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How to Improve in Tennis – Forehand, Backhand, and Serve

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How to Improve in Tennis – Forehand, Backhand, and Serve


When it comes to tennis, there are a combination of muscles that need to be used across the game. Not only do the arms, legs, and feet each have to work in a fundamental way, you need a whole lot of coordination to put them altogether.

There are three primary functions of tennis that require compound muscles to work together. These are the forehand stroke, the backhand stroke, and the all important serve. Each of these make up the foundational basics of tennis. There are many ways to improve upon these strokes as you continue your tennis journey.

To make sure you are playing tennis in an optimal way, consider these tips for improve each of the foundational strokes of the game.

The forehand

In tennis, the forehand is when you hit the ball using the racket extended from your dominant arm. Generally, a forehead is played with just the dominant hand holding the tennis racket and the feet either criss-crossed or widespread, depending where the ball lands.

To improve your forehand swing, try these tips:

  • Make sure you have a semi-western forehand grip with the racket
  • Transfer your weight from low-to-high with your feet to maintain your balance
  • Contact the ball at a comfortable height – waist level
  • Hit the ball when it is near your front hip
  • Follow through on the shot at the shoulder of your non-dominant side of the body

The backhand

When the ball lands on the opposite side of your body, you need to perform a backhand. Typically, this shot is played on the left side of the body and involves swinging the racket to around the body with the back of the hand preceding the palm. This shot can be played with one or two hands on the racket, depending what is more comfortable.

These tips will help you gain confidence in moving for a backhand shot:

  • Learn to recognise when a backhand is needed in the game
  • Set the hand grip comfortably – dominant hand on the continental grip and non-dominant hand on the western grip
  • Shift all the body weight to your back foot and transfer the weight forward to the front foot
  • Follow through on the shot with your elbow facing the intended target

The serve

To get a game of tennis started, someone needs to serve the ball. The idea of a serve is that the player serving will hit the ball diagonally across the court into the opposite service box, to then be returned by the opponent. Generally, a serve is an overhead shot. It requires a lot of hand-eye coordination and arm strength to hit the ball a fair distance.

To perform best in serving, consider these tips:

  • Position yourself such that you face towards the side fence
  • Practice your toss such that it will be consistently straight above your head
  • Get used to the motion of extending the racket down the opposite side of your body as you toss the ball
  • If all is in order, swing your dominant arm into the ball so that you may contact with the ball above your head
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