Weekly Tip for Summer 2019
8/19/19: Vertical Movement
Judge each shot as it is coming at you. Set up your backswing/prep accordingly and make sure you hit the ball in your hitting zone and on the outside of your swing. If you are falling backward when you make the shot, make sure you have good balance during the swing and on the “landing” or finish.
8/4/19: Changing the Direction of the Shot
Hitting the ball back in the same direction is a safe shot, but may not be an offensive shot since you are, in effect, hitting the ball right back to your opponent. Anytime you hit the ball away from the opponent or change the direction of the shot it is more prone to an error. Choose your direction change shots carefully. You should have a good set up, strike the ball in your hitting zone, be in good position, and be well balanced. Practice direction change shots with a practice partner or your pro and increase your success rate on direction change shots.
8/4/19: The “Kill Zone” in Singles
In singles play, always look for that shot that allows you to either win the point or open up the court. This zone is shallow and off to the sides, near the singles line. Use the angle to hit a shallow, topspin shot to hit a winner or open up the court. finish off the point with a routine shot into the open court.
7/29/19: More Tips on Volleys
Don’t be concerned about “STICKING” your volleys. By trying to hit them hard and deep, you run the risk of making the error. Consider “floating” a deep volley deep by hitting higher over the net and keeping it close to the baseline. This is less error prone and backs up your opponent, forcing them to his an off balance return. You may even be able to predict a lob coming back. Hitting high volleys should be easy, but many times we hit them right into the net! When hitting high volleys, START HIGH – FINISH HIGH. DON’T HIT DOWN! Hit straight out and let gravity pull the ball down. Practice changing the direction of your volleys so you will be comfortable do so under competitive situations.
Split step when your opponent strikes the ball. When you see the ball coming at you, set your racquet with the Continental grip, don’t swing back, just stick your racquet in front of you and let the ball bounce off the strings! It’s as simple as that! Not really, of course, there are many other factors involved, but volleys really are the SIMPLEST SHOT IN TENNIS.
7/8/19: Poaching & Covering
When playing doubles, don’t let floating returns or balls flying close to you at the net, go past you. Cut it off as a volley! Be ready to move forward and across in front, close to the net, when your partner is engaged in a baseline to baseline cross court doubles rally. Be a distraction while you are at the net, make your opponents think that you will cut across and cut off the shot at any time. It’s like stealing base, it’s a talent and a skill and needs to be practiced, but don’t be afraid to make your move! Move early and forward to give yourself a better angle for the volley. Hit it directly ahead, by the opposing net player. Don’t hit it back to the other side, you’ll be leaving that side of the court open for the return. Poach or threaten to poach often and keep your doubles opponents off guard and distracted!
7/1/19: Half Volleys
The shot that separates the better doubles players from the mediocre players. Early recognition of the fact that you are going to have to hit a half volley is critical. As the ball is dropping to the ground, get down low and GET THE RACQUET HEAD DOWN LOW! As the ball is bouncing and coming up off the court, your racquet face should be coming up too, meeting the ball as your strings and racquet head are moving up. This helps to keep the sweet spot relevant and you’ll have a better chance of getting the ball to lift up over the net. You do not want to be chopping down on a half volley, it is very easy to lose control of your shot when your racquet is moving down instead of moving up. Making contact out in front of your leading foot while leaning your wrist back slightly is best. DO NOT SWING AT A HALF VOLLEY! Let the ball’s energy do the work, allow the ball to simply bounce off of your strings, it will go over the net without even swinging if you tip your racquet face back to enable a high enough trajectory.
Past Tennis Tips:
8/13/18: Follow your successful lob up to mid court
When we hit a good lob from the baseline, over our opponent’s head, as they turn and run back to retrieve the lob, we need to move forward to the service line to take advantage of a weak or short return. Don’t stay at the baseline and admire your great lob! Move forward to put yourself into position to take advantage of that short return. Don’t move too close to the net because you don’t know how good your opponent’s return might be. It is usually a short lob that will bounce around the service line. If we are already there, this becomes an easy overhead from mid court or a simple high volley that you can hit to an opening in your opponent’s court. Obviously, if your initial lob is short or low enough for your opponent to hit an overhead or they don’t have to run back to get it, don’t move in. But………if your lob goes over their head, MOVE UP TO THE SERVICE LINE! Put yourself into a position to take advantage of a potential short return and end the point with your next shot!
8/6/18: Approach Shots Reviewed
You MUST make that approach shot! You can’t miss it! give your opponent a chance to miss the passing shot or lob! If you miss your approach shot, you don’t even get a chance to hit the volley or give your opponent a chance to miss. The decision on what type of approach shot to hit depends on a number of things, your own court positioning, your opponents position, your ability to hit certain shots, and shot recognition. Should you hit a “floating” approach shot and dare your opponent to make something happen as you are approaching the net? Should you hit a more aggressive approach shot but run the risk of missing it? What type of spin? How deep? How hard? These are all considerations that do not have a “right” or “wrong” answer. However, there is only one answer to this next question, Do you miss too many approach shots? You know what the right answer is.
6/25/18: Return of Serve
Determine the types of serves you are going to be returning from your opponent. Watch the ball ALL THE WAY THROUGH THE SERVICE MOTION, EVEN THE TOSS! have a well timed split step. Try the “Hop Scotch” maneuver, where you take a step forward, then split step. Take short back swings on fast serves. Don’t be afraid to hit a neutral return without going for a big return and risking an error.
6/18/18: More tips on volleys
Hitting high volleys should be easy, but many times we hit them right into the net! When hitting high volleys, START HIGH – FINISH HIGH. DON’T HIT DOWN! Hit straight out and let gravity pull the ball down. When poaching, look for your opponent hitting a low volley that he/she has to hit up on, that’s a good time to poach. Remember, “High – you die, Low you go!”
5/21/18: Transition Shots
Transition shots are not just approach shots. They include approach shots, but there are also attacking shots, retrieving drop shots, and mid-court shots to to name a few. The decision on what type of approach shot to hit depends on a number of things, your own court positioning, your opponents position, your ability to hit certain shots, and shot recognition. Should you hit a “floating” approach shot and dare your opponent to make something happen as you are approaching the net? Should you slam a winner with an attacking approach shot? Where should you aim your transition shots? What type of spin do you put on them? Transition shots are very important to successful tennis.
Experienced players often have difficulty with their overheads, inconsistency, miss-hits, inaccuracy, just to name a few errors & symptoms. Overhead errors and/or inaccuracy occur for many reasons. Preparation, shoulder turn, racquet prep, opposite or non dominant hand/arm not placed, misjudging the ball, letting it drop too low are just a few issues. Try changing your racquet prep to the “crown of the head” or “archer” position, instead of the “backscratch” position. Try getting your opposite hand/arm UP toward the ball coming down. Don’t try to hit your overhead too hard, try placement and/or spin instead. No matter how good you ever get, YOU CAN NEVER PRACTICE OVERHEADS TOO MUCH AND YOU CAN NEVER HIT ENOUGH OVERHEADS!
5/6/18: Getting the ball back
On any given day at the club, take a look at all the players you’ll see. Maybe 50 players with 50 different styles of play, all at varying degrees of success. But they all have one thing in common, they are all trying to get the ball back! The number one rule, or object of the game.
No need to go into the way you hit it, just get the ball back. There are always more efficient techniques and physical aspects of hitting the ball back, those can be addressed in more details in a private lesson. The goal is to GET THE BALL BACK!