Now, if you lose sight of the ball, it's
Few things bring as much joy as the feel and smell of nighttime air on a tennis court. But the perfect game of nighttime tennis cannot be played under poor lighting. You need to see the ball clearly and follow it well in flight-which requires as much light as possible, evenly distributed across the court.
With Har-Tru Advantage Lighting, you can improve the playing experience for as little as $12 per day. Visit hartrulighting.com to find out more.
New DVD (2 Disk-Set) – "TennisOne's Stroke Secrets: Keys to Better Groundstrokes"
Here it is! – the secrets to better groundstrokes from some of TennisOne's top writers! We've extracted, re-organized, and re-mastered many of the best TennisOne articles, videos, and newsletters on groundstrokes over the past four years.
We've packed 4.5 hours of stunningly crisp video instruction (typically 4-5 DVDs) into this 2 DVD set you'll want to keep in your tennis library for years to come. When you want a tune-up on your groundstrokes, you'll always have the best minds in the game ready at hand.The topics in this 2-DVD set include:
- Quicktips: Grips & Swing Path
- Quicktips: Using the Body
- Quicktips: Tactics & Strategies
- Balance & Posture
- Rotational Drive
- Stop the Chop
- Orientation & Swing Path
- Compact Swing
- Controlled Power
- Effortless Swing
Members Receive a 20% discount
Public – $99.95; TennisOne Members – $79.95 (login first to access)
Tennis Warehouse – New Products –Victoria Women's Apparel - Panel Tank, Flare Skort, Print Tank, Cap Sleeve, Knit Jacket
Open and Closed Stance Forehands:
Is it One
or the Other?
David W. Smith, Senior Editor, TennisOne
Click photo to go to website: Nadia Petrova's classic open stance forehand.
Regardless of whether you are a teaching pro or a ‘student of the game’ your understanding of why both stances are not only important in today’s game, but that the use of the closed or neutral stance—as both a learning tool as well as a mandatory shot in many situations—is equally important for all levels of players.
Having taught tennis for 32 years, I have seen the ramifications of many tennis teaching methods and philosophies on hundreds, if not thousands of players. Anyone who has visited public tennis courts or most tennis clubs can attest to the multitude of players who can not transition from relatively ‘basic’ tennis skills (those usually found among those millions of players who perpetually reign at the 3.0 or 3.5 levels of play), to progressively more advanced play. Most common are inadequacies found in the ability (or inability!) to volley or serve well, (more specifically, serve effective 2nd serves!). However, because we see so many pros use the open stance forehand, many teacing pros today are prescribing this stance to beginners.
Click photo to go to website: James Blake uses a neutral stance after moving up to a short ball, attacking it with a subtle back leg 'kick' before he continues forward with his next step.
The problem for many is the inability to learn how to close the upper body when the hips and the feet start open. Such stroke patterns usually result in the player swinging only with the arm, in effect, learning to ‘push’ the forehand instead of develop a smooth, angular stroke. (If the shoulders are too open too early, a player using a normal stroke will pull the ball out wide. For compensation of this feeling, the player will unconsciously lay the racquet back and push the arm out toward the target.)
I have never seen a player who was first taught the closed stance forehand not be able to evolve, almost naturally, into an open stance. It usually takes one or two days to gain an affinity for the stance. (I’m sure there are many exceptions. However, I have taught over 3500 players and have seldom ever had a player fail to easily make the transition.)
The dynamics of the open stance forehand, of loading the inside foot, coiling the upper body (usually using the off-hand and arm to help facilitate this coil), and then exploding the hips and upper body into the shot unleash a great deal of stored potential energy. Such energy can be tapped to add pace, spin, or both to the forehand. It is almost a marvel to see this almost unbridled power executed by today’s men and women tour pros. (And, among out top ranked juniors and skilled club players as well!)
Click photo to go to website: On the run, Federer steps across his body during contact and uses his back leg as a brake step.
However, when a player is on the run, the dynamics of the open stance prohibit the proper balance and transfer of energy when hitting a forehand. If a right-handed player is moving to his right to intercept a forehand, to load up on the right foot in the modern open stance method, will end up nearly falling over. Thus, we almost always see a player step across the body during the contact phase of the shot so as to have a landing foot followed by the back leg ‘braking’ the momentum of the player to aid in the recovery of the player’s position. (Which is why we call the back leg’s release on such shots a ‘brake step’.)
