What New Players Should Know


Improving Your Game:

Above all, learn the basic rules and do your very best to follow them.  Watch for foot faults (yours and your friends).  Make sure your serves are legal. Know when a ball is really in or out.  Many new players don’t work at these rules and if you don’t, you are missing a very important part of the game.  Further, when you play with more advanced players you are very likely to be called for violations.

Other Great Tips for New Players:

  • Listen and accept suggestions that you’ve violated a rule.  It’s to your benefit.
  • Always get to the non-volley line when you can.  It’s the strongest position.
  • Face the player who will hit the ball, not the non-volley line.  You will be in a better position to hit the ball.
  • Keep you paddle high, near your waist/chest.  It’s easier to react to hard shots at you.
  • Keep the ball in play. 75% of all rallies are won or lost because of unforced errors, many of them at the baseline.  Don’t try to hit the ball right at the sidelines; the odds are too much against you. Let your opponent make the mistakes.
  • Return serves soft and deep, that gives you time to get to the non-volley line.
  • Don’t try to make hard serves or serves near the side lines
  • Return your baseline shots with your forehand and to the center line as often as you can.
  • Use your forehand as much as you can, few people have as good a backhand as their forehand.
  • Don’t short hop the ball at the baseline.  Stand back a little to get a higher bounce.
  • Keep both feet behind the baseline when serving or receiving a serve; remember that both the serve and the serve return must bounce before you can hit the ball.
  • Don’t try to power the ball, location is much more important.
  • Don’t try to make a lot of “sideline” shots they are a low percentage shot.  Just try to hit to open areas.
  • Always make note if an opponent is right or left handed.  Avoid hitting to their strong side.
  • Try to stay in the middle of your side of the court.  Don’t take your partner’s shots away.

Evaluating Your Game:

  • Learn to “Dink” the ball proficiently, be patient.  Don’t try to make a “kill” shot unless it’s really there to make.
  • Know when to hit the ball hard or softly.  It’s not about power.
  • ]Watch your opponent’s paddle hit the ball, it tells you a lot about where the return will be going and how hard it will be hit.
  • Hit the ball to opponent’s feet or backhand, especially if it’s weak.
  • Develop a drop shot (just over the net) from the baseline.  This is an important shot when your   opponent(s) are at the non-volley line.  Never use it when your opponents are back near the baseline.
  • Work on a cross-court dink.
  • “Ratchet” overhead smashes (straight arm).  It works better than snapping your wrist.
  • Have friends make some shots to you that you don’t like and work at returning them.  Maybe your opponent doesn’t like them either.  Try them on him or her.
  • Look for patterns in your opponent’s play.  Sometimes you can see things during pre-game warm-ups.
  • When you see that your opponent is about to hit the ball try to stop moving, especially forward or backward.  It’s much easier to hit the ball and control it if you are stationary.