Use Your Senses
Playing better tennis depends an awful lot upon using our physical senses. As you know our five senses consist of smell, taste, sight, hearing and touch; use of our natural gifts will lead to improved play.
You can eliminate the first two of the above smell and taste. The only way they might be involved are in extremely bad situations- first, taste would only occur if your opponent smashed it down your throat and second, if you are playing so badly that you happen to really stink that day could bring in the sense of smell.
The other three senses definitely have major roles in your game.
Sight is fairly self explanatory- tennis is a game primarily of movement and sight. How many times have you heard to keep your eye on the ball? This is the basic premise when discussing the sense of sight in tennis, but there are many other factors that include sight. Watch the opponent’s racquet before contact. If the swing is low to high expect topspin coming toward you or if the swing is high to low expect to see backspin. Topspin will cause a higher bounce while backspin will bounce lower. While the oncoming ball is in flight it is possible to see the amount of spin on the ball. If the ball has a great amount of rotation on it you will be able to prepare for a more exaggerated bounce. Also, look for the amount of pace and arc of the approaching ball to help you know the type of response needed with your preparation and shot.
Hearing comes into play when the opponent is hitting the shot. The sound of the ball coming off the racquet gives you a lot of information. First, the hardness of the hit tells you of the oncoming speed and will have you prepare for a full backswing or tell you to shorten the backswing to adjust for the power. If you hear a brushing sound during the opponent’s hit expect more spin. Lastly, if you hear the opponent hit the ball off the frame of the racquet you will probably get an erratic bounce, so beware. If you are playing a point and are at the service line or closer to the net I would advise not to let the ball bounce when you hear that frame shot.
If you don’t think sound is not important, then why did the players fight to have the airport’s take off and landing traffic changed at Laguardia and JFK outside of the US Open? -To hear the ball at contact!
Touch comes into tennis the more your ability improves. Touch and feel are basically the same thing in our discussion here. If you are recently new to tennis I urge you to carry your racquet around as much as possible so that your comfort level in the feel of different grips becomes natural to you as soon as possible.
The feel in hitting different spins and touch shots comes with ability. You will know when you have reached an upper level in the game when you can sit in your living room and mentally feel hitting your forehands, backhands and other strokes.
So, come to your senses for better tennis.
Good Luck-Have Fun!