May, 2015 |

Archive for May, 2015

Tennis-Loose& Feel

Tennis-Loose& Feel

Tennis is a sport that requires muscle memory- you need to be able to feel your strokes mentally.

There is much discussion in tennis about feel or touch, knowing the amount of power (or lack of) when hitting a certain shot. The feel in brushing up the ball when hitting topspin is one, the touch when hitting a drop shot is another, there is a feel in all shots that have some degree of spin on the ball. There is even a feel when hitting flat serves or overheads. When you have developed that feel it is much more mental than physical. While your hand may be performing the act it can’t think or feel, but the mind has developed and remembers what the feel is to hit the ball correctly and tells the hand how to react. So, when you can sit on your couch and feel your body movement and the ball coming off your racquet for all your strokes you have made a monumental advancement in your game. A friend of mine up north, who was very good, used to sit at home the night before a tournament match and play out the points in his head, especially if he knew his opponent, talk about feel and having a game plan.

Now, you want power in your ground strokes, right? To generate power you must be loose in the body. Power comes from racquet head speed and if the body is too rigid there is no fluid motion to create that speed. When hitting power topspin the first area to consider when discussing looseness is the wrist. Your wrist must be loose to snap up the backside of the ball. Power in the serve comes from coiling the body, again loose, and a loose arm and wrist to snap up and outward for a spin serve or up and over for a flat serve. The same can be said for the overhead. Two hand backhand players must keep both wrists loose for topspin, especially the top hand on the racquet since that is the wrist generating most of the power.

A quick reminder, while you need the body loose, the wrist is firm when hitting forehand or backhand slices, volleys and drop shots.

Shoulders and hips are loose during ground strokes to generate power through rotation. Shoulder rotation is another key to head speed with a sideways turn in preparation and rotating through the shot for a complete over the shoulder follow through, in either open or closed stances.

Now you have it-Feel your shot mentally and stay Loose!

Discover all the strokes from my book “Winning Tennis Strokes”-Learn with me one-on-one-Join the Members Club (30 day free trial)-Go to the Home Page for more info! Share this site on Facebook and Twitter.

Good Luck-Have Fun!!

Tennis Business Opportunities

Tennis Business Opportunities

There are some business opportunities for someone in the tennis world.

First, there are two banner links on my home page, one of them is coming off. If you have a business either in tennis or some other field and want the great exposure of a banner link straight to your site get in touch with me for details.

If you are a tennis pro and want to start your own instuctional site I own the two best domain names after onlinetennislessons.com. They are onlinetennislessons.org and onlinetennislessons.net.

For information concerning the above opportunities please contact me at bill@onlinetennistraining.com

Play Well-Have Fun, Bill Longua

P.S. Another lesson post on Friday 5/29

Faults and Cures

Faults and Cures

Beginners and Intermediates

There are many common problems in the beginner and intermediate levels, problems that seem to be universal in nature. I am listing the ones I have seen most often.

LATE RACQUET PREPARATION

Late preparation is perhaps the most common fault in tennis. Whether considering forehand or backhand early racquet preparation is a must. Ideally, as soon as your opponent hits the ball, you should begin to bring the racquet back. I have already pointed out that excess motion causes errors, so, if the racquet is hurriedly pulled back as the ball is almost upon you it will cause an erratic and too quick of a swing. When centered in the court or moving after a shot, always take the racquet back as soon as possible. A guideline for you is by the time your opponent’s shot lands on your side of the court, the racquet should be back. Make sure when preparing the racquet that your shoulders are also rotating sideways.

 

SNAPPY WRISTS

If your shots are continually going too high or landing outside the court, first check your grip. Assuming the grip is correct, the next cause of these faults could easily be a too loose wrist at the point of contact. Basic drives are hit low to high with a firm wrist. Topspin is hit with a controlled upward wrist snap. Loose wrists will cause erratic higher shots, especially if the wrist snap is straight ahead instead of the correct low to high.

Other areas that will cause high uncontrollable shots are: 1- not keeping the face of the racquet parallel, 2- your contact point is too late, 3- hitting the ball too close to your body.

INCONSISTENT TOSS

The key to a good serve is a good toss. What makes the toss difficult for the beginner is plain lack of practice; the toss is done with the opposite hand, so it can be tough at the start.

