Archive for the 'Tennis Coaching' Category
Small Steps to Success

When you move to the ball, you take long steps and tend to lunge at the last second. At the point of contact, you’re off-balance and your weight is headed sideways rather than toward the ball. Your feet cause you to hit a bad shot and also hamper your recovery since you need an extra step to regain your balance.

Large Steps

Take smaller steps toward the ball. If you can get to a ball in three big steps, try five little ones instead. Good strokes aren’t just about backswings and follow-throughs, but also balance and positioning. When you take big steps, it’s easier to overshoot the ball or come up short. Small steps allow you to make minute adjustments and hit the ball in a comfortable, balanced position.

Small Steps

Here’s a footwork game that works wonders for my students: When hitting with a partner, count your steps. Each one is worth a point, and each rally you win is worth an additional five points toward your total score. The first player to reach 100 wins the game. Counting your steps will make you conscious of what your feet are doing and instantly shorten your stride. Soon you’ll be a natural at taking shorter, more balanced steps.

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Get that first serve in!

Why do commentators go on and on about first serve percentages?

Well, they do it because the serve is arguably the most significant shot in modern tennis. Typically, in a match between two pros, the server has a better win/loss ratio when the first serve goes in. So it’s important that it does go in! The first serve percentage is obviously used as an indicator of a player’s effectiveness in this area.

OK - it’s a significant factor in the pro game. Is it significant for us?

You bet it is! Apart from anything else, repeatedly using two serves per point is tiring, especially in the course of a long match. You can ill afford to waste the energy! You should be looking to get 60 - 70% of first serves into play.

Missing your first serve means there’s pressure on you to get your second serve in, and this pressure can start to affect your confidence over time. As a match progresses, a good returner will apply more pressure by moving in on the second serve and looking to attack you. So you find that it’s not enough to just get the second serve into play - it’s got to have a reasonable amount of depth and penetration as well. This added pressure can lead to double faults.

So if you’re missing your first serves, put a bit more spin on (for control) and get those percentages up again.

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