June, 2015 |

Archive for June, 2015

Wimbledon

Wimbledon

Wimbledon is now underway, so let’s see what will be going on due to the surface. Back on 4/26 I wrote about the different characteristics between clay, hard and grass courts. It is true that over the past years the Wimbledon officials have tried to make the grass a bit more player friendly by slowing the courts down some, but there still remains the basic factors needed to be successful playing on grass.

What I want you to watch for while enjoying the matches are: first-keep an eye out for points won off of first serves in, because the grass is slick players may take some pace off of their first serve to raise their percentage and increase their chances of winning the point. The monster servers are going to bang away for fast easy points. Secondly, watch for how much more often the slice backhand is used for need and strategy. The slice backhand is going to stay extremely low on the grass court making it very uncomfortable for the players who use an extreme western forehand grip to get underneath the ball to hit their topspin. This shot naturally brings players into net more often than you see in matches on other surfaces; the balls are staying lower forcing the opponent to have to hit up on their passing shots leading to easier volleys. Lastly, every so often you should watch just one player during the course of a number of points. You will notice the great footwork in between their shots, which is the same on any surface, but you will see how low they are forced to stay down while making contact on their shot due to the quickness of grass.

If you read my tips regularly you know I’m not big into commentary, but I have to with this point. When are the other Major tournaments going to join the US Open and let the players play a tie break when the score is 6-6 in the 5th set? Making the winner have to win by two games in the 5th set is out dated. To me, I find a fifth set tie break very exciting. The only things that happen using this antiquated method is tournament matches get held up, the two players, who have already put on a wonderful display are punished by having to continue play and get unfairly exhausted and the player who wins very seldom has a chance in the next round due to the length of time spent on the court. So, write your congressman- no that’s wrong- I don’t know, write somebody and complain.

Enjoy the tournament.

Good Luck-Have Fun!!

Outdoor Tennis Season

Outdoor Tennis Season

The best idea for you and your tennis playing family members is to improve your tennis game for fun and health now that the outdoor tennis season has arrived. Purchase my tennis lesson app “Complete Tennis Mastery”, 117 lessons right on their mobile device. Everything at your finger tips right there on the courts. Just $4.99.

iPhone users go to: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/complete-tennis-mastery/id882905316?ls=1&mt=8 or search the app store.

Android users go to:

http://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=projects.aarticleapplication or search Google Play under paid apps.

Good Luck-Play Well, Bill Longua

Doubles-The “I” Formation

-Doubles-The “I” Formation

There are many reasons doubles teams may want to stray from the traditional service formation to the “I” formation. Let’s go over some of them.

First and foremost is that one or both of the opponents are returning consistently well. By using the “I” formation you are taking them out of the comfort zone they were in and forcing them to think more, not to mention that they now have to adjust the return because they have to hit the ball over the higher part of the net, near the alleys. Another reason may be to use it as an element of surprise on a critical point, again causing the returner to think more and not be as comfortable. A third might be as simple as hiding a weakness of yours’ or your partner. One example maybe your backhand volley or ground stroke is weaker than your forehand, by playing the “I” formation when you are serving to the ad court (assuming you are right handed) you will serve and move to your right, keeping the weak backhand out of play.

The “I” formation is when the server will serve from the middle of the court and the partner will be at the net on the center service line (preferable) or right beside it. Make sure to talk to your partner so both know if the net player is going to move right, left or stay in the middle after the serve is struck. Whichever way the net player goes the server will move the opposite maintaining full court coverage.

You are in a doubles match and returning especially well and “voila” the opponents begin playing the “I” against you, now what? If the return begins to fail you for the reasons stated above or another, do not forget the lob. With the net player stationed in the center a cross court lob is not only safe due to a wide margin of error, but strategically sound. The server will have to cover the lob and not be able to generate a strong reply and the person at the net will have to back up to the service line, taking them out of the offensive position.

Hit the tab “Winning Tennis Strokes” to purchase my book at the top of the page. Go to the Home Page to links for my 117 lesson app “Complete Tennis Mastery”.

Good Luck-Have Fun!!

Two Hand Power

Two Hand Power

I’ve mentioned before that with the tracking system on this blog I can look to see what players are asking about, many want to know how to generate power on the two handed backhand-let’s go!

The two handed backhand is very close to a forehand on your backhand side, in other words, if you are right handed the backhand is like a left hand forehand and vice-versa. Take all the principles of the forehand and use those principles with your backhand. How do you generate power in your forehand? If you are hitting correctly the wrist is snapping up the backside of the ball, it is that wrist snap that generates your power, not by swinging the arm hard. Power comes from racquet head speed, the wrist snap will give you that head speed, it will also give you the forward ball rotation, or topspin, to help keep control of your shots.

The main power hand for the two hand backhand is the opposite hand. Again, if you are right handed the left hand will be the power hand; you will want to snap the left wrist up the back side of the ball. By generating the power with the left hand you will guarantee hitting through the ball and finishing the shot with a follow through over your shoulder. When the lead arm, or hand, in this case the right, tries to generate power you will simply push the shot, no power or follow through.

The right hand needs to be on the racquet for some pretty obvious reasons, first and foremost is that you are right handed. If it was not there would be no control. Depending on the grips you use it will also affect the face of the racquet, hopefully keeping the face level at contact.

In review- you need the opposite hand to generate the two hand backhand power by snapping that wrist up the backside of the ball for power, spin and control.

Hit the “Winning Tennis Strokes” tab at the top for complete stroke lessons.

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

Good Luck-Have Fun!!

 

 

 

 

Backhand Return

Backhand Return

I’ve taught a lot of players who used to try to hide their backhand return of serve because it was the weaker return. Try these tips if you’re in the same boat.

The return of serve is different than ground strokes for the obvious reason that the serve has generally more speed but mainly because the ball is on the rise when being struck on the return. Depending on the level of play, most players hit the ground strokes after the ball has peaked and is slightly on the way down. Top notch players will hit the ball on the rise, but top notch is in the minority of tennis players.

First, do not back up too far trying to let the ball drop, you’ll being giving up too much court space and will have a hard time recovering after the return.

 

Second, you want to hit the return early so a shorter backswing is required. Two handers will have an easier time with a fast high serve because the opposite hand can get up over the top of the ball. One handed returners should develop a slice backhand for the serves up around the shoulders. The return is hit with a very short backswing. out in front with a downward motion imparting backspin which will keep the ball low off the bounce.

To take the serve early stand about a foot back from where you want to actually hit the ball. When the opponent is going up to strike the ball take a split step forwad landing on the balls of your feet, this will have your momentum moving forward for early contact.

Lastly, making contact with your knees slightl during your step toward the ball is a must. Tennis is a game of opposites, the lower your are the higher the return. If you stand erect before contact you’ll see your return go in the net.

Go to my Home Page for links to my 117 lesson app “Complete Tennis Mastery”, all you need right on your phone at the courts. Click up top for my book “Winning Tennis Strokes”

Good Luck-Have Fun!!

Tennis Questions

Tennis Questions

Let’s go over the more common questions I’m asked while teaching.

1- When a new player to the sport comes out to begin lessons the anticipation is high and the expectations are great. Then after a period of time reality begins to click in the student’s mind that “this is not as easy as I thought, how many hours should I practice in between lessons?” The answer is not matter of fact, however five would be great. Not everyone has the time and many take more than one lesson per week, so five is not always practical. The other issue is that tennis should be fun, if it is turned into a job it won’t be. My answer is try to get some sessions in between lessons, the more you play the faster you will improve, but as long as you’re happy with the progress being made, that’s really all that counts.

2- When all my strokes become natural, so I don’t have to think about them anymore? Answer, NEVER!

While it is true that the better are players are not thinking of every little aspect of the stroke, they are however, still concentrating on over all form. After playing a long time we develop muscle memory that allows us to concentrate on placement, while still thinking about body alignment at the same time. So, there will come a time when basic concerns like taking the racquet back early will disappear, but the concentration on form will always be around.

3- Why do I have good days and then bad days?

The answer to that might have many reasons. Maybe, the kids are driving you crazy at home, work stinks or anything personal that may distract your focus.

Tennis wise, always look to your feet first. Playing good tennis is dependent upon good foot work. A very wise man told me once, tennis is forty percent mental, forty percent feet and twenty percent hitting the ball. The mental part is obvious, concentrating on consistency and choosing the correct shot for the situation you’re in. Shot selection and unforced errors are the main reason for losing matches. The movement of our feet is the key to good form and being prepared to hit the next shot. So, if you think you’re having an off day, start moving those feet, especially in between your shots.

Go to the home page for links to my 117 lesson app, all you need right on your phone

 

Good Luck- Have Fun!!