The Five Best Tennis Lessons – Do you remember your first tennis lesson? You were probably young and very excited as you ran out onto the tennis court with a racquet in hand ready to whack the pretty colored tennis balls that were being tossed to you over the net.
You had seen the other kids do it so it couldn’t be that hard you thought? Well, you quickly found out it was not that easy to hit the moving ball and hitting it over the net seemed nearly impossible. Then when you finally started hitting the ball over the net, the tennis coach said you had to hit the ball inside the lines. Really? Now how do I do that?
Here are The 5 Best Tennis Lessons:
Use Your Natural Talents to Develop Your Game
In tennis we talk all the time about developing weapons in your game like the big forehand, the big serve, the consistent backhand or the ability to hit a variety of shots. But your biggest weapons might not be what you have learned over the years, rather your natural talents you were given at birth.
These natural talents are the springboard to reaching your peak potential, and your game style should be developed around these talents. That’s what the top professional players do, and that’s why you never see two top players play the game the exact same way.
The Tip: If you’re not sure what natural talents you have to highlight and build your game around, then I suggest you ask the last two or three players you played and beat. I bet they will be able to tell you at once what they hate about your game, and that will be your talents you will want to build on.
It All Starts in the Feet
Almost all the problems that players have can be traced back to their feet. That’s why it’s never too early to start working on footwork. Even before a beginning player or tiny-tot is ready to hit a ball, you should have them out on a tennis court running the lines.
Mistakes made by hitting the ball too late or making contact too early are directly related to the steps you take to get to the ball. One step too many and you are crowding the contact point, and one step too little and you are too far away to make proper contact.
The steps you take to the ball must be measured and calculated perfectly to make sure a proper set-up for the stroke you are about to hit. The biggest challenge here is that the ball is traveling at different speeds which requires you to move at different speeds.
So the calculating of your steps must be learned in the speeds of walking, jogging, and sprinting. All the speeds you will be required to use to get around the court when chasing balls. Now let’s go to the practice court and fix a footwork problem.
The Right Recovery Positions
Everyone has it in them to hit great shots, but it’s what you do after that great shot that is the difference in who will win and who will lose the match.
Take for example the down the line backhand shot. The recover position after hitting this shot is one step passed the center court mark. That is a long way to go, and you have to get there immediately to take away the open court.
The Tip: The key to all recovery positions is to move there as fast as possible with your body squared to the ball, and then to split step onto your toes once you get there. Practice these recovery positions over and over and soon you’ll have the court looking small to all your opponents.
Know Your Release Point
When I hear players talking about the mechanics of their tennis strokes, I hear a lot about backswing, follow through and racquet speed, but what I never hear much of is anyone talking about their release point.
The release point is the moment you transfer the built up energy from your backswing, through your shoulder turn, into the dropping elbow and laid back wrist and out through the racquet to impact of the incoming ball.
The release point is where racquet speed completes, and there is the addition of power to precise ball direction. Without knowing your exact release point, you risk overpowering or hitting powerless balls. The release point must be felt in your swing to have absolute control of your power and placement of your shots.
For example, if your serve has no power in it then you have no release into ball impact, and if you have power but can’t control it into the service box, then you are releasing but don’t have the timing of the release.
The Tip: Practice the hinging move of the release point forward then take your swing backwards to see how you got your racquet into the position to release it. Pro players are always practicing their release point after missed shots in tournaments. That’s why you sometimes see them swing through the air before and after point.
Keep a Steady Head for more Power & Accuracy
It seems today that the modern swing is such a violent act that the old theory of keeping your head still throughout the swing might not hold true or might not be as important. Well let me reassure you that keeping your head steady is still a vital part of producing a consistent, powerful swing.
In super-slow-motion video of the top players, you can see that although the body and arm motion is much more aggressive and exaggerated than it once was, the head still remains steady through-out the swing to the finish.
The Tip: Next time you are watching Federer or Nadal, on their backhand sides, watch how their heads remain steady even after the ball has left their racquets.
There is a definite moment of steadiness and focus before they turn their head and eyes to see their shot.