Free Tennis Lessons

Grunting is the key. Grunt often and grunt loudly. One need only observe any professional tennis match to come to this conclusion. Tennis players employ the use of grunting more often than any other athletes, drunks or animals that I have ever heard. They grunt when they serve, they grunt when they smash, they grunt when they lob, they grunt in victory or in despair. If you'll listen closely, you may even notice them grunting as they shake hands after the match.

(In the case of female players, the grunting technique can be translated into more of a high-pitched scream. Which, I believe, is often really a gasp of shock and disgust at the stark immodesty and stunning impracticality of their opponent's attire.)

Serving is another crucial part of the game of course, and is something that everyone must learn to do with proper form. Many beginners go all wrong right off when they get started and it is best to try and fix these things early on, before they start developing into bad habits. What I am referring to of course, is this disturbing trend in young people to gently lob the ball over the net (thinking only of accuracy) and actually land it in the court on their first serve. This is utterly unacceptable. For the competitiveness and respectability of this sport to last, it is absolutely essential that first serves be reserved for pummelling the ball as hard as possible straight into the net. This is not only a legal means of intimidating your opponent, but it is also an excellent way to vent your frustrations from previous errors.

Through my observations I have found that it is some sort of universally acknowledged yet unspoken rule of tennis etiquette that after making a dreadful mistake, the only proper way in which to react is to stop right where you are, grasp your racket firmly in both hands, holding it quite close to your face and gaze at it for several seconds with a look that is both questioning and deeply hurt. As though you are mentally communicating to your racket, "Whatever did you go and do that for? Haven't I always treated you with the utmost respect and admiration? You're not still angry about that time I left you out in the rain are you?"

Because of course, the mistake is never your fault. Once you have mastered this concept, you are well on your way to becoming a tennis master. Tennis is not so much about actually possessing skill, but rather maintaining the illusion that you do.

More violent outbursts of emotion, such as screaming like a banshee, golfing all the spare tennis balls into the parking lot or hurling your racket into the tops of nearby trees, are reserved for occasions when only bad luck could be held to blame. (A ball that seemingly hangs on the net and taunts you before it plops onto the wrong side of the court, or a shot from an impossible angle that just grazes your back line.)

If you make a great many mistakes at first, you may want to mix up your excuses a bit. The sun was in your eyes, the net sags somewhat in the middle, your opponent switched balls in the middle of a set, a passing train threw off your concentration or perhaps the court was on a peculiar slant that day because of some recent seismic activity.

If you want to get anywhere at all in this game, you really must learn to use the strange phenomenon of the incredible enlarging rim to your advantage. Many fine tennis players would seemingly bet their lives on the fact that the rim of the racket is actually larger in proportion than the space occupied by the strings. Such players are constantly exclaiming after a bad shot, "Oh, dear me, that one has come off my rim again."

Of course, in some cases, there is such an apparent lack of any natural talent that a casual player must resort to more subtle tricks to keep up appearances.

One of my favourites is the "elaborate warmup" technique. The key to this theory is that you remain in a permanent state of "just warming up, thank you". In order to be convincing you will have to think up a wide variety of little exercises and stretches that you can use to occupy yourself with until everyone gets so tired of waiting for you that they just decide to go out and buy you a drink instead. A few suggestions would be, doing ridiculous looking swimming motions in the air and/or swinging your racket around above your head (the more obvious the better, the aim here is to impress). It is crucial to keep up the appearance of extreme seriousness about yourself while performing the aforementioned exercises, no matter how ridiculous you may feel, or you run the risk of being laughed off the court.

Stretching is a good idea too, especially the really awkward looking types that contort your body into all sorts of unnatural shapes. Remember that you don't really necessarily need to limber up any muscles here, you just need to give each stretch it's own unique and preferably citrus-inspired name.

Really though, the best way to improve your game, is to throw in all manner of unnecessary razzle dazzle and flair. The more arrogant the better. Learning to flip your racket up in the air and catch it again with a cocky grin on your face is enough to get you into the most elite tennis clubs anywhere in the world. Flicking balls up with your feet, making catches behind your back or mastering the enviable skill of two full rotations on the good old flipperooni move, are your best chance at success in this game.