May, 2016 |

Archive for May, 2016

Singles Play

 Singles Play

Here are some tips that will help you improve your singles game.

Before I get into some strokes and strategies that will help, I can’t emphasize enough how much your fitness will play a part in determining winning and losing a match. There are exercises and work out routines that will improve strength in the areas of the body that tennis needs-primarily legs, but I need you to work on your cardio capacity so as not to tire in the long matches and stretching to remain limber and agile-and avoid injuries.

I have discussed the five most important shots for playing good doubles, they are the serve, return, volley, overhead and lob. Now, when discussing singles you obviously need all of those- then let’s toss in the forehand and backhand slice and at least have an idea of how to hit a drop shot when you have an easy ball inside the baseline and the opponent is back behind the baseline. Developing a power weapon from the baseline will soon be discussed.

I am not diminishing the importance of the serve in singles when I say the serve is more important when playing doubles, all I am saying is that it is easier at all levels of play to break serve in singles. In doubles placement is more important than power when serving. When practicing serving for singles try flattening out the serve more for some extra power, you will get some easy points if you do. Remember the power comes from coiling in the knees and making contact up high with the toss slightly out front and at one o’clock for the flat serve.

Develop at least one shot that you can count on to put pressure on the opponent. For me, it was two, the forehand down the line and the slice backhand down the line. Those two shots won me an awful lot of matches. Try to develop a weapon you can confidently hit to either hit a winner or set up a weak response from the opponent to put you in control of the point.

Learn the forehand and backhand slice. Even if you have an awesome topspin forehand and a great two hand backhand, trust me, you still need the slice. You will need it for offense and defense. Defensively the slice will bail you out on wide shots, extremely low balls and the over powering first serve that you are having a hard time catching up to. Offensively the slice will allow you to hit an attacking approach shot when coming forward on a short low ball, remember an offensive shot does not always mean it has a lot of pace, in this case the ball will bounce low to the opponent so he or she will have to hit up to you after you have already reached the net. In singles you do not want to give the opponent the same look , the slice allows you to change pace and spins on your shots keeping the opponent guessing and out of rhythm.

Work on your serve, develop a weapon, learn the slice, don’t get angry-ever, do your cardio and stretch!

Good Luck-Have Fun!!

The Forehand

The Forehand

When attempting the forehand stroke consider racquet preparation first. As soon as your opponent has struck the ball, you should begin to move the racquet back. This allows for a smooth stroke with lots of time. If the racquet is not back early the stroke is hurried and leaves many more chances for error. A straight back or a loop backswing are both used and both are acceptable. You should experiment with both to determine which is most comfortable for you.

A Traditional forehand can be used with any of the three grips and either backswing. Let’s talk about this forehand first.

Following your opponent’s shot to your forehand pivot on the right foot so that it is parallel to the net. The left leg should turn approximately forty five degrees to the right with the shoulders sideways to the net.

tennis pictures 2 005

When starting your swing move the racquet with a low to high motion, always keep the head of the racquet vertical to the ground. As you begin your low to high swing step onto your left leg leaving half your weight on the stable back right leg. If at contact there a slight bend in the right knee you will ensure proper balance. The follow through should go toward your target and continue over your shoulder. Remember, a full finish will determine how much Topspin is created. Topspin is your controlling agent for your shots.

tennis forehand

The Traditional forehand is basically broken down to Turn/Step/Hit

tennis forehand

With tennis players around the world getting bigger, stronger and faster the game is evolving. The ever improving technology has also brought more power to the game. This leads to the more Modern forehand. We broke the Traditional down to Turn/Step/Hit the Modern is Load/Explode/Land. This forehand is generally hit with the Western grip. The Traditional is hit in more of a closed stance, that is, the left leg stepping toward the ball and net. The Modern uses a loop backswing to generate more power and spin while in an open stance.

tennis forehand

The first part of the Modern forehand is the preparation or Load. There is a loop backswing, an open stance and most importantly the weight on the bent right leg. The weight and bending on the right leg will generate the upward swing power at contact or the Explode part of the swing, when the ball arrives there is an upward push off the right leg brushing up the backside of the ball creating topspin. The trunk of the body continues rotating until the shoulders have completely turned around and the follow through complete with the racquet over the shoulder, the Land.

tennis follow through

Players just starting out should start with the Traditional forehand. Intermediates may want to begin learning the Modern since the Traditional is already comfortable. The more Advanced, Competitive and Tournament players will want the Traditional and definitely the Modern.

I recommend that players using the closed stance learn to hit in an open stance when pulled to the corner for a forehand. The open stance will give you a faster recovery back to the center of the court.

Good Luck-Have Fun!!

