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Historical evidence indicates that a game similar to tennis was played in the ancient civilizations of the Orient, Rome, Greece, Egypt, and Persia hundreds of years before Christianity. Modern day tennis is developed in England and France, where it was popular in the 16 and 17 centuries. Wars and resulting economic and social conditions virtually eradicated the sport in Europe after that. Mary Outerbridge is credited with bringing tennis to America in the mid 1870’s by introducing it to the Staten Island Cricket and Baseball Club.
Tennis began as a lawn sport. Later clay, asphalt, and concrete became more standard surfaces because they could be maintained economically despite heavy public use. Tennis enjoyed it’s greatest surge of interest among the American public during the 1970’s, after television began routinely airing tournaments. Tennis appeals to many because it can be played year round, is relatively low in cost, needs to only two or four players, and is suitable for both sexes and all age groups


1. Serving begins from behind the right side of the baseline.
2. The serve for the second point is made from behind the left side of the baseline. The server continues alternating sides for each point until the game ends.
3. A serve is a fault if the server steps on or beyond the baseline before the ball is hit or if the ball does not make it over the net and into the diagonal service court.
4. A let is a serve that hits the top of the net and continues into the proper service court and is repeated.
5. Either the receiving or the serving team can score points.
6. The server gets two attempts to serve the ball into the proper service court.
7. The players alternate serving complete games. When playing doubles, the serve alternates from team to team. One player on a team serves a game then one player from the other team serves a game.
8. Players change sides of the court at the end of each odd numbered game.

Court and Equipment

  • Courts surfaces may be Clay, Grass, Asphalt, or Concrete. 


Ready Position

  • Feet shoulder width apart.
  • Knees and hips flexed, ready for    movement.
  • Balanced with weight distributed over a full foot (toe wiggle).
  • Hands in front with elbows flexed and fixed.
  • Eyes at conversational level facing the net
  • Racket in front of the body
Forehand and Backhand
  • Ready position.
  • Draw the racket back behind shoulder early.
  • Turn side to net and plant weight over back foot.
  • Contact ball with fully extended arm just in front of the forward foot while transferring weight forward.
  • Move forward into the stroke, following through with racket to desired target.
Serve (punch and full swing)
  • Use forehand grip, stand with non-racket side of body to net, both feet behind service line.
  • Holding ball with non-racket hand, toss the ball high enough so that the arm will be fully extended upon contact.
  • Shift weight to back foot as the ball is tossed.
  • Contact the ball with a fully extended arm above the head and snap the forearm down and forward.
  • Follow through toward desired target, swinging out, across and down.
Volley (forehand and backhand)
  • Ready position.
  • Pivot so side is toward the net.
  • Firm grip, hold racket head at 45 degree angle.
  • Short back-swing.
  • Follow through forward and down.
Drop (forehand and backhand)
  • Disguise the shot.
  • Open the racket face.
  • High-to-low swing.
  • Abbreviate swing after contact.
  • Recover for next shot.
Lob (forehand and backhand)
  • Slow and short back-swing.
  • Contact ball and loft ball into a high arc.
  • Use less force than drive.
  • Lift racket on follow through.
  • Direct the ball over opponent’s head and into back-court.
Overhand Smash
  • Ready position.
  • Flex knees and take racket behind head.
  • Point the non-racket hand at ball as it descends.
  • Reach for ball fully extending arm while shifting weight forward.
  • Contact the ball just ahead of the forward foot and swing racket forcefully downward, stepping  forward on follow through.


Regular Scoring
  • The server’s score is given first.
  • Scoring is as follows:
  • love (0),
  • 15 (1st point),
  • 30 (2nd point),
  • 40 (3rd point), and
  • game (4th point, if game is not tied at 40).
  • If the score is tied at 40-40, the score is deuce and the game continues until one player gets ahead by two points.
  •  After the score is deuce, the player who wins the next point has the “advantage”. The score is “ad in” if the server is winning, and “ad out” if the receiver is winning.
No-ad scoring
  • This scoring option is easier than regular scoring.
  • Rather than calling the points love, 15, 30, 40, game, the points are called 0, 1, 2, 3, 4.
  • The first player to win 4 points wins the game.
  • When the score is tied at 3-3, the player who wins the next point wins the game.
  • At 3-3, the receiver chooses the side from which he/she will return the serve.
A player loses a point if the following occurs:
  • The ball is hit into the net.
  • The ball bounces twice before being returned.
  • A player reaches over the net to return the ball.
  • A player’s body touches the net during play.
  • The server serves two faults in a row.
  • A ball is returned outside of the boundary lines (lines are good).

Journal Questions

1. Equipment use and safety are important to a successful tennis unit.  What are 3 things you would discuss with your class about equipment and safety?
2. Write an historical overview of the origin of tennis and the surfaces it is played on.
3. What are three instances in which a player loses a point?
4. Describe the difference between regular scoring and no-ad scoring?
5. Describe the techniques of performing the forehand and backhand stroke?
6. Compare and contrast the forehand and backhand stroke of tennis.
7. Why is it important to return to the ready position after each play?
8. Describe how to perform the punch serve.
9. Draw a tennis court and label the lines.
10.   Your partner is having difficulty hitting the ball and making the serve all the way to the service box.  What modifications could you suggest that might help them?
11.Describe how to perform a volley and when to use it.
12.Describe how to perform a drop shot and when to use it.
13.Describe how to perform a lob and when to use it.
14.Describe how to perform a smash and when to use it.
15.Tennis is considered a lifelong sport which appeals to many people?  Why do you agree or disagree?
16.Students learn different tennis shots during class. Explain why it is important to learn a variety of shots.
17.Describe three strategies you have found advantageous in playing tennis and discuss why they are helpful.
18.How has your participation in the tennis unit improved you skill level and knowledge of the game of tennis?
19.What benefits have you received from the tennis unit?
20.Which tennis objective is most important to you and why?