December, 2015 |

Archive for December, 2015

Which Should Be More Consistent-Forehand or Backhand?

The forehand for most players is the more confident shot when talking about the forehand and backhand. It is normally more of a weapon in matches and generally thought of as the easier shot. However, I beg to differ on the easier shot part of that statement.

When you look at the form of both strokes it is much easier to have an error on the forehand than the backhand. Wherever you are, pick up a racquet and face forward as if you are facing the net. In this little demonstration do not move your feet, now take the racquet back for preparation on the forehand and see that if you turned your shoulders it was a conscious effort. Now, do the same on the backhand, without moving the feet and see that the top half of the body is in the correct position with a shoulder rotation without a conscious effort. It does not matter if you have a one or two hand backhand; the result will be the same because the arm holding the racquet is in front of the body causing a natural shoulder turn.

tennis forehand

There is one other reason why the backhand is more natural and consistent, that is, the shoulders will remain turned through contact, as opposed to the possibility of an early open shoulder turn before contact on the forehand because the arm is behind the body resulting in a late hit or open racquet face.

tennis backhand

The stance for the forehand might be open or closed, but the stance for the backhand is primarily closed, again, due to the arm being in front. The stances dictate how long the shoulders remain in line during contact. I am not advocating a particular stance on the forehand, both are correct; I am advocating a closed stance on the backhand unless pulled wide to the sideline for a shot.

All players start out learning the forehand first. There is a mindset that thinks forehand-forward-positive. Then you learn the backhand, oh-oh, backhand-backwards- must be more difficult! Wrong, the technique is basically easier. Enjoy the backhand and do not be afraid of it, it’s your friend.

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Tennis Doubles Strategy

Tennis Doubles Strategy

I have written about doubles strategy previously, here are a few more tips I hope you will find helpful. You can find more by searching the previous articles. The pictures are of the half volley.

If at all possible try to have the better volley and overhead player returning serve from the add side. The reason is to have those stronger strokes in the middle of the court. Hitting down the middle is a constant strategy for opponents, trying not to hit directly to a player at net, especially when both opposing players are at the net. Having the stronger volley on the add side (if right handed) will result in more put away shots. The overhead can be hit more often by the stronger player if that too is on the add side. This allows the player not only to take his or her own overheads but also the one’s down the middle, and if need be, switch with the partner for overheads on the partner’s side of the court. If the stronger player is left handed player is lefthanded play the deuce side for the same results.

half volley

If you win the racquet spin you don’t always have to serve first. While I generally recommend that you do so, it is not etched in stone. If you are slow starters, as an example, it may be smarter to get some points under your belt before serving. Players with ratings from 2.5 to 3.5 generally do not have over-powering serves anyway, so the decision is not that critical. If you are in those ranges do what you are most comfortable with.

half volley

Start serving with the stronger server. I know that sounds, well Duh, but you would be surprised. All games are important, but if your team is serving to begin the set, you will have your best serve at some critical times in the match, for example: the first game, when the score is 2-2, 4-4 or begin the tie-break at 6-6.

half volley

Learn the half-volley! Doubles movement and positioning sometimes leaves us in places that we have to hit a lot of low balls that are down at our feet, by learning the half-volley you will not be popping those balls up for an easy put away.

half volley

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No Man’s Land

No Man’s Land

I am asked all the time what is the most common mistake I see from club and recreational players that cause errors, the answer is not in their strokes but in their court positioning. Even if the player’s strokes are not text book perfect many flaws can be overcome when you are in the right position on the court during the point so there is a reasonable shot to keep the ball in play.

“No man’s land (nml for the rest of the article) is the area of the court between the baseline and the service line. Players do not want to be in that area when playing the point in singles or doubles, too many balls coming toward you will be landing around your feet or continually backing you up causing errors or a weak return, either way a losing proposition. There are two other important reasons to stay out of nml, one-unless you are at the service line or net you do not want to be playing a point from a spot where the ball can bounce behind you and still land in the court, two-when the opponent hits a wide shot you have very little angle to chase the ball down with.