To toss correctly the arm should be slightly bent and the hand slightly downward. Hold the ball by your first three fingers and thumb to gain the most control, then, lift the ball until the arm is extended and release. Remember the toss is lifted not thrown.

The height of the toss is determined by your height and arm extension. Extend the arm and racquet above your head, on your toes, and about a foot in front of your body. [For a flat serve] Where the racquet is at that point is the hitting zone, the height of the toss is slightly above the hitting zone. A spin serve toss will be directly over the head.

Play Well-Have Fun!!

Kick Serve Again

There are three basic serves in tennis, flat, slice and kick. A fourth, the American twist, used to be popular but is out dated and caused too many back issues, stay away from it. The kick serve is a must to play advanced tennis. Let’s discuss the kick, but first go over a few items about the others.

The flat serve is normally a player’s first serve, hoping to generate power for an easy point or at least a weak response leading to a winning shot. If the service grip is correct, in the Continental, a flat serve will have some spin on the ball giving the player more control. Consistency and timing are the main factors for the flat serve, if your first serve percentage is sixty or higher you are doing well, below fifty you need to practice much more.

The slice serve is the least used serve in advanced tennis. It’s good to have the serve in your arsenal but is used sparingly, mainly to occasionally surprise your opponent by slicing the serve wide trying to pull your opponent off the court, leaving you with an open court to hit into after the return.

The kick serve is the most important of the three. Advantages with the kick are many. In singles it should be your second serve, the ball will bounce up higher than normal, around the opponent’s shoulders, causing a much more difficult return, still leaving you in an offensive position even though your first serve was a fault. If your first serve is not working too well on a particular day the kick serve is available as your first serve so the opponent does not get comfortable assuming your first serve will be a fault. The kick serve in doubles is a must. Doubles is all strategy and court positioning and holding serve is the key to winning matches. Power on the first serve is not as important as placement; the kick serve is easier to control than the flat so placement will keep you on offense. In doubles, the serve should primarily be down the center unless one side of the opponent’s return is so weak it must be exploited.

The keys to the kick serve are: the Continental grip, turn more sideways to the net, toss the ball directly over your head and hit the ball up causing topspin. Go to my Home Page for links to my 117 lesson app “Complete Tennis Mastery”.

Good Luck-Have Fun!!

 

Kick Serve

Kick Serve

There are many different questions concerning the kick serve, let’s try to answer some of them now.

Someone has asked about the American twist serve versus the kick serve. In years past there were considered four types of serves, flat, slice, kick and the American twist, because of many back injuries caused by the exaggerated bending of the back I urge everyone to forget about it. It did bounce up an out more than the kick but it is not worth the effort or risk. Today there are really only three serves, flat, slice, (which is used the least) and kick; I’ll stay with the questions on the kick serve.

The basics are: use the Continental grip so the face of the racquet is properly closed, turn the body a bit more sideways to the net as opposed to the forty-five angle needed for the flat serve, toss the ball directly over your head and coil with a knee bend to allow you to explode up when making contact with the ball. There I just covered four of the questions I found; now let’s go a little deeper.

The kick serve is hit up the back of the ball as opposed to over the top on a flat serve. You need to generate topspin so the ball will kick up high to the return player, making a more difficult return. If you try to hit over the top it will end up in the net. The Continental grip allows you to hit up and still bring the ball down.

Why should I use a kick serve? The kick serve is a great second serve in singles. It allows you to take some pace off the ball so there is no double fault and make your opponent have to hit a more difficult return because the ball is generally up at the shoulders than a comfortable shot-waist high. In doubles, the kick is great for both the first and second serves. Since placement in doubles is many times more important than power the kick serve is an excellent way to accomplish that. Also, it will give the server more time to get in if the server is a serve and volley player.

The kick serve needs to have the racquet behind the head, the arm and wrist are loose to create power and snap. Whether you use a traditional service motion or keep it compact by bringing the arm straight up the side it must be loose and up. Think “open armpits”!! If the armpit is open the racquet is high enough, if it is closed the racquet is too low for the correct upward snap.

Go to my Home Page for links to my 117 lesson app “Complete Tennis Mastery”

Good Luck-Have Fun