Now, if you lose sight of the ball, it's because you blinked
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.
2 Days Left to Sign-up
Just 2 days left to sign-up for the TennisOne X "Groundstrokes Unlimited" course.
We've built an entire new TennisOne X website and packed a massive amount of instructional power into a new way to improve. We think this next presentation, "Getting You Over the Wall," explains it best. If your groundstroke game has hit a wall in any of these areas, this course will get you over that wall:
- Inconsistent forehand
- Weak backhand
- Not enough topspin
- Poor movement
- Lack of conditioning
New highlights to our course:
- All TennisOne X students receive a free 12 months TennisOne membership:
- TennisOne X and "Groundstrokes Unlimited" has been designed to be the fastest way to improve your groundstrokes.
Click here to access the "Getting You Over the Wall."
Tennis Warehouse – New Products – Men's Shoes - KSWISS Tubes 100; Nike Air Court Ballistic 3 (Rafa' s shoe); Nike Lunar Vapor 8, adidas Barricade (Murry's shoe); Lacoste Repel 2 and Gravitate
The Left Hand – Part Two: The Forehand
Don't let the title of this article fool you. This is not for or about left-handed players. Nor is it exclusively for right-handers. We will use the word "left" to replace "non-dominant." In other words, right-handers should read this article as is. Left-handers should understand that we are writing about their non-dominant or left hand. The goal of this article is to help improve both your game and your understanding of how to more efficiently and effectively play tennis.
We have divided this topic into four aspects. The serve, forehand, backhand, and volley. See the previous issue of TennisOne for the impact of the left hand on the serve.
My first tennis lesson was in 1958 when I was five years old. No offense to the tennis teacher, as most taught that way in those days, but I was taught vastly differently than the way today's players hit their forehands. Tennis playing and teaching has evolved tremendously to be more athletically efficient. Years ago, it was common to see players taught to have an "arm-only" swing. The physics of sports biomechanics was a fledgling science. Since then we have learned that angular momentum (coiling and uncoiling or rotating the upper body) generates substantial amounts of power into sports like tennis, golf, baseball, and even boxing.
When tennis players appear stiff when they hit their forehand groundstrokes, it is usually because they are swinging mostly with their arm and with little body rotation. They appear to work hard to generate minimal power and are often the players with those funny armbands just below their elbows from tennis elbow.
On the contrary, efficient forehands are fluid with natural upper body and hip coil and uncoil. This is where the non-racquet hand plays a key role.
Step One: The Ready Position
Whether the left hand is on the throat of the racquet (photo #1) or lower towards the handle (photo #2), it is important to let the weight of the racquet rest in the non-dominant hand. The reason is important. The racquet hand must be at rest in between shots since the racquet hand grip will generally change between forehands and backhands. Holding on tight to the grip in the ready position hinders any attempts to change grips quickly and efficiently.
Step Two: The Take Back
In the years that Chris Evert dominated women's tennis, the straight back racquet preparation she used on her forehand was common (photo #3). Now it has become a dinosaur. Why? The reason is the evolution of more powerful forehands with heavy topspin, a style that Evert rarely had to confront. Nowadays the non-racquet hand is involved in bringing the racquet back (photo #4), which has several practical advantages over the earlier style.
The non-racquet hand is more involved in setting the angle of the racquet face and therefore the grip.
- Using the left hand as shown turns the upper body and hips to facilitate faster running in the direction of the ball.
- This "cooperative" take back also controls the size of the backswing. Just take a look at Andre Agassi's compact forehand groundstroke and how effective he returns serve with an efficient and small backswing.
- This coiling effect loads more energy into the forehand which, when combined with the resulting uncoil of the racquet moving forwards, generates tremendous power as compared to the "arm only" hitter who can be observed at any tennis facility in the world.
If someone needs help linking up the racquet hand and non-dominant hand, try a tool like the Forehand Fixer (photo #5). It simply connects to the wrists with Velcro to create a maximum 18-inch distance between the hands. If the hands separate further, the Velcro pulls apart to provide instant feedback.
Step Three: After the Hit
In recreational tennis, there's a common mistake that takes place right after a player hits a good shot. The player stands still admiring it. The obvious problem is that if the opponent returns the shot, he is probably totally out of position with a good chance of losing the point the player thought he had just won. Besides good recovery footwork, the non-dominant hand has an important role to play in recovery. Refer again to photo #1 with the understanding that you should be in that ready position before your opponent contacts the ball. It's not as easy as it sounds, but is a critical part of solid tennis.
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.
The Down-the-Line Backhand
Whether you hit it with one hand or two, the down-the-line backhand is one of the most important strokes in tennis. It is the perfect counter to crosscourt rallies, especially inside out forehands. The reward can be great gut so can the risk. You are changing the direction of the ball, the court is shorter, the net higher, and the target smaller. Using the top three pros as models, Christophe Delavaut delves into when and how to hit this shot.
Drop and Angled Volleys
Pete Sampras had one of the hardest volleys in the game, but John McEnroe, another net rusher, won many of his points by first opening up the court then dinking the volley into the vacated area. Here Tom Avery shows you how softening the hands and taking pace off the ball can be just as effective as crushing the volley and it's often much easier to execute.
ProStrokes 2.0 – Xavier Malisse Backhand
Journeyman, Xavier Malisse of Belgium has never fulfilled the promise that his early junior career showed. Considered one of the more talented and athletic players on the ATP tour, Malisse has only reached a ranking high of 19 while floating around the top 50 for most of his fourteen years on tour. Malisse brings a lot of color to the game, exhibiting not only some terrific shot-making, but a lot of emotion at times. A solid two-handed backhand complements his fluid forehand side; his first serve is as big as his kicker on his second serve. 2011 seemed to be a productive year for the Belgian, especially in doubles where his ranking has climbed to a top 30 spot for the first time in his career. New this issue, the Malisse Backhand.
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):
- "All-Court Game and the Volley: Keys to Modern Tennis Technique," by Doug King Public – Members
- "TennisOne's Stroke Secrets: Keys to Better Groundstrokes," Public; Members
- "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.
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