It's all about the volley
It's all about the volley
Beach Tennis is a variant of tennis that is played on sand, using a padel type racket and a decompressed tennis ball. The net is higher than a regular tennis net, but lower than a beach volleyball net. The ball is not allowed to bounce and the court is the same dimensions as a beach volleyball court. The major format played across the world is Doubles.
The objective of the game is to play the ball over the net and for it to hit the ground on the opponent’s side of the court or force the opposing team to play a fault.
To start a point the designated server hits the ball over the net from the baseline, after which the receiving team must play the ball back. This action is known as the “return of serve”A rally continues between the two teams until the ball hits the ground, goes “out” or a player makes a fault when trying to play the ball.
If a team wins a rally they win a point. Unlike beach volleyball, the same server continues to serve throughout a game.
There are 2 organisations that govern the sport globally. The International Federation of Beach Tennis (IFBT) and the International Tennis Federation (ITF). For the full rules of Beach Tennis please download the latest rules document from the ITF or the IFBT
The playing area in Beach Tennis is known as the court, and it consists of two sidelines, 2 baselines, and a net. The playing surface is sand. In competitions there must be 1.5m between posts on opposing courts and 1.5m of unobstructed space behind the baseline
The net separates the two side of the playing court. The height of the net for adult women is 1.7m and is 8.5m wide when taught across the court generally with a 1m drop. The net is made up of 10cm square mesh and there is a flexible rod attached to the net, called the antenna, which helps identify faults during play.
The posts which support the net and keep it in place are slightly higher. They are placed between 0.7m and 1m outside of the each sideline
The ball looks like a regular tennis ball as it’s the same size and weight but has been decompressed by 50% which means it moves slower in the air after rebounding off a beach tennis racket.
Very similar to the stage 2 orange tennis ball, the ITF approve all balls that can be used for ITF beach tennis events. They are currently trialing a purple and orange variant of the ball to be used exclusively for night time competitive play
Scoring in Beach Tennis is very similar to that of regular tennis. A standard Beach Tennis Match is made of 1 to 3 sets. In order to win a set a player or team need to win at least six games. To win a game a player or team need to win at least 4 points.
All games scoring starts at zero-zero also known as “love”. The serving team or player (if singles) running score is the zero on the left and team or player receiving the serve is the zero on the right. If you win a point at 0-0 (love-love) and you are the serving team the score changes to 15-0 (fifteen-love). The point increments are 0, 15, 30, 40. If the server/serving team win the next point the game score changes to 30-0 (thirty-love), then 40-0 (forty-love), the next point is game point. Which if the serving team or player win, wins the game and the set score changes to 1-0 (one-love).
0 points = Love
1 point = 15
2 point = 30
3 points = 40
Tied score – All
40 – 40 – Deuce
In any instance where the team or player receiving the serve win the point then the score would reflect this by the score on the right side changing up in the same increments, 0-15 (love-fifteen) 0-30 (love-thirty) 0-40 (love-forty). If both teams/players win points during a game the score can increment on both sides. Where both teams score 3 points the score changes to Deuce (40-40).
How Beach Tennis game scoring differs from the regular game of tennis
1. There is NO advantage after deuce. Whoever wins the point at deuce wins the game
2. There is NO second service
3. There are NO service lets. If the ball hits the net on the serve and proceeds to cross over the net into the opposing court and it is then grounded then the server wins the point.
To win a set a team or player (if singles) need to win at least 6 games (by two clear games) so to win a set when the set score is 5-5 the winning team would need to win by 7-5 or 5-7. At 6-6 a tie-break game shall be played.
Tie break games start at 0 – 0 and then increment by 1 for each point won. Zero, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 etc. The first team or player to 7 points by 2 clear points (e.g. 7-5) will win the game and the set. The tie break game must continue until a two clear point margin exists.
In a tie break game, the next person who would have served in the normal game rotation will serve the first point only. The next two points are then served by the opposing team or player who would have served next in the rotation. After this, each team or player shall serve alternately for two consecutive points until the end of the tie-break game. The rotation of the server in all instances follows the same order as during the set.
The serve is the term used for a playing putting the ball into play to start a point. A serve is executed by striking the ball with the racket, either overarm or underarm.
Before the serve the server should be at rest with both feet behind the baseline. When ready the server releases the ball into the air and hits the ball with the racket before it hits the ground.
If the server walks or runs prior to prior to completing the serve, or touches the baseline or court with their foot, this is considered a foot fault and the receiving team will win the point.
A number of faults can happen during the service, any of which will result in the server losing the point.
1. Foot fault
2. Server misses the ball when they try to hit it
3. The ball touches a permanent structure on the court or the net post
4. The served ball touches the servers body or clothing or the body, clothing or equipment of their partner
There is no second service.
There are a number of ways to win a point in Beach Tennis during play.
1. The server serves a fault, performs a foot fault; the opponent wins a point
2. The ball hits the ground inside the court area, the team on the side of the court the ball landed lose the point
3. The ball hits the ground or an object outside of the court, the last team to touch the ball lose the point
4. The ball hits a permanent fixture on the court or the post – the last team to touch the ball lose the point
5. A player deliberately carries or catches the ball in play on the racket – they lose the point
6. A player deliberately touches the ball with the racket more than once – they lose the point
7. A player or their racket, whether in a player’s hand or not, touches any part of the net system at any time while the ball is in play – they lose the point
8. A player or their racket, whether in a player’s hand or not, touches any part of the opponents court at any time while the ball is in play – they lose the point
9. A player hits the ball before it has passed the net – they lose the point
10. The ball in play touches a player or anything that that player is wearing or carrying, except the racket – they lose the point
11. The ball in play touches a racket when a player is not holding it – the rackets user or team lose the point
12. Both members of a doubles team touch the ball when returning it – they lose the point
13. A player of the receiving or serving team enters any part of the Prohibited Service Return Zone before the ball is in play
Like all sports Beach Tennis has it’s own language. Below we cover off the main terms used in the sport today.
An ace is where the serve is the winning shot in the point. The receivers were not able to return the ball legally.
When the score gets to 40-40, it’s known as ‘deuce’. Once at deuce, the next point wins the game.
A common shot in beach tennis where the ball is hit softly and just over the net making it difficult for your opponent to reach the ball before it hits the sand.
A lob is a tactical shot used in beach tennis that sees the player hitting the ball high and deep into their opponent’s side of the court.
All games start at ‘love’. Another name for zero.
A rally is the sequence of play after the service until the ball is out of play or a fault occurs
The shot that gets a ball into play at the start of a point
The smash is an attacking shot played at the net where the point of contact with the ball is high above their head. The aim is to smash the ball down into the opponents side of the court at high velocity.
Every shot in Beach Tennis is technically a volley as the point of the sport is to hit the ball before it hits the sand.
The windmill is a defensive shot in beach tennis generally used when defending a lob that’s caused the player to be out of position to play a regular shot. The player reaches back in a sideways position to reach and play the ball with control. It is called the windmill, due to sweeping motion of both the racket arm and the free arm that is similar to how windmill arms move