Coaching Tip - March 2023

Tennis Etiquette for Social and Competitive players of all standards

The game of tennis is based on official rules that determine the structure of the scoring system used and hence the games played whether it is a casual hit, social or competitive match.

There are many unofficial “rules” relating to your attire, your organisation of play and the interaction between you and your opponent(s) and umpires ( if applicable) that should be respected by tennis playersof all standards.

Guidelines for Social or casual players as well as for competition players

BEFORE THE GAME - Getting prepared
Match preparation
• Make sure that you are “in the zone” by being mentally ready to play
• Arrive on time for your hit or match as time is precious for all of us
• Be prepared bring your racquet, drink, towel, hat and sunscreen
• Make arrangements with your opponent(s) as to who supplies the tennis balls
Remember to take your turn
• Wear the appropriate shoes and sensible clothing taking the weather into account
Obey club rules for example all white attire is part of the tradition at Wimbledon
• Spin your racquet or toss a coin to decide who serves in a social or casual hit as well as in a competitive match
The winner of the toss can elect to serve, receive, choose an end or ask the opponent to select one of the choices

DURING THE GAME – Being in control
Ball management
• Start with 2 tennis balls at hand on the court before starting your hit or match
• The server should have the 2 tennis balls at their end of the court before starting play
One ball should be in the hand of the server while the other should be in their pocket or ball holder not on the ground on the baseline near the server.
This will prevent injury due to stepping on the ball during a rally
• Return the ball along the ground to the server after each point.
Do not hit the ball everywhere so that you make your opponent run to collect them prior to each point thus causing him or her much irritation.
Line calls
• Line calls or the calling of the ball in or out is the cause of the most disagreements in a tennis match whether it is a social or casual hit or a self umpired competitive match
• When returning serve try not to hit back the faults particularly when the ball is clearly out
Call the serve out or Fault in a loud clear voice so that your opponent can hear your call
• You are responsible for calling the balls at your end of the court and your opponent calls his or her end of the court
• Respect the line calls of your opponent
You can ask them if they are sure but do not intimidate them when doing so
• In a self umpired match the ball is considered “in” if you do not immediately call the ball out
There should be no replays if you are not certain whether the ball is in or out.
Calls should be definite not maybe.
• In an umpired match the line calls are made by the umpire and their call is final unless you are lucky enough to have a video challenge system in place for your match
Respect the umpire’s decision don’t cause an awkward moment by arguing with the
official in charge of the match
• In doubles the non receiving partner should call the service line as they will or should have
a clearer view of the serve when it lands on court.
Be honest in your calls and support your partner’s calls wherever possible
• Leave your tennis bag and equipment to the side of the court level with the net so that it does not interfere with play
• If you have hired a court be patient and wait off court for the players on court to finish and vacate the area
• Wait until a break in play before walking quickly behind or accross a court
In this way you will not interfere in their match
• Players or spectators when waiting or standing near or behind a court should talk quietly so that you are not distracting or disturbing the players on court
• When a ball from a nearby court comes across your court wait until the end of the point on the next court before returning it.
• Similarly if your ball goes onto or behind the next court wait for a break in play before retrieving it
Body Language
• Try to stay focussed on your match
• Remain positive and give that impression to your opponent even if you are playing badly
• Avoid making exaggerated gestures after winning or losing a point
• Similarly do not yell out after winning or losing a point
• Be in control of your emotions at all times so that you help to avoid tense confrontations or arguments

COMPETITON – playing as a team
• Support your team members by watching their matches – stay until the end
There is nothing worse than playing the last match of the day and being the only player from your team at the venue
• Respect and encourage your team and their efforts
• When playing doubles play as a team not as an individual
• Never criticise your partner or team mates

AFTER THE GAME – socialise with your team and/or opponents
• Stay for a chat with your team and run through the highlights of the day
• Take time to talk to your opponents
• Have a drink and share a round with your team mates and/or opponents
Remember to take your turn in buying a round of drinks

Follow the guidelines as suggested above and you will enjoy your tennis more.
Your opponents will also learn to respect you and as a result you will probably be well liked by your peers.
In fact you never know you might even be successful in your tennis matches

Contact me if you have comments or queries in regard to Tennis Ettiquette a much under publicised but important part of playing tennis

Tennis the game of a lifetime

Coach Steve