Tennis is an exciting game whether you are a casual beginner or a fully-fledged professional. However, misreading the bounce of a ball can negatively impact your enjoyment and – more importantly – your ability to win more points. Differing tennis playing surfaces present different opportunities and problems for players of all standards. Don't just play on one type of surface, and learn to adjust your game to get the best out of each sort of court.

Grass Courts

Grass courts are usually classified as fast playing which means that the ball will come towards you rapidly after it has bounced. Much of the energy in your opponents' returns and serves is conserved in the ball unless the grass happens to be damp for some reason. You will need to anticipate a lower trajectory of bounce than a hard court. In addition, grass courts require your positional play to be up to scratch. If you move rapidly to where you think the ball is headed, then you'll have time to return it. Conversely, waiting to judge the bounce often leads to overstretching and failing to return accurately. Bear in mind that carpeted indoor courts and synthetic grass tennis courts are fast courts, too.

Clay Courts

Clay offers a great deal more friction than other surfaces. Therefore, when a tennis ball hits it, more energy is consumed before it continues its journey. As a result, clay surfaces and many public park courts play slowly. You will have more time to fine tune your return and to adjust your body position for any spin your opponent has put on the ball. The key to playing a slow court is to return with a high degree of accuracy and trying to avoid hitting the ball as hard as you can all the time. In short, clay and other slow surfaces nullify the advantage of hard hitters and suit players with greater finesse in their game.

Hard Courts

Artificial hard courts are also fast, but the bounce of the ball tends to be higher than with grass ones. Points are won with fast passing shots and rapid serving, so you need to focus on expending all of your energy early one since you are unlikely to be playing many long rallies. Unlike a grass court, slipping should not be an issue so move as fast as you can between shots with confidence. Reduce your natural backswing because the ball will move towards you quicker than you are used to if you usually play on slow courts.