Proper Tennis Etiquette…

SUBJECT:  Proper Tennis Etiquette for Parents and Fans

Players and fans are required to play under the USTA rules known as “The Code”.  (USTA Friend at Court page 52.) A few points are:

  1. Tennis is a unique sport with rules of etiquette.  Do Not treat it like Football or Basketball.   It’s closer to Golf as an example.
  2.  Take your best manners court side, silence all phones.
  3. Points should be played out in quiet, once a player is ready to serve.
  4. Wait until the point is over to clap or cheer for your team/player.
  5. Cheer and clap for good shots and long rallies.
  6. Do Not cheer for errors made by the other team/player, just good plays by your team/player.
  7. Do Not shout out line calls, instructions, communicate or coach your player in any way.  Or they will be subject to the “Point Penalty System”.  (USTA Friend at Court pages 136-138.)

1st occurrence – loss of a point.

2nd occurrence – loss of the game in progress.

3rd occurrence – loss of the match via default.

8.  Only the two official coaches of record can coach, communicate or instruct a player.  Cheering or encouraging them on is fine.

9.  The coaches can shout instructions during the match as long as play is not stopped, and can talk to the players at the fence on odd game change overs.

10.  Abusive behavior toward anyone on or off the court, will not be tolerated.  Show your school sprit in the right way!


Getting a Match Started…The Warm Up

SUBJECT: Getting a Match Started…The Warm Up


1.  Your Court and Opponent will be announced by the Home coach.

2.  Proceed to your court, with your can of balls, introduce yourself, and be sure you are playing the correct player(s) on the correct court.

3.  Flip or Spin for first Serve and Side of the court BEFORE warm up.

4.  Warm up… work on footwork, getting your eye on the ball, DO NOT hit  the ball hard or try to hit winners!  Hit the ball directly back to your opponent.

5.   Hit 6-10 forehands and backhands each.  Then come to net the and hit 6-10 Volleys that your Opponent will hit to you from the baseline.

6.  Then hit 2 or 3 overheads.  Work on getting under the ball, getting your eye on the ball and arm motion.  DO NOT hit the ball over the fence!

7.  Then hit 3 or 4 serves to your opponent, let them serve 3 or 4 back, then swap sides and repeat.

8.  Total warm up time including serves is 10 minutes.  (USTA Rules)

9.  Start the Match!

10.  After the Match, shake hands, and report the score to the Home Coach, and your Coach.

Re: Tactics – “Lop Off the Lobber”

Re: Tactics –  “Lop Off the Lobber”

Playing a good lobber can be a trying time.  Patience and knowledge is the key.  A lobber will try to keep you from playing your game, by starving you of pace and getting you out of good forehand position.

1.  Take the ball on the rise, or short hop, and drive it like a normal ground stroke.  But don’t make foolish errors, keep the ball in play (80 % Rule)

2.  Move a lobber forward into the court!  It is almost impossible to lob moving forward.  Use approach shots, and drop shots to move them forward off the baseline.. where they want to be.

3.  Lob back when you must, but try to avoid long lob to lob rallies, unless you think you are a better lobber.

4.  Make them hit backhands…. most people don’t lob as well from the backhand side.  they will make more errors, and leave more lobs short, that you can attack with an over head.

Re: Tactics – “Hack Saw the Hackers”

Re:  Tactics – “Hack Saw the Hackers”

A hacker is a player who may be a good athletic, but lacks general tennis knowledge and skill, but makes up for it with foot speed and an assortment of usual spinning drop shots and lobs, design to move you out of your game, and make you loose your patience and confidence.

1. Cut or back spin spots –  the key is to see the way the player hits the ball and recognize it as a backspin or cut shot.  It requires you to know the ball will “check up” when it hits and not bounce toward you in the usual manner.

2. Setup early, racquet back sooner than normal and be ready and in good form sooner than normal to hit this type of shot.  Don’t get freaked out by it!

3. On short shots, as you run up notice if the opponent is staying back or moving in behind he ball.

3A. If they stay back, simply drop the ball over the net right in from of you and prepare to go on defense.

3B.  If they follow it in, Pass them with a good passing shot, 60-70% pace, usually on their backhand side……

3C.  Or lob the ball over them…..

