Continued from page 1769., Part 14
A lawn-tennis court (single) measures 78 feet long by 27 feet wide-36 feet wide if a double court. It is divided across the middle by a net,the ends of which are attached to two posts, a and b, which stand 3 feet outside the court on either side. The height of the net is 3 feet 6 inches at the posts, and 3 feet in the middle. At each end of the court, parallel with the net, and at a distance of 39 feet from it, are drawn the base lines c d, e f, the extremities of which are connected by the side lines c e and d f. Half-way between the side lines, and parallel with them, is drawn the
The correct grip for the backhand stroke half-court line g h, dividing the space on each side of the net into two equal parts, called the right and left courts. On each side of the net, at a distance of 21 feet from it and parallel with it, are drawn the service lines k l and m n.
For a double court, within the side lines, at a distance of 4 1/2 feet from them and parallel with them, are drawn the service side-lines.
The grip for the forehand stroke
In choosing a site for a tennis court, be careful to choose one where there is plenty of sunlight, and across which no shadow will be thrown at any timeof the day. The court should be laid out north and south, so that the players are not dazzled by the sun. At the sides of the court 8 feet of space at least (and as much more as is possible) should be allowed, and at the base line the run back should be not less than 24 feet.
Either green or black is the best colour for the background, which, if possible, should be stationary; trees, unless they are massed solidly together, are not a satisfactory background, as they are swayed by the wind, and the sun flickers through their branches, casting shadows over the court.
How the racket should be gripped by the hand is a much discussed matter, and one that causes a diversity of opinion. The method employed by one person is not necessarily the most suitable for another. The accompanying illustration shows the writer's grip for forehand and backhand strokes.
If the reader's present grip is not satisfactory, she might try it. and if it does
The finish of the forehand drive not suit her, acquire one as like it as possible.
The beginner should remember that the racket must be grasped as tightly as possible, and the grasp must allow the wrist to be perfectly free, for the most successful strokes are made in this way. Many players hold their rackets at the extreme end of the handle, but the writer always allows a small part of the wood to show between the hand and the leather knob at the end of the racket, the shorter handle seeming to give more control over the ball. This is, however, entirely a matter of opinion.
Having acquired a satisfactory grip, the correct method of playing the various strokes must be learned, assiduously practised, and thoroughly mastered before a player pits her strength against another in a match which she is anxious to win, and where the players are scoring. It is a common fault with novices to pit their skill against another much too soon. This is undesirable, for in this way players become
Position of the player when halfway through a forehand drive. A good forehand drive is one of the most important strokes to have at command, and is the basis of a good player's game D 18 he player at the beginning of the backhand stroke. Here the position of the right foot is most important: it should be in front of the left, and the player should stand sideways to the net, with the right shoulder facing it
The finish of the backhand drive clumsy and slovenly over their strokes, and develop bad habits which are very difficult to correct. Knowledge as to when to hit the ball, keeping the eye on the ball, timing the stroke, correct use of the body swing, transference of the weight at the right moment, the follow-through in a line with the flight of the ball, some knowledge of the angles of the court for accurate placing-are all important points which should be diligently practised before an attempt is made to play matches with the object of winning, no matter how the strokes are played. Continuous practice in the right way will make good play come naturally in a match.
In a match, think only of keeping the eye on the ball and the attention on the game. The beginner should practise without scoring at first, pegging away at her weak strokes. If she cannot get an enthusiastic person to practise with her, let her try playing up against a brick wall, which will answer the purpose well.
A good forehand drive is one of the most important strokes to have at command, and is the basis of a good player's game. It is, therefore, very important that care should be taken, when learning the stroke, to use the feet properly, so as to get a full body swing. Do not face the net, but stand sideways with the left shoulder turned to the net and the left foot in front of the right. The weight should be on the right foot at the commencement of the stroke, and, while in the act of making the stroke, be transferred from the right foot to the left, so that at the time of hitting the ball (with the centre of the racket) the player should be half-way through the act of transferring her weight. This transference of the weight is most important, and must be done at the proper time, neither too soon nor too late, as it makes all the difference between a good and a bad stroke, and with a wrongly timed stroke all severity is lost.
The swing back, as in golf, should be slow and deliberate; the ball must be hit firmly with the centre of the racket, and swept along to its destination, care being taken to follow through with the aim and shoulder in a line with the flight of the ball.
The backhand stroke is the exact reverse of the forehand. Here, the position of the feet plays a most important part, and the general weakness of the backhand stroke is due probably to defective footwork. Stand sideways to the net, the right shoulder facing it, and the right foot in front of the left, then make the stroke in the same way as for a forehand drive, transferring the weight from the left foot to the right whilst making the stroke. Hit the ball firmly, and follow well through with the arm and shoulder in a line with the flight of the ball. The lob is a stroke which needs very careful practice. Of course, as the principal stroke
Backhand play: a characteristic attitude in one's game it would be contemptible, but used at the proper time it is invaluable. It is a defensive stroke, and is intended to get the player out of difficulties, or to drive the opponent away from her attack- ing position at the net, or to allow the player time to breathe to enable her to get back into position in the court to await her opponent's return. In making the t stroke, the racket must be well below the ball, which must be struck very firmly with the centre of the racket. Of course, it takes years of hard work and perseverance to be able to play all these strokes really well, but one of the great advantages of lawn tennis is that it is a game that players can and do enjoy at practically every
A good back' hand return
The finish of the backhand drive stage of progress. Probably the greater the knowledge of the game, the greater the enjoyment, but I have always been impressed by noticing how much enjoyment beginners and poor players manage to get out of lawn tennis -a fact which is greatly in its favour, as the same cannot be said of many other games.