has bounced Handicap-An attempt to equalize competition between opponent’s unequal in ability. ILTF-International Lawn Tennis Federation Let-A served ball which strikes the top of the net and falls into the proper service court. (The point is replayed.) Also any point which is replay able due to distraction of player, interference of play, etc… Lob-To stroke a ball in a high arc, usually deep in the opponents court when they are up to the net. Love-no score (i.e. 0-30, 0-40, 15-0, the zero being called love) Match-in general two out of three sets Rally-is a prolonged exchange of strokes Seeding-The placing of tournament players in certain positions so that they do not meet until late round matches Service line-the back line of the service court Set-the first player to win six games wins a set, provided he is at least two games ahead of her opponent-(6-3, 6-4, 7-5, 8-6, etc…) Slice-A chopping motion when hitting the ball which causes it to bounce backwards toward the person hitting it (backspin, opposite topspin) Smash-a stroke used to return a lob or overhead shot similar to that used for service Stroke-the act of striking the ball with the racquet Topspin-when the ball spins forward in the direction of its flight (a rolling motion) USLTA-United States Lawn Tennis Association VASSS-Van Alen Simplified Scoring System Volley-A stroke used to return a ball before it has bounced. It is usually made when a player is playing the net position in the forecourt Rules The basic rules are the same for men’s and women’s tennis Game Play Server and receiver; the players shall stand on opposite side of the net; the player who first delivers the ball shall be called the server and the other the receiver. Service The server is not permitted to touch the court over the baseline until after the racket has made contact with the ball. 1. The service shall be delivered in the following manner. Immediately before commencing to serve, the server shall stand with both feet behind the base line and within the imaginary continuations of the center-mark and sideline. The server shall then toss the ball by hand into the air and before it his the ground, strike it with his racket. a. The server is not permitted to touch the court inside the baseline until after the racket has made contact with the ball b. The server has two chances to put the ball into play. c. The ball that does not land in the proper service court is called a “fault” and is not played. d. A served ball that touches the net during the flight and lands in the proper service court is called a “let”; it is not counted as a fault or is it played, but is served again. 2. From alternate courts: In delivering the service, the server shall stand alternately behind the right and left courts, beginning from the right in every game. The ball served shall pass over the net and hit the ground within the service-court, which is diagonally opposite. When the score is even (30-30) the serve is from the right hand court. Odd scores (15-30) are served from the left court. 3. Fault: The service is a fault if the server commits any breach of rules 2 or 3, of if the ball served touches a permanent fixture (other than the net) before it hits the ground. However if he/she tosses the ball without making an effort to hit it, there is no fault. During play 1. The receiver should return the serve on its first bounce to the server’s court. 2. The rally continues until one of the players fails to return the ball, either on the fly or after the first bounce within the boundaries of his/her court. 3. When the point has been completed, the server stands just behind his baseline and to the left of the center service line and serves to his opponent’s left service court, continuing to alternate left and right after each point until the game is completed. 4. Upon completion of the game, the server becomes the receiver. 5. In doubles, each player serves a game in his turn, first a member of one team, then a member of the other team, and so on. The same order of serving is kept throughout the set. 6. Ball hitting the line: a ball hitting the line is regarded as good, play the ball. 7. Good return: It is a good return: a. If the ball touches the net, posts, cord or metal cables, strap or band, provided that it passes over any of them and hits the ground within the court. b. A players racket passes over the net after he has returned the ball, provided the ball passes the net before being played and is properly returned and the racket does not hit the net on the follow through. 8. When players change sides: The players shall change sides at the end of the first, third and every subsequent alternate odd games of each set, and at the end of each set unless the total number of games in such set be even, in which case the change is not made until the end of the first game of the next set. 9. Doubles, order of service: Decided at the beginning of each set. a. The pair who serves in the first game of each set shall decide which partner shall do so and the opposing pair shall decide similarly for the second game. b. The partner of the player who served in the first game shall serve in the third; the partner of the player who served in the second game shall serve in the fourth. c. The order of serving may be changed following the completion of any set. 10. Doubles, order of receiving: Decided at the beginning of each set. a. the pair who receive the first fames shall decide which partner shall continue to receive the first service in every odd game throughout the set. b. The opposing pair shall likewise decide which partner shall receive the first service in the second game and that partner shall continue to receive the first service in every game throughout the set. c. The order of receiving may be changed following the completion of any set. 11. A complete staff of officials for an official tennis match includes a referee, umpire, a net-cord judge and least seven linemen. However, most amateur matches are played with each player calling the shots on their side of the net. Scoring 1. Points in tennis are called Love, 15, 30, 40, Deuce, advantage, and Game. 0 or nothing is called Love. First point won by a player is called 15. Second point won by a player is called 30. Third point won by a player is called 40. Fourth point won by a player gives him/her Game, provided his/her opponent does not have more then 30 (2 points). 2. If each player has won three points (40-all), the score is deuce. The next point won by a player gives him/her advantage. However, if he loses the next point, the score is again deuce. When either player wins two consecutive points following the score of deuce, the game is won by that player. The server’s score is always given first. The score should be called loudly and clearly by the server before each serve. 3. The server’s score is always given first. 4. The score should be called loudly and clearly by the server before each serve. 