Tennis: Rules to Match the NCAA Game

September 28, 2011
by Justin

A solid foundation in the rules is always a good premise for understanding any sport. For tennis, it is no exception. As a social interactive sport, it is also one that applies great physical endurance. The swinging of a racquet, the intense sprints across the court, and the immense adrenaline rush one seek as they engage in a championship tournament, make tennis the game we love.


According to NCAA standards, tennis remains one of the top games held by the detailed rules and the sportsmanship quality that is vested in the game. Due to NCAA standards, tennis, compared to other sports, has a unique scoring system. Each side of the net starts with zero, which is not called out, but which is called “love”. 15 points goes to the first player that scores. The first two scores are set in increments of 15 points to the score love 30. Now, the next increment would obviously be assumed to be 15, however, this is not the case. Love 40 is the next point reached that brings the game to what is called a deuce. When the tennis player finally arrives at a deuce, or in this case, both players are at a 40, which is called deuce, the standoff is set when the players have the option of an ad-in; advantage is given to the serving side, or ad-out; to the non-serving side.


Now that that is established, a game is won when one team either wins two to three sets. A game is played in sets for six games, and then when a tie is broken, afterwards, it is considered a final set, and the game is won.


Now that the scoring system has been broken down for you student-athlete aficionados, let’s figure out how we move around, and ask us, are there rules as to where we can stand, and cannot?


Let your attention draw in, because these are where some of the most obvious errors take place.


Before the point system even begins, when you and your competitor are anticipating the first swing, as your scores are both at zero, who serves?


After the coin is tossed, and both pick a side of the coin, the serve goes to the winner of that coin toss, obviously. Once that is done, depending upon what league you’re in, the rules about player positioning gets switched around.


For starters, when a player serves, he/she changes sides, from left to right of the court, after the first 15 pt. score. Movement helps the player keep track about who’s point goes to who, and who needs to gain a point. This may sound ridiculous, yet, when in the intensity of a tennis game, it helps to keep track how you’re doing on the court, and what still needs to happen before you win that next point. Also, prior to serving your ball, you announce your point. For example, before you serve, you would say something to the effect of “Service: 30-15,” usually announcing your point first, and the opponents point afterwards, or vice versa, again depending upon those specific league rules. Afterwards, one would generally change side of the court; you would go to your opponent’s side, and he/she would go to yours. This happens after every fourth game and/or every odd numbered game.


Who can play? Everybody! Just kidding! Actually, tennis is played in doubles, meaning two people on each side, or singles; one on each side of the net. When playing doubles, the court is usually wider and the outer lines are expanded. For singles, the inner lines determine where the boundaries are for the player. The serving area is the same for both singles and doubles. Also, in both cases (singles and doubles) the back line is considered the length of the court.


When serving the ball, the server is placed at the back of the court, at the outer line, and serves the ball diagonally across the court. The receiver is placed on the opposite side of the court diagonally to the server. This is the case, unless it is the service at the beginning of the game. Then the server may serve inside the service box. If the ball lands within the line, it is considered in. One bounce in the opponent’s court must always happen, when hitting the ball, or else a point is lost.


Tennis shoes, without cleats, or black markings are always appropriate for the court, and depending on the weather, shorts, and tennis shirts, always help physical flexibility, and endurance.


Well, I hope I haven’t made your eyes cross by this point. It is a sport learned much better when played as opposed to someone who explains it to you.


In league rules, there is always etiquette and proper sportsmanship that should be displayed when playing. Even though tennis gets intense when played, it is something that should always be played with respect to the other players, and spectators. It’s always good to bring your own equipment when arriving at the game to; tennis balls, racquet, washrags, water, and of course; appropriate tennis attire.


Tennis is a wonderful game; highly competitive, and an excellent workout. If you wish to pick this sport up in high school, stay tuned. I’ll provide you more information on what rewards can await you, if you choose to pursue, as a student-athlete, a scholarship to play tennis in a college or university. Visit next week for more.

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