Wednesday, 30 November 2016

The History of Tennis

Tennis has been around for a much longer time than most people think. Many indicators show that prior to the development of tennis as a sport in England, it has already been played thousands of back—during the time of the ancient Greeks, Romans, and Egyptians. Many crucial moments in the history of tennis have helped make the game what it is today. The rich history of tennis has also spurred the development of high-tech tennis equipment to make the game better and enable players to play safely.

‘Jeu de paume’ is the earliest recognizable variant of tennis and it was played in France in the eleventh century on a monastery courtyard. Sloping roofs and walls were used as courts, and the palm of the hand was used to hit the ball. By the late nineteenth century in England, lawn tennis became more popular than croquet. As a result, the All England Croquet Club started converting some croquet lawns into tennis courts. The popularity of tennis with amateur and recreational players certainly helped in its evolution. Courtyard playing venues were transformed into indoor courts, and the wooden balls became bouncier because of the use of different materials like leather and cellulose. In 1874, the rules and equipment were patented by Major Walter Wingfield for a game known as ‘sphairistike’. All these were later modified by the All England Club Croquet for its first tennis Wimbledon tournament in 1877.

By 1913, lawn tennis has already become popular around the world, with different national-level tennis associations working together to ensure a uniformly structured game. Twelve nations attended an international conference in Paris, and this gave birth to the International Lawn Tennis Federation. Tennis has always been part of the Olympics, but it was withdrawn in 1924 and returned only in 1988.

Tennis Serve Rules

Learning how to serve properly is crucial to becoming a better tennis player. In fact, many experts say that the serve is the most important shot in the game. In this blog, we discuss the most basic tennis serve rules for beginners.

  • Where you should stand – The server begins every game by serving behind the right-hand court’s baseline. If you are the server, you need to make sure that the ball lands on the diagonally opposite service box. You need to stand between the center mark and the imaginary continuation of the sideline. Servers swap sides after every point.

  • Faults – The server has two chances to make the ball go in. If it lands outside the service box or it is unable to clear the net post or net, it’s considered a fault. If the ball touches the line, the ball gets in. After a fault, you can try to serve again, but if it results in another fault, it becomes a double fault and your opponent gets the point.

  • Foot fault – Servers must stand behind a baseline, between the sideline and center mark. If your feet touch the ground within the baseline, the wrong side of the imaginary sideline extension, or the wrong side of the center mark before striking the ball, then a ‘foot fault’ occurs and the point goes to your opponent.

  • Let – A let occurs when the ball clips the net and bounces inside a service box. If it happens, you can serve again. If the ball hits the net and lands outside the service box, then it is a fault.
  • Toss – You need to toss the ball in the air with your arm, not the racket. Moreover, you must hit the ball before it makes contact with the ground. You cannot walk or run when hitting your serve, but you can move with your feet, just not in front of the baseline.

Improving Your Game: The Fundamentals of Tennis

Do you want to improve your tennis game? Then you need to master the basics in order to build a solid foundation. Learning the fundamentals of tennis starts with understanding the game’s rules, regulations, as well as game play. Once you know all these, it’s time to tackle the physical fundamentals: strokes, footwork, physical conditioning and fitness, and equipment.

Strokes pertain to techniques you can use when striking the ball: the forehand groundstroke, backhand groundstroke, volleys, serves, and spins. Footwork covers proper (and safe) movement on court, as well as the ability to maintain proper balance at all times. Physical conditioning and fitness means developing strength, speed, flexibility, stamina, and agility. It also means improving your coordination and reaction time through regular practice. Working with a tennis coach is a good idea if you are serious about improving your performance in these areas. A coach can also recommend the right equipment (racket, strings, and tennis shoes) depending on your play style. 

The fundamentals of tennis go beyond the elements we have so far mentioned. You also need to learn psychological and mental fundamentals. These involve tactics and strategy—both of which pertain to your approach to playing the match while taking into account your weaknesses and strengths. With regular training, you will eventually develop the ability to make swift decisions.

‘Mental toughness’ also falls under the psychological and mental fundamentals of tennis. You need to train yourself to focus only on the things that are important in the moment—and in the case of tennis, this means the ball. Mental toughness likewise teaches you to be calm and determined in the dace of pressure. The best players in the world are experts at managing their nervousness. This focus and calmness helps them play extraordinarily well.

Difference Between Grass, Clay, and Synthetic Tennis Court

Did you know that the court surface used on the tennis court can significantly affect the way you play? There is a reason why Pete Sampras—who has won 14 major Grand Slams—has never won a grand slam on a clay court. In this blog, we discuss the remarkable differences between grass, clay, and synthetic tennis courts.

  • Grass court – Wimbledon has popularized grass courts, and the surface is considered the fastest because it is slippery. Grass makes the ball bounce lower because of the soft soil. Likewise, a grass court may cause the ball to bounce unpredictably because of the slightly uneven and softer grass surface. Because of the characteristics of this type of court, the ball tends to move faster with lower bounce, making it ideal for net players and those who have a good serve.

  • Clay court – The deep red hue is typically associated with French Open Championships. Clay courts are considered the slowest surface as it reduces the ball’s speed, minimizes the ball’s skid on the surface, and makes the ball bounce high. Hence, a clay courts reduces the speed of the ball that is hit by a hard-hitter as it slows the speed, so the opponent can return the shot easily. A clay court is typically ideal for baseline players and those who create a heavy spin.
  • Synthetic court – Hard courts are made of concrete or asphalt, and they are easier to maintain. They allow the ball to travel at a speed that is slower than it would on a grass court, yet faster than it would on a clay court. Moreover, hard courts allow the ball to bounce high and more predictably. The International Tennis Federation considers the hard court a good surface for all kinds of tennis players, the U.S Open is played on hard courts.

Best Tennis Racket Brands

There are more than 15 different tennis racket brands? You certainly have a wide variety of options when buying a new racket. You are probably very familiar with names like Prince, Dunlop, Wilson, and Head, but some brands may sound unfamiliar to you. Don’t overlook these unfamiliar names because they may have the best type of tennis racket for your skill level and play style. Here are some of the best tennis racket brands you should consider:

  • Babolat – The company is known for inventing tennis strings, and they produce many different types of rackets for different sports (including badminton and paddle). Well-known tennis players like Andy Roddick and Rafael Nadal have helped make Babolat popular with both recreational and highly competitive players. Babolat’s rackets come with unique features like Cortex Active technology, graphite tungsten technology, Aero Beam, Woofer, and Aero Modular.

  • Wilson – This American company started out in the meatpacking industry. They used animal byproducts to create natural gut tennis strings. Wilson’s popularity surged partly because of the endorsement of players like the Williams sisters and Roger Federer. Technologies like Triad with Iso Zorb, Yoke, Amplifeel, and spin effect technology are all produced by Wilson. To see their bestsellers, look at their Pro Staff line.

  • Prince – Since 1970, Prince has been revolutionizing tennis with its tennis ball machine. But it was only in 1995 that it became well-known for producing a signature tennis racket--the Longbody Michael Change—which became the best in the world.

  • Head – This brand has been around since the 1950s and is credited with producing the first oversized metal tennis rackets. Steffi Graf and Andre Agassi contributed to the popularity of Head in the 1990s.

  • Yonex – This company started out with badminton rackets in 1957. In 1982, they started producing aluminum tennis rackets.

  • Volkl – Originally a ski manufacturer, Volkl has expanded its product offerings to include tennis gear and rackets with signature technologies like Bio Sensor and Organix high tech carbon material, which dampens vibration.