Tennis Lesson Plan

Instructor: Diane Sieverson

Diane has taught all subjects at the elementary level, was the principal of a K-8 private school and has a master's degree in Measurement and Evaluation.

If you are starting a unit on tennis for beginners, include this lesson to help students learn the parts of the court and basics of the game before stepping on the court. You will find some tennis games to help students enjoy the game and build a few of the key skills they will need to become tennis players.

Learning Objectives

After this lesson, students will be able to:

  • Identify the different parts of the tennis court
  • Explain how to score a game
  • Explain how to score a set
  • Explain how to score a match


  • Part one of this lesson will take 45 minutes.
  • Part two of this lesson will take two hours, and can be arranged and repeated during subsequent class periods as necessary to improve court skills.

Curriculum Standards


Integrate information presented in different media or formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively) as well as in words to develop a coherent understanding of a topic or issue.


  • White board
  • White board markers
  • Tennis court(s)
  • 8 Cones
  • One tennis racket per student
  • Tennis ball hopper
  • Enough tennis balls to fill the hopper (you may choose green tennis balls, which are designed for kids 10 and up who are learning to play and are slower and easier to hit, or start with the yellow regulation balls)

Key Vocabulary

  • Game
  • Set
  • Match
  • Baseline
  • Service Line
  • Right Service Court
  • Left Service Court
  • Center Mark
  • Singles Sideline
  • Doubles Sideline


Part One (takes place in the classroom)

  • Ask how many students have played or watched tennis before. Then ask the class to brainstorm everything they think they know about the game and record their answers on the board.
  • On the board, write 'Match', then 'Set' under the word match, and finally 'Game' under the word set. Have students read 'Game. Set. Match.', 'Winning Tennis' and 'Service' in the text lesson Tennis Rules & Scoring.
    • Ask how many sets must be won to win the match. In most matches, the answer is 2 out of 3 sets, which you will write on the board next to the word 'Match'. Point out that if a singles player or doubles team wins the first two sets, the third set isn't played. Also note the exception, but don't write it down: In Grand Slams, like Wimbledon and the U.S. Open, the answer is 3 out of 5 sets, but only for men. Singles women and all doubles matches still only play 2 out of 3 sets.
    • Ask how many games must be won to win a set. The answer is 6, but the set must be won by two games. Write this on the board under 'Set'. Explain that, if a set goes to 5 games per singles player or doubles team, they play until one wins 7 games to 5 games, or they play a tie-break if both singles players or doubles teams make it to 6 games each.
  • Next, read 'Game Scoring' and 'Deuce'.
    • Ask how many points it takes to win a game. The answer is 4 points. Draw a copy of the game scoring chart found in the lesson or show the one in the lesson. Emphasize that the points aren't called zero, one, two, three, four. They are called love, 15, 30, 40, game. If both singles players or doubles teams get to 40, or 3 points each, the score is called deuce. Someone must win the game by 2 points, which means a game may go to deuce several times until a player or team wins 2 points in a row.
  • Finally, read the remainder of the lesson. Draw an unlabeled tennis court on the board. Using the lesson, label the parts of the tennis court. Explain that you will use these terms when the class starts playing some court games.
  • Review the students brainstorming answers and discuss which ones were correct and which ones were not. Discuss the scoring to reinforce the concepts and review the labeled tennis court. Erase the labels and ask student volunteers to come to the board and label one section of the court, until the entire court is correctly labeled.

Part Two (takes place on the court)

  • You may begin part two of this lesson on the same day as part one, depending on your schedule, or review part one in the classroom before moving on to part two on the court, if you start it on a different day.
  • Proceed to the tennis court(s) and choose all or any combination of the following tennis games to introduce your students to skills they will need to play a game. Use these games to reinforce the key vocabulary terms of this lesson.
  • Game 1: Super Servers

Have students form two lines behind the baseline on one side of the court. The first student in each line will come to the service line with a racket and tennis ball they got out of the hopper set up on their side of the court. They will then say love-love, to indicate that they are both starting at zero.

First, the student standing on the service line in the right service court box will serve cross court, across the net into the right service box, and then the student standing on the service line in the left service court box will serve cross court, across the net into the left service box.

The ball must land somewhere in the opposite service box, or on a line outlining the service box. After the serve, they will call the score accordingly. If neither got it in the opposite service court, the score is still love-love. If one got it in and the other didn't it is 15-love, and if both got it in, it is 15 all. Those players go to the end of their line and the next players come up to the service line.

The next players call the existing score from the previous players and the process starts again with the player in the right service court. The line that gets to 4 points (or game) or two points in a row after deuce (40-40) wins that game. Then a new game starts. If you have time, you can count these games toward winning a set.

  • Game 2: Short Shots

Break your class into 4 groups and put the ball hopper in the middle on the service line. There should be 2 groups on each side of the court, with 1 group at each corner. The first person in each line will come to the service line in front of the service box on their side of the court. You will have four players at a time on the court.

The players directly across from each other will hit the ball to each other from the service line as many times as possible while keeping it in the service box. If it goes out, the next two players, one from each side, step up to the service line and the players that just finished go to the back of their lines. Rotate through so that students get several opportunities to hit.

The goal is to hit the ball back and forth as many times as possible while keeping it in the service box.

  • Game 3: Cross Court Cones

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