3D.  Or hit the ball though them…….

4.  Be patient! Take a very logical step by step approach as listed above.

Re: Tactics “Unplug The Power Hitters”

Re:  Tactics “Unplug The Power Hitters” :

A power hitter wants a ball hit the ball with good pace, waist high and in a place they can plant their feet and drive the ball with a strong forehand.  Most use an Eastern Forehand, or Semi-Western Grip.  The ball will come at you flat and hard!

1. Starve them of the the 3 things they want:

  • – Hard pace
  • – Ball at their waist
  • – Ability to plant their feet.

2.  Hit to back hand, don’t let them set up and drive forehands. Keep the ball out of their hitting zone around the waist.

3.  Make them hit low balls, moving forward, or high bounces around their shoulders.

4.  Use deep high rollers or lobs to push them back.

5.  Move them forward with low pace, low approach shots.

How Many Cards Do You Have?

Re:  How Many Cards Do You Have To Play ?

Big Hitter,  Defensive Player,  Counter Puncher,  Base Liner,

All Court Player,  Short Game,  Lobber,  Pusher,  Net Rusher,

Serve and Volley, Big Serve,  Spot Server,  Flat Serve,

Spin Serve,  Slider Serve,  “Spinning Jenny” Serve,

Cut Backhand, 

Many tennis players have success with a specific type of game or play and sticks with it, and will try to get better at ONLY that style of their game.

The best tennis players have the ability to play more than just one type of game, and while they may have a favorite, or one they are better at, they can adapt to meet the challenge a new opponent may throw at them.

The players with the most cards to play, or type of games to call upon when needed, will win more matches, especially at higher levels of play.

This is commonly seen in players who are good at singles but struggle when they play doubles.  They may be a Base Liner, with a Big Serve, but cannot transition to a Spot Server, and a Net Rusher who also needs a good Short Game.

Or a Base Liner who’s a Big Hitter, who struggles with a Pusher, or a Lobber in a singles match?

Or an All Court Player who runs out of patience when they play a good Counter Puncher, who also has a good Lob Game?

The 80% Rule…

SUBJECT:  The Law of Tennis, the 80% Rule.

  1. 80% of the points are errors. (20% are winners)
  2. If you serve to your opponents weaker side, usually the backhand side,  you will win 80% of the points.
  3. In doubles, 80% of the winners are at the net. (80% of 20%)

So……   Keep the ball on the court, serve to the backhand, get to the net in doubles… and you will stack the odds or the math of tennis in your favor.

S.E.T. A Plan of Action

SUBJECT:  S.E.T.   A Plan of Action

S – Strategy:  Our overall plan for a match.

subtopic – Tactics:  Tactics change during a match based on conditions and situations.  ex…..Attacking the backhand. Or moving someone off the baseline.

E – Execution:  Using our fine motor skills to execute our strategy to win a match.  ex…..Placing a shot where we want it.  Poaching Effectively.

T – Tenacity:  Having the strength to execute our strategy to a final end result.

subtopic – Physical:  Being in good Physical shape

subtopic – Mental:  Being Mentally strong.

Winning at Doubles

SUBJECT:  Winning at Doubles

  1. Doubles and Singles are two totally different games
  2. Have a S.E.T. Plan
  3. Remember the 80% Rule
  4. Court position, court movement and communication is critical !
  5. Shot selection:  Baseline to Baseline, Net to Net.  (The Law!)
  6. Patience is NOT a Virtue in Doubles…  Attack, Attack, Attack.
  7. Don’t give away easy points:  double faults, overheads, open volleys.
  8. Have a Rescue Tactic:  Two Deep, or Push.

Welcome to Bubba’s World of Tennis

I’m Bill Bussey, or aka…. Bill “Bubba” Bussey and this is my site for Tennis coaching and instruction.  I’m a USTPA certified teaching professional, an AHSAA volunteer coach for Briarwood High School’s Varsity Tennis Teams in Birmingham, Alabama.  I also help coach several USTA Jr. Team Tennis teams.  This site is to help players with various parts of their game and provide a quick electronic link to notes and other helpful information.