Minding Your Tennis Court Manners


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Tennis and racquetball can be a great way to burn up some excess calories, burn off some steam, and spend some quality time with your coworkers and friends.

While all of us were beginners at one time and failed to observe some of the finer points in the unofficial and unwritten code of ethics associated with racket sports, a willful neglect of tennis’ on-court manners will likely result in fewer and fewer tennis dates.

With that said, let's look at some of the more common unmannerly habits that have been picked up by tennis players of all experience and expertise levels. Keep in mind that these rules are not in the official rules of tennis but are more common sense or respect your opponent type ethics.

Ball handling ethics

Have you ever played tennis with someone who seemingly refuses to collect tennis balls from the court when they are needed for the next serve? The truth is that this is not an uncommon problem, and there are many people that, while not refusing to collect balls for play, do not do much to speed up the procession of the game by efficiently handling tennis balls during plays. Are you one of these people? You may be and not even realize it. Follow these tips to keep your tennis ball handling ethics those of unquestionably high standards.

  • Keep extra tennis balls nearby. You should always have spare tennis balls used for play either in hand, in a pocket or ball clip, or against the fence directly behind the center mark.

  • If your opponent has to walk to pick up played tennis balls around the court to continue the play, do the same thing on your side of the court.

  • If there are no balls for play, the player who has a ball closest to him or her should go after a ball. There is really no sense in making your opponent walk a great distance for a ball when you have one a couple of feet away, even if it is their serve.

  • Be careful in throwing a ball to your opponent. Never throw one too hard or out of reach with the assumption that it will stop rolling when it hits the fence. Instead, easily bounce the tennis ball to your opponent in such a way that they can easily catch it with one hand.

    Keeping score

    The end of the match is not the time to haggle out how many points each player has earned or has not earned. Point disputes should be handled as they arise, and it is each player's responsibility to stay aware of the current score. With two brains, a more accurate counting of points can take place. Here are a couple of tips:

  • It is the server's responsibility to announce the score at the start of each game and at the start of the second point and each following point thereafter.

  • If the receiver cannot hear the announced scores, he or she should ask for it to be repeated. As I said earlier, the end of the game is a bad time to replay the game point by point to see who actually won. Plus telling someone that they're lying, that they didn't actually score the winning point, is no way to make friends or long-term tennis partners.

    Making line calls

    Again, do not infer that your opponent is a liar or cheat here. Always defer to your opponent's point of view on whether a ball is in or out. Yes, they may be wrong, but it's only a game, and there is a possibility that your eyes were deceiving you, especially if the line call happens on their side of the net. Along the same lines, if you miss a call and they argue it, offer to replay the point again. It's just a game!

    Another word of advice is to always act and look like you are enjoying your time on the court. If you are a sore loser, try your best not to look like one. And most of all, just have fun, be a joy to play with, and respect your opponent. If you do all of this, you will be sure to not become one of those people that never gets invited to play tennis.

    By Randy Myers
    For more tennis related articles and information
    visit Randy's site http://www.atlanta-tennis.com

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