5. Examples: Game #1 If the server And the receiver The score is has won has won 1 pt 0 pts 15-Love 2 pts 0 pts 30-Love 2 pts 1 pt 30-15 3 pts 1 pt 40-15 3 pts 2 pts 40-30 4 pts 2 pts Game for server Game #2 If the server And the receiver The score is has won has won 1 pt 1 pt 15-All 1 pt 2 pts 15-30 2 pts 2pts 30-All 2 pts 3 pts 30-40 3 pts 3 pts Deuce (40-All) 3 pts 4 pts Receiver’s Advantage 3 pts 5 pts Receiver’s Game Tie Breaker Tie breaker comes only after a set ends in a tie at 6-6 1. The team or person that did not serve during the last game of regular play, serves the first point from the deuce (right) court. 2. The next two serves are by the other player or team from the first and the add (left) court and then the deuce (right) court. 3. Then the player or team number one serves from the add (left) court and then the deuce (right) court. 4. Then player two serves from the “add” court followed by switching sides of the net. 5. The players switch sides whenever the two scores total six or multiple of six. 6. The first to score seven and win by at least two is the winner. Other tie breakers may be used by different governing bodies such as the Iowa High School Boys Athletic Association or the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union. Skills 1. Keep your eye on the ball at all times and look into your racket until hitting the ball. Try to hit in the “sweet spot” (upper middle). 2. Strive for accurate placement rather than speed. 3. Always play the game to win, but if you go down in defeat, give your opponent due credit. 4. Play to your opponent’s weakness. 5. Always give your opponent credit for a well-placed shot. 6. When calling the score, always call the server’s score first. 7. Keep your weight on the balls of both feet so you can move in any direction with ease and speed. 8. Acquire an understanding of the fundamentals of striking, and practice faithfully to master these. 9. Notice how your opponent strikes the ball so when he uses the chop or slice strike you can play the bounce accordingly. 10. Turn the body sideways to the net on all ground strokes. 11. When stroking the ball, avoid stiff leg action by keeping the knees slightly bent. 12. On the ground strokes, return the ball deep into the opponent’s back court near the baseline. 13. On the ground strokes, attempt to hit the ball at waist level and at the top of the bounce. 14. On the ground strokes, the point of contact of the ball and the racket is opposite the hip closer to the net. 15. Hit the ball squarely on the strings of the racket face by hitting “through” the ball instead of chopping to the net. 16. The follow-through of the racket is in the direction of the intended flight of the ball. 17. After completing each stroke, assume a “ready” position, facing the net and loosely grasping the throat of the racket with the left hand to facilitate change of grip if necessary. 18. Well-placed lobs, which are out of reach of the net rusher, will help keep them away from the net. 19. When serving, attempt to get the first serve in the proper court as often as possible. Stress control and accuracy if a second serve is necessary and concentrate on getting the ball into the proper service area. 20. The server should always have two balls in their possession before starting the service. 21. The receiver should not retrieve or return the ball of the opponent’s first serve if it is a fault. He should remain in his receiving position so that the server can immediately follow with his second attempt. Playing Courtesies To make the game more enjoyable for yourself and for others, you should follow certain court courtesies or rules of etiquette. If one of your tennis balls rolls into another court, wait until the player on the court have finished their rally before asking for your ball. When you return someone’s ball that has rolled into you court, roll the ball back to the person asking for it instead of trying to gain some hitting practice. If they are engaged in playing a point roll the ball back against the screen out of their field of play. If your opponent is interfered with in any way during play for a point, call a “let” and then play the point over. If there is doubt in calling a ball in or out of bounds, replay the point. When leaving or entering the courts, do not walk behind a player playing a point. Wait until the rally is over, then quickly cross the rear of the court close to the back screen. Recommended Strategies for Intermediate Players 1. Do not substitute accuracy for speed. It is much better to place a shot then to hit it hard into the net or out. 2. Always try to position yourself in the middle of the court just in front of the baseline. You can get to most shots from this position. 3. Try to take advantage of your opponent’s weaknesses. 4. Try to hit to your opponents backhand whenever possible. This is usually their weakest shot. 5. Try to make you opponent move on every return. It is much harder to hit a ball on the run than standing still. 6. Hit cross court (angle) shots whenever possible. 7. Use a lob shot when your opponent is playing the net. 8. Use a drop shot or short shot just over the net when you opponent is playing deep. Also use a slice or backspin shot. 9. When possible, if your opponent is in the middle of the court, hit it at their feet. To return it they will have to scoop it high and you will have an easy smash or overhead shot. 10. When your opponent is running cross court to return a shot don’t always hit the next shot behind him. Return it to the same place and you will catch them off balance for an easy shot. 11. Vary the speed of your shots. This saves you energy and throws you opponents timing off. 12. When taking an over-head shot (lob) let the ball bounce and then hit it at the top of the bounce just as though it were a throw-up for serve. You will be more accurate this way. 13. In playing doubles, always put the partner with the weakest backhand in the odd court (left as you face the net). There are fewer balls hit in this alley. 14. In playing doubles always try to move forward and backward, parallel to the net with your partner. If you switch courts during play, stay there until the point is done, or you can conveniently move back to the original court. 15. When playing doubles, always talk to your partner to decide who hits the ball or when you should change courts. 16. Always try and be in position and anticipate that the next shot will go over the net or will be good. 17. Your feet must be in good position or otherwise you will always be hitting off balance and on the defense. 18. When playing the net, in general, punch the ball by letting your racket do the work. The speed on the ball also dictates how hard you punch and where the ball will land in your opponents court. 19. In general always try to fool you opponent as to where you will hit. This can be accomplished through eye contact, body position, speed and placement, putting cut or slice on the ball, or topspin. 20. If you are not getting your first serve in because of too much speed, slow it down and make it more like your second serve. You usually can not win if you keep double faulting, or have to lob the second serve.
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