Discover what the Pros Already Know - Babolat Y Oversize Racquets
The top tennis pros choose Babolat and now the new Babolat Y line of oversize racquets brings Babolat innovation directly to club players.
Babolat Y racquets feature a high level of power and precision for all types of club players. In the lineup are the Babolat Y112 Limited, which brings top technology to high-level club players with a medium swing; the Babolat Y112 (standard or Smart Grip), which is slightly lighter for other players with a medium swing; and the Babolat Y118 (standard or Smart Grip), which has a larger head size for those players with a short swing. More than racquets, the Babolat Y line also includes an upgrade offer on VS Natural Gut string for faster response, the Smart Grip (standard on two Babolat Y racquets or available as a standalone kit) for players looking for a more relaxed game, plus tennis bags and slings.
Discover what the pros already know. Find out more about Babolat Y and locate your nearest dealer at www.babolatobsession.com.
Managing errors. Telling one’s self, “Watch the ball!” (I always wonder whether that is a monologue not requiring a reply, or a dialogue that awaits for yet another part of the brain to say, “Give me a break, I know, I am trying to concentrate.”) Playing our way through the ebbs and flows of a match. Trying to get it together. Somehow it often feels too much like a struggle, and even when things do come together, it seems to have magically occurred rather than having been made to happen.
But what exactly occurs? And if we can identify that feeling, how can we search for it more often. One thing we do know, however, when we do get this elusive thing back, it will not be about verbal self-admonitions. That we can be sure of.
Agassi vs Medvedev
Andre Agassi erased many of his stinging reversals at Roland Garros with a stirring come from behind victory in the 1999 final. Final round losses to Andres Gomez in 1990 and Jim Courier in 1991, followed by a lull in Andre’s career, were overcome by an amazing 1-6, 2-6, 6-4, 6-3, 6-4 win over Andrei Medvedev.
I had forgotten about this match, and only recently watched it on the Tennis Channel. For me, the momentum swing highlighted an issue we are all familiar with, both personally and as spectators. That is, how can we somehow have a string of errors, the ball just barely out, the stroke just barely mis-hit, and yet at other times we can and do play flawlessly? In Agassi’s case, I believe it was absorption in the task – total and complete concentration.
Click photo: Federer's head remains still before, during, and long after contact.
The match began to swing in Andre’s favor in the fourth set. And by early moments in the fifth, Andre was striking the ball perfectly, with winners played very close to the lines, while Medvedev had lost his touch (both mentally and physically). One particular replay told the story for me. It showed Andre moving forward to finish a mid-court forehand, his head absolutely still, his eyes absolutely dialed in on the ball. Much like an animal tracking its prey – total absorption in the task.
We have all seen the abnormal pictures of Federer, where his head is absolutely still at and moments after contact. Now we see similar photos of Nadal. Considering the skull weights eight pounds (more or less) and imagining the tennis stroke to resemble a spinning top (which more and more describes modern tennis), then it stands to partial reason that any motion in the skull during this hitting action would create a wobble, a perturbation that would ever so slightly disturb the accuracy of the stroke.
Let me repeat that. Any motion of the skull while swinging will influence the path of the racquet. On that particular highlight, Andre’s skull was dead still, his eyes locked on the ball. Federer and Nadal do that, what about you?
Tom Stow often taught strokes from a stool and though many times his methods were obscure, his results were always amazing.
My experience on the stool was to correct the forehand volley. Tom felt I had too much movement, and following the lines of this article, too much movement in my head. He demanded absolute balance and, for lack of a better word, total poise. So in an effort to recreate those days I am volleying from a stool, isolating just my hand and arm. The ball balanced on the hat appears to be a circus trick, but actually shows clearly whether or not my head is still.
The next time on court, closely monitor the following:
Click photo: Federer is the picture of poise even when hitting this emergency forehand from inside the baseline.
Can you turn to the side (forehand or backhand) when returning serve, but separate the movement of your shoulders from that of your skull? That is, just as Rafa and Roger stroke through the ball without moving their head, can you, at the beginning of a stroke, turn to the side without losing perfect site of the ball.
And as you move to the ball are you aware of a gliding, or rather a bouncing movement? As must be obvious, gliding will keep you head much more still. Take another look at Murray, or even Federer in his emergency forehand from inside the baseline – total and complete poise. And isn't that really the goal.
See Jim McLennan's "Essential Tennis Instruction" website.
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Racquet Head Speed on the Backhand
Years ago the backhand was considered to be a neutralizing shot. Today the backhand is a powerful weapon for many club players, juniors, and touring pros alike. Today’s lighter racquets allow the backhand drive – traditionally less powerful than the forehand – to be a much more explosive shot. Doug Eng looks at three techniques you can utilize to help turn your one-handed or two-handed backhand into a weapon by adding racquet head speed.
Hammer That Serve
Pat Dougherty, aka the "Serve Doctor" at the Bollettieri Tennis Academy, talks about "hammering the serve." Why hammering – because the racquet is just a tool much like a hammer and if you learn to use it effectively, you're going to get much better results. Pat uses the fence as a training tool (yes, the one that's on the back of every court), and regardless of the grip you use, there, he teaches you to impact the ball like a hammer hitting a nail.
Who Will Win the French Open?
In early May, proud and prickly Serena Williams declared: “We all know who the real number one is. Quite frankly, I’m the best in the world.” Well, since then she hasn't won a match. So, who's the best might just be settled at Roland Garros next weekend. As for the men, at least on clay, despite Federer's upset in Madrid, it's all Rafa all the time. So, who will win the French this year? Paul Fein has some definite opinions on the subject..
ProStrokes 2.0 - Stanislas Wawrinka Forehand
Stanislas Wawrinka, he of the elegant one-handed backhand, and stalwart of the Swiss Davis Cup team. Stanislas has been consistently ranked in the top twenty the past few years and in 2009 he has a win over Roger Federer in Monte Carlo, he played Nadal neck and neck, losing 6-7, 6-7 in Miami, and went down