Volley vs. Passing Shot

Volley vs. Passing Shot

It is commonly said in tennis that a player’s first volley is only as good as he or she’s first serve or approach shot. If you are a serve and volley player in singles you need to develop a good and consistent first serve. While power on the serve is great, first serve percentage is as important for success in the serve and volley game. If you want to play the majority of points in the style you like when serving a percentage of seventy percent would be great, sixty percent still gives you the advantage, but if you are fifty percent or less you are in a losing situation. To serve and volley on your second serve, work on a kick serve. You can negate the less power on the serve with an awkward higher bounce so the opponent cannot tee off on the return; it will also give you more time to get closer to the net.

Placement in singles is not as defined as it is in doubles. The doubles serve should primarily be down the middle leaving the opponent to limited options, mainly back to you or a lob. You do need to change it up to keep the opponent guessing and if there is a glaring weakness off of one side to take advantage of, but for the most part down the middle serves are best. In singles, again down the middle does not give the opponent angles to pass with off the return, but you will want to take advantage of a weak stroke and you will want to move the serve around so as not to be too predictable. The wide serve will open up options for the return, either down the line or an angle cross court, but if you have an effective wide serve it will give you an open court to hit your first volley.

If you are the player who is uncomfortable with the serve and volley but does like to attack the net on short balls I beg you to learn the slice forehand and backhand. Most short balls are low and require the slice approach to create backspin on the ball. The backspin will keep your shot’s bounce low forcing a higher shot coming back to you for the first volley. If the ball is short and high, above the net, then shorten your backswing, use a solid shoulder rotation and hit to a corner with some margin of error, you do not have to aim for lines.

Remember the first volley is not normally the winning shot it is used to set up the next volley and allow you to close in on the net more, there is nothing wrong with a series of volleys to finally hit the winner. When moving at net after either of the above scenarios shade the side of the court you just hit the ball to. If you approached to the ad side of the court take a step from the center service line towards that side, you can still cover the cross court pass with a good split step and cross over step while at the same time giving the opponent less room to pass down the line.

I encourage you to also work on the half volley. When coming in and making the first volley around the service line you will encounter a lot of low balls at your feet. The keys to the half volley are no backswing, continental grip, bend the knees to get low and close the face of the racquet to keep your ball down. If you hit the half volley with a non-closed face the ball will float giving the opponent a myriad of options to pass. See the above pictures!

Good Luck-Have Fun!!

Six Tips To Better Tennis

Six Tips To Tennis Improvement.

1-If you are beginning to take up the sport and are taking lessons try to put in as much practice in between lessons as possible. The optimum number of hours is five, but we are all busy and that may not be possible, but if you want to save money on lessons, please practice.

If you are a player of some standing and time-here we go!

2-If you want to get higher than 3.5 on the NTRP rating system learn to use the Continental grip at least on your volleys and serves. The grip is also used on slices, drop shots, half volleys and overheads but will improve your level with the volley and serve.

When discussing the serve the grip will enable you to learn a kick and slice serve which will keep your opponent guessing, rather than always knowing that a flat serve is coming their way generally with the same speed and spin.

The grip with the volley, If hit correctly, will put backspin on the ball forcing your opponent to hit low bouncing balls back up to you at the net for an easier put away. Volleys can be hit in the Eastern grip fairly effectively, but if you volley in the Western grip that area of your game will not improve enough to raise your level.

3-Learn to hit the forehand in both the closed and open stance. I like the closed stance when the oncoming shot is in the middle two thirds of the court and the open stance when the opponent has pulled you wide. If you hit the forehand with either Eastern or Continental grip I especially like this scenario, but if you hit with the Western grip hit in the open stance whenever it is comfortable to do so. The open stance is needed in all grips when you are pulled wide so a quicker return to the middle of the court is easier and faster to accomplish.

4-If you hit the two hand backhand make sure the top hand is the controlling hand in the shot. The power and upward snap is primarily done with the top hand, this will generate more topspin on your shot with the low to high swing and create more control in power and distance.

If you hit a one hand backhand make sure the butt of the handle leads your low to high swing for topspin and also leads your high to low swing for backspin. When the butt leads the swing the face of the racquet will not turn over too early, thus maintain the correct perpendicular racquet face at contact. Remember contact is made in line with your stepping front leg with the two hand backhand and approximately a foot in front of that leg with the one hand.

5-When hitting power ground strokes from the baseline make sure the head of the racquet is below the ball before you begin your forward swing motion. I don’t care if you have a loop, straight back or middle variation of both on your backswing the head must approach the ball from low to high to create the topspin needed to keep the ball in the court.

6-Maybe the most important of these six tips is to follow through over your shoulder on all topspin ground strokes. Our eyes cannot see it but the ball stays on the face of the racquet, and the longer you can keep the ball on the face the more spin and control you will create. The shorter the follow through, the higher the ball will go- the longer the follow through the lower the shot will be.

Good Luck-Have Fun!!