Monday, March 28th, 2016 at
Let’s begin with the forehand grip. Many pros use different grips successfully; they are the Eastern, Western and Continental.
The Eastern grip is attained by shaking hands with the racquet. Place the palm of your hand on the strings of the racquet while holding the racquet vertical to the ground. Then slide your hand down to the handle and close your fingers. The thumb is resting beside and touching the middle finger and the index is slightly separated. The “V” that is formed between the thumb and index finger should line up down the center of the racquet.
To locate the Western grip, start with the Eastern and move the ”V” , which we will say is at 12:00 o’clock while in the Eastern, and move it slightly to the right or 11:00 o’clock.
The Continental is found by moving the “V” to the left, or 1:00 o’clock.
All three grips are fine. You should find one that is most comfortable for you. In today’s game the Eastern and Western grips are used for the forehand stroke more often than the Continental.[The Continental grip is an extremely important grip for many other facets of stroke production and will be covered in detail later on]
Good Luck-Have Fun!!
Sunday, March 20th, 2016 at
What should you do when facing an opponent who tends to make questionable line calls? Here are some personal experiences of mine, some will be examples of how not to handle it but some are more mature. Tennis is on the honor system and is one of the reasons it’s such a great game.
Let’s get the obvious one out of the way. Do not hit anybody, you can get arrested.
Unless you are in some important tournament players must make their own line calls, you have to make up your mind how important the match is to you to decide to what degree your action should be if faced with bad calls. Tournaments or team matches are obviously more important than a pick-up match.
I have played in countless matches and if it’s team or tournament they are important to me, but 99% of the players are honest. You have to start with that premise. If bad calls start to happen, here’s what to do. First decide if the player is actually cheating or just has bad eye sight. There is a difference even if the result is the same. In either case you begin politely and never on the first bad call, in fact I start on the third. We have all made bad calls in our lives by mistake, it’s the nature of the beast, so you have give the benefit of the doubt. Once you’ve reached the third one call the opponent up to the net and politely mention that you have noticed some calls that you thought were incorrect, most times that is sufficient. If you are in a tournament and it continues stop play and ask for a linesman. Do not get rattled because that is exactly what the opponent is trying to get accomplished. Bad calls will not be necessary anymore if you are mentally out of it. Juniors should call for a linesman in a tournament or their coach if playing for a club, high school or college team.
The tricky part comes when playing a league doubles match. You can try to ask for a linesman but there is probably not one around. After the first net encounter I appeal to the opposing partner’s heart of fair play and ask him to overrule the call. He may not overrule that call but I have found he will start to so as not to be lumped in as a cheater also. If bad calls are being made and the partners are doing nothing about it they are just as guilty and you can remind him or her of that fact.
Since I’m not Freud I not going to get into why some people purposely make bad calls, but I will say there are good and bad cheaters. Bad cheaters make bad calls anytime and rarely win because some action has been taken. Good cheaters make bad calls only when it counts and sometimes may win. A good cheater never makes a bad call at one all in games and fifteen all, they make it at four all in games and deuce.
Okay, enough about bad calls, I feel a bit awkward even writing about it but it has popped in the search words I see. What makes tennis so great is the heat of the battle while knowing the opponent is working just as hard as you and trying to be just as fair.
Good Luck-Have Fun!!
Sunday, March 6th, 2016 at
Pass with Smarts
Let’s go over some important factors when you are playing an aggressive, attacking player.
First, if you are playing a serve and volley player the key to success begins with the return of serve. I have covered the return in previous articles, but when facing this type of player you need to do three things to enhance the odds of getting a good look at a passing shot. One is to move in a step or two closer if your normal return position is a step behind the baseline. Two will be to utilize the split step. You will want to be moving forward and split step right before the server’s contact is made so you have forward momentum and have landed balanced on the balls of both feet to return comfortably either way allowing you to step into the return. Three will be to shorten the backswing with a good shoulder turn. Sometimes facing a hard server is not a bad thing, you will use the oncoming pace to generate your own pace on the return. Too large of a backswing will cause a late hit and or a high return making the opponent’s first volley an easy one. These three things combined primarily do two things, get the ball back faster and lower so the opponent is not able to get as close to net as he or she desires and then volley a low ball, hopefully creating a weak response. Most good passing situations are created they are not always there on the first shot. Another good return to serve and volley players, especially in doubles is the chip, or abbreviated slice return, it will take some pace off the ball and keep the ball down.
The same holds true during a point and your opponent is rushing the net after hitting a good approach shot, you do not have to hit a clean pass, the shot is probably not there. Most matches are won by correct shot selection and less errors, not clean winners-be patient. Try to make sure that your first ball back to the opponent is low and maybe a bit wide to force an awkward volley, then anticipate (keep your feet moving-do not watch) and the court will open up more for a comfortable pass, just like when facing the serve and volley player.
If the pass is there on the first approach or you have grooved in on the first serve of the opponent, by all means take a shot at it. Remember cross court is always safer because you are hitting over the lower part of the net, but if down the line is open-nail it!
Lastly, if the opponent has reached the net and is comfortably in position do not forget the lob. Again, shot selection is key-set up the point-hit the lob and move to net behind it. Move in while your shot is in flight not after it has already bounced, if you watch your shot land and then move in you will get caught at the service line or worse, in no-man’s land.
Remember the links on my Home Page for my 117 lesson app “Complete Tennis Mastery”.
Good Luck-Have Fun!!