Tennis, Anyone?

It is no surprise tennis dates back to the 12th Century and continues to be a popular sport. Running around a court chasing a yellow ball and trying to hit it back over the net is not only engaging, it’s good for you and is also sociable with no limits on age at either end.

What do you need to get started? 
A racket.
There is a huge price range, starting with inexpensive rackets ($30-50) is fine for the odd recreational game. But like other sports, as you improve you will want to upgrade. Luckily, you can get an incredible racket that will last a few years for $250-300. 

Balls. A three-pack is around $10 and should last a good while, depending on how much you play, how hard you hit the ball, and ok, yes, how many get lost over the fence!

Tennis Shoes. Non-marking running shoes are ok. Again, if you play more, you will want tennis-specific shoes for support and durability, ranging from $90-$200.

A Good Sense of Humour. It is not a super easy sport. The ball is small and the court can feel even smaller. But, it is super fun and the learning curve can be steep.

Tips for the beginner

1. Grip. Hold the racket at the bottom of the handle with the pad of your index finger of your dominant hand on the flat right side of the grip if you are right-handed, and left side for a lefty.

2. Set up. As the ball crosses the net, move towards the ball (or away slightly if it is coming at you) and make a unit turn to stand sideways with your racket behind you, perpendicular to the net with the racket head tilted down.

3. As the ball bounces, swing the racket head towards the ball and watch the ball, not where you want it to go. After contact, continue the path of the racket upwards finishing with a bend at the elbow and a full follow through. It isn’t just a tap or short stroke unless at the net or playing a certain type of shot. You don’t need to swing fast, aim for contact in the middle of your strings.

4. If the ball is heading behind you, unit turn the other way and you will hit a backhand. It is personal whether you add your second hand for extra strength and support as the pathway of your dominant hand is led by the back of your hand. Again, a full swing will help.

5. Three key points for best chance at contact:
Out Front. Hit the ball while it is still in front of you.
Comfortable Distance. Not too close or too far from the ball.
Waist Height. Move your body forwards or backwards and wait for the ball to drop to around your belly button. Overheads are fun but an advanced shot and harder to control.

6. Court Etiquette. With its rich history and requiring concentration and athleticism there are a few requirements to share courts happily.
Try to not be too loud. It can put people off their shots.
If your ball crosses onto another court, apologize and wait for them to give it back.
When arriving/leaving, only walk behind someone’s court when their point is over. This is for safety and is good etiquette.

To Keep Advancing
Play a lot. We get better at sport with mileage. Take some coaching. There are many things you might never figure out without a trained eye. Work on cardio, agility and hand-eye co-ordination when not playing.

Tennis is very accessible in Fernie with four outdoor courts in James White Park, owned by the City of Fernie and free for public use. They are shared with Fernie Sports Co. who rent out two at a time for coaching. The Fernie Tennis Community can book courts for tournaments and group play, with the season running approximately May-October.

Lucy Harrup is the owner of Fernie Sports Co., and a tennis coach. She is passionate about sharing the sport of tennis with locals and visitors alike! Visit for coaching options, equipment and all things tennis.