Tennis Tips for Beginners: Focus on Depth

Keeping the ball at the back of the court is your No. 1 weapon at the beginning stages of your tennis career.

As the former French Open champion and World No. 2 tennis player Michael Chang once said, "Depth is king."

And he should know, as he was only kept out of the top of the rankings and winning at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open by tennis immortals Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi.

He was also the forerunner for some of the today's great players like Rafa Nadal.

In the real world of tennis (and that's where it really counts), this tennis tip will keep you in the point for more shots. And as we all know when just starting out playing tennis, keeping lots of shots in court isn't always easy.

Depth is King

Focusing on depth will force your opponent to hit one or two additional shots during every point, which will often lead them to make errors.

Remember what it says in the rules of tennis, "The winner of the point is the last person to hit the ball in court." Consistent depth will help you to be that person.

To help you achieve this, use the large rectangle formed by the service line, baseline and singles sidelines as your target.

Spend a few minutes before your next practice and look at it from the net. Keep looking at it as you walk back to the baseline.

Next, drop some balls for yourself and hit shots over the net trying to get the ball in this "back box."

You can even use this simple scoring system to add a bit of fun and pressure.

  • Award yourself five points if your shot goes over and lands in either of the service boxes.
  • Award yourself 10 points if your shot goes over and lands in the back box.
  • You score zero if the ball fails to go over the net.
  • You also score zero if the ball goes too deep and drops beyond the baseline or if it is too wide and drops in the tramlines or completely out of court.

Keep a note of your scores for 10 shots and see how long it takes you to regularly hit 100!

As your scores go up, so will your game.


The biggest mistake most players at this level make is that they hit the ball too low, directly into the net or too short if they do get it over.

Your ball, when hit from the baseline, should be roughly twice the height of the net as it goes over.

Provided you hit the shot with some topspin, the ball should fall comfortably into the court on the other side of the net.

Practicing this drill (on both the forehand and backhand) either on your own or with a partner will pay great dividends for you in the future as it teaches you technque and ball placement.

Try it today.

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Paul Gold is a former international-level cricketer and a Lawn Tennis Association licensed coach. He holds a Master's degree in Sports Science and Speed Agility Quickness (SAQ) trainer accreditation. For more information on how to improve your level of tennis fitness visit .

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