Such running shots (and many other forehands) can incorporate an ‘open-to-closed’ stance. That is, the player looks like they are setting up for an open stance then brings the crossover step of a closed stance in across the front of their body while swinging the forehand.
Click photo to go to website: Kim uses a neutral stance yet still finishes with a 'reverse forehand,' a pattern that takes the racquet up over her head and hitting shoulder instead of the opposite hip or shoulder as we see with most forehands.
In such shots, the closing of the front leg allows the player to accelerate the racquet within the kinetic chain of body parts. It is a lot like when a player pulls their toss hand into their chest to help force the upper body from swinging around on the serve. If a player starts their hip rotation too early, they will have to decelerate the arm swing to prevent pulling the ball. By closing the stance, the hips stop their rotation (their movement around towards the net) and allow the racquet to accelerate through the desired target line.
Make sure you have mastered both the open and closed stance strokes as you develop your own forehand. To say that you are only going to use an open stance would be like saying you will never use a slice backhand. There is a time and place for every shot. You will want to have the option of using the best shot in the right circumstance.
As always, we would love to hear from you! Questions, comments, personal experiences all create helpful dialogue for everyone! Please click here to send us your email.
Foundation Volley, Part 2
There are many ways to hit a tennis ball over the net but in tennis, as in life, all things are not necessarily equal. In part 1, Doug King talked about three ways to hit a volley and the importance of developing a sound volley foundation that will allow players to add variations. In part 2, Doug introduces an advanced drill used by many pros and college teams that will show you the nuances and feel and allow you to discover what that foundation volley is.
Learning Tennis as an Open Skill, Part 3
Wayne Elderton continues his series on learning tennis as an Open Skill. His focus today is on today Opponent-Based Perception. Have you ever experienced a situation where you should have attacked but missed the chance or didn't notice an opponent sneak into the net until it was too late? It is not uncommon for players to put opponents into situations where they can gain advantage but, because they are unable to recognize it, they don"t capitalize.
Understanding the importance of a fighting spirit is essential to becoming a great player. Some players come to the sport with a very high level of fighting spirit while others start out with very low level of fight. Rafael Nadal is a great example of someone who exudes a strong fighting spirit. Rafa sends all kinds of signals to his opponent’s that he will not go away easy. But tennis is a combative game and it is important to understand the fine line between showing a strong fighting spirit and behaving like a jerk. Jorge Capestany and Luke Jensen
ProStrokes 2.0 – Mardy Fish's Serve and Net Game
Mardy Fish turned professional in 2000 at the age of 18 as part of the new generation or promising Americans that included James Blake, and his friend Andy Roddick. Fish has won five tournaments on the ATP Tour, and has reached the final of three Masters Series events, but despite an effortless serve and one of the better two-handed backhands in the game, he has not quite lived up to his potential. Last year, however, Mardy rededicated himself, dropped nearly 30 pounds, and had a breakout year. Check out Mardy's stokes in super slow-motion here on TennisOne. New this issue, Fish's serve and net game.
TennisOne Writers Store
One of your many new benefits as a TennisOne membership is your ability to purchase selected instructional DVDs at 20% off ($7.50 off each) in our new TennisOne Writers Store (login in first to access members links):
- "Building Your Serve from the Ground Up," Jim McLennan Members Public
- "Building Your Ground Game," Jim McLennan Members – Public
- "Building a Kick Serve," Jim McLennan Members – Public
- "Underspin Backhand - Weapon," Jim McLennan Members Public
- "Achieving Peak Performance the Wholistic Way: The Mental Game," Happy Bhalla Members – Public
- "Building a World Class Serve," Phil Dent Members – Public
- "Building a World-class Volley," Dave Smith Members – Public
- "Keys to Modern Tennis Technique: One-Handed Topspin," Doug King Members Public
- "Best of Ken DeHart," Ken DeHart Members – Public
- "Corrective Techniques & Myths," Ken DeHart Members – Public
- "Defeating the Monsters in Your Mind," Ken DeHart Members – Public
- "Skills, Drills, and Games for Beginning Players," Ken DeHart Members – Public.
- "Drills for Intermediate Players," Ken DeHart Members – Public
- "Drills for Advanced Players," Ken DeHart Members – Public.
- Click here to see all the benefits of a TennisOne Membership.
- Click here to sign up for a risk-free, TennisOne 30 day free trial membership.
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