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Tennis for dummies: Young gives tips, tricks to play

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Chris Young

For some people, tennis is where you swing a controller and the ball goes back and forth across the TV screen.

For others, it is a Ping-Pong table inside their uncle’s garage. Most cities have public tennis courts for people to enjoy, yet they are not often occupied with those playing the sport. For those looking into playing tennis, OSU coach Chris Young offered some quick and easy tips to understand the game.

1. Find a good racquet

To start playing tennis, a racquet and some tennis balls are required. The key is not just picking a racquet off the shelf, but finding one that will suit a specific playstyle and weight.

“Sometimes people get one (racquet) that’s way too light or way too heavy,” Young said.

Finding the right racquet will help people stay comfortable and optimize success.

2. Work on the correct technique

Once the equipment is in hand, it’s time to start swinging. It may be fun to go out and hit tennis balls aggressively but in order to be successful swings need to involve more technique.

“Keep it simple in being able to take the racquet back and then brush through the ball," Young said. "Low to high with the swing, keep it pretty simple. It’s not where you want to hit it so flat. People want to hit it like a baseball or something like that. You got to put a little spin on it."

3. Learn to serve

Serving is critical. Each point has to start on the serve of the ball and executing a serve is vital. 

“A good way to kind of warm up the serve and get the serve going in motion is just throwing a football or baseball or just kind of that movement. It’s the same thing as a serve,” Young said. “You want to get the toss, you want to reach up with your left arm, and you throw it up. Just try to throw it up straight and go up there and get it, snap the wrist down.”

4. Returning the ball

Like serves, there is no match if there is not a return of the ball. The return sets up the entire match going forward off the first volley.

“You got to be able to pick up the spin and the speed of the ball and where it is going,” Young said. “Just shorten the swing a little bit. Sometimes people want to take a big swing on a return, balls coming at you at a pretty good pace, shorten it up.”

5. Play consistently

Trying to improve in tennis is just like trying to improve with anything in life. It takes practice. Not playing consistently will greatly reduce the progress made in learning to play.

“That’s the best way to learn is to play,” Young said. “Get out there and do it.”

6. Enjoy the sport

Tennis is an excellent way to get exercise, enjoy the outdoors and pick up a new hobby.

“It’s a great sport you can go outside and play. I think it’s a good activity to get out and a lot of exercise,” Young said. “I think it’s really important for people to enjoy the sport to be able to get out there and have some success doing it.”

sports.ed@ocolly.com