Tennis 101

Written by Coach Wise, 2020.

The Court


  • Singles: 78’ X 27’
  • Doubles: 78’ X 36’
  • Net: 36” at center, 42” at posts


  • Singles
  • Doubles
  • Service line and box
  • Baseline

Sides of the Court

  1. Deuce Side = right side. Score point total always even.
  2. Ad Side = left side. Score point total is always odd.


Game Scoring sequence

  • No Point: love.
  • First point: 15.
  • Second point: 30.
  • Third point: 40.
  • Fourth point: Game.


  • If both players have 3 points, it is called Deuce.
  • Next player to win a point has Advantage, or “Ad”.
  • Must win by two, so if that same player wins the point, it is game.
  • If the other player wins the point, it is back to Deuce.

Calling the Score

  • Server always calls the score.
  • Server calls his/her score first, then the opponent’s.
  • When the server wins the point after deuce, he/she calls ad in.
  • When the receiver wins the point after deuce, he/she calls ad out.

Scoring Examples

  • Love-love is always the first point-0 total points, serve on the deuce side.
  • 15-love = one total point, serve on ad side.
  • 15 all (each have one point) = two total points, serve deuce side.
  • 30-15 = three total points, serve ad side.
  • 30-30=four total points, serve deuce side.
  • 40-15= four total points, serve deuce side.
  • 40-30 =five total points, serve ad side.
  • Deuce = six total points, serve deuce side.
  • Ad In = seven total points, serve ad side

No-Ad Scoring

  • Sometimes we play no-ad games, which means that if your score gets to deuce, the next point is decides the winner. The receiver chooses which side-deuce or ad-to receive the ball.


  1. Regular Set

A regular set is won by the first player/team to win 6 games and win by two. You can win a set 6-4, for example. If your score is 6-5, continue playing; you can win that set 7-5. If you reach 6-6, you will play a tiebreaker and one player/team will win 7-6.

  1. Pro Set (No idea why it’s called that?)

In regular season matches, we play a Pro Set, which is won by the first player/team to win 8 games and win by two. You can win a pro set 8-6, for example. If your score is 8-7, continue playing; you can win that set 9-7. If you reach 8-8, you will play a tiebreaker and one player/team will win 9-8.

  1. Tiebreaker

A regular set tiebreaker is won by the player/team who scores 7 points first and wins by two. A tiebreaker can be won 7-5, for example, but not 7-6. A tiebreaker is continued until one player wins by two points. We will teach you to play a tiebreaker, including how to rotate servers and switch sides of the court. It is a bit complicated!

  1. Match

A regular three set match is won by the player who wins two sets first. This is the format we use at the Divisional and State tournaments, so we will play this format when we can.

Line Calls

General rules about line calls

  1. Players make line calls only for balls that land on their side of the net.
  2. If a ball touches any part of the line, it is in
  3. If a player does not clearly see the ball out, that ball will be played as in.
  4. Do not make any verbal call on balls that are in.
  5. Make an immediate and definitive call on balls that are out verbally and with a point of the finger to indicate out. 

Answers to Common Questions about Line Calls

  • You may not call a ball in or out that you see land on the other side of the court. Exception:  If the opposing player asks you if you saw it and wants your opinion, you can tell them what you saw. If you clearly see that your ball went out on the other side and the opponent did not see it, you need to be honest when they ask, and tell them you saw it as out. Same if you see it in. 
  • If you disagree with a line call made by your opponent, you may ask them, “are you sure?” The call is still theirs to make. Never argue with an opponent about a line call. If you sense a pattern of blatantly bad line calls, talk to a coach on a changeover about getting someone on the court to assist. Generally, it is much better to simply go with the calls they make and not get yourself distracted and agitated by line calls. 
  • We don’t want you to make foot fault calls against opponents. It is simply a waste of your energy. Foot faulting isn’t really helping your opponent anyway unless they are serving and volleying, which very few people you play will do. Make sure you are not foot faulting (touching the baseline with your foot before you make contact with the ball).
  • The only player who can call a “double bounce” (when the ball hits the ground twice before you hit it) is the player hitting the ball. Do not stop playing because you think someone has let the ball hit twice. If you are going for a ball and it bounces twice, immediately stop playing and call double bounce on yourself

Match Play


  1. 10 minute warm-up with opponent
  2. Come to the net and spin a racket-call up or down
  3. Winner can choose if he/she wants to serve or receive, OR choose the side; if winner chooses serve/receive then loser chooses side, if winner chooses side, then loser chooses serve/receive. 
  4. Server has 20 seconds between the end of one point and the start of the next point. You need to serve at a reasonable pace, but need to wait until the receiver is ready to receive. 
  5. Players change ends at the end of each odd game (1,3,5,etc)
  6. You have a 90 second break changeover on games 3,5,7 etc.
  7. Players may only talk to coaches during crossovers.
  8. Players get a 2-minute break between sets.    

Etiquette/Sportspersonship Rules for Practice and Match Play 

  1. Players will make fair and consistent line calls.
  2. Players will not use any curse words, bang or throw racquets, or any other unsportslike displays before a match, during or after.
  3. Players with unsportslike behavior during a match will be sanctioned in the following order:
    1. Warning.
    2. 1 point deduction.
    3. 1 game deduction.
    4. 1 team point deduction.
    5. Player is ejected from the contest and will need to meet with coaches before returning to practice.
  4. Players will happily shake hands with opponents after matches.
  5. Players will be supportive and positive with teammates and opponents.
  6. Players will respect all coaches and assistants.
  7. Players will remain at all matches until the last player has finished his/her match.
  8. Players will remain at all matches until courts are clean, score cards are put away, trash is picked up, and all tables/chairs/food is put away.
  9. Players are responsible for taking out, putting away and returning of water coolers, snack and drink coolers, balls and ball hoppers, and any other team equipment.

Tennis 101 Video from KidSenz