014

There are three stations on the court you want to be when playing, the baseline/service line or at the net. In doubles you will be at all three many times depending on the action during points, in singles you will be playing at the baseline or net, the service line will come into play when approaching the net during the point. If you are a baseline singles player you want to play the points about a foot behind the baseline. If you are a more accomplished player you will be playing the points on the baseline. Remember, it is easier to move in than back for shots. Playing from where you move forward more often keeps you in an offensive position, backing up leaves you on defense.

tennis slice

In doubles or singles the only time you will be in nml is to return a weaker paced serve. When playing singles you will hit the return and then immediately go to the center hash mark in the middle of the baseline if you are not moving into net. After the return in doubles the options are backing up to the baseline or moving in towards the service line, better yet, moving all the way forward to the net, but in either scenario, singles or doubles, you must get out of no man’s land.

tennis volley

Stick to those three court locations and watch your game improve.

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Happy Tennis Holidays

Happy Tennis Holidays

When you are sharing your holiday gifts take the smart phone from your tennis playing friends, spouse or kids and for only $4.99 give the gift they will benefit from for their tennis playing lives. It’s simple, go to their app store and search Complete Tennis Mastery and download, within minutes they will have 117 text/pictured tennis lessons covering all strokes, strategies and much, much more right at their fingertips.

Dale Kozciz, past Canadian National Women’s Doubles Champion O50 says,”Complete Tennis Mastery is extremely informative and user friendly”.

So there you are, take advantage of this great learning tennis tool for yourself, family and friends.

Happy Holidays, Bill Longua USPTA, Tennis Director/Head Pro Palm Island Resort, Cape Haze, Florida. Owner of Online Tennis Training

 

Tennis-Righty, Lefty

Tennis-Righty, Lefty

Here’s a question that maybe as old as tennis itself. If the partners are right and left handed which side of the court should they return from? I have been asked the question countless times and I give the same answer- it depends. There is a definite answer but the conditions have to be perfect.

tennis overhead

The number one doubles team in the world, and perhaps the best of all time, are the Bryan twins, Bob is left handed and Mike is right handed and their talents the same. One may return serve a bit more consistently and the other a slightly better serve but for all intensive purposes they are the same-perfect conditions. They return serve with their forehands down the middle of the court, Bob is in the deuce court and Mike in the ad court. This strategy solves two very important factors when playing doubles. The opposing servers will serve down the middle of the court most of the time so they have their strong forehands for the returns. (Please go back and read the last two posted articles, “Doubles Serve-Down the Middle” and “Doubles Service Return”) The second reason is that besides the serve much of the game is toward the middle of the court when playing out points, they now have their forehand volleys and their overheads in the middle of the court when they are at net.

tennis volley

The club and recreational players will have partners of varying abilities, so the answer generally is the stronger player, no matter which hand is played with, should return from the ad side of the court. While all points are important, all the crucial points are on the ad side. This also keeps the stronger volley and overhead down the middle of the court.

So, with all abilities being equal-forehands down the middle, when they are not-stronger player on the ad side of the court.

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Go to my home page for the links.

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Tennis Match Calm

Tennis Match Calm

 

I always found it easier to play tournament matches than team for the simple fact that if I lost a tournament match it only affected me, but if I lost a team match I thought I was letting my team members down. If you have the same feeling-forget it-all true competitors know that no one is trying to lose, just the opposite, so that nervous feeling should exist for you anymore-done.

Another fact that will help you is to know that a bit of nervousness is a good thing. It will increase your adrenalin for faster response time when playing. If the adrenalin builds up too much remember to take long deep breaths in between points to help you to calm down.

The easiest way to forget about the nerves is to try to remove the importance of the match from your mind. When playing points try to concentrate on your stroke production, such as, preparation, eye on the ball, foot work and follow through. You will be surprised of how removing your mind from the match and just concentrating on strokes will lose the nerves and cut down unforced errors.

tennis forehand

Another area to concentrate on is your foot work in between your shots. Think about keeping your feet moving which will naturally have you better prepared for the next oncoming shot.

When serving, please take your time, it is the only time during a point that you have complete control. Take some deep breaths, bounce the ball a few times and relax. The point cannot start without you. When receiving, have a plan in mind for your return, when there is a plan there is no need to be nervous.

tennis serve

Lastly, while you must keep the score in mind do not get down when a point is lost. You are going to lose a lot of them; bad vibes will only bring you down and create a feeling of panic-no need-it’s only one point.

So as you can see, to play a quality match there is way too much to concentrate on than nerves.

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Good Luck-Have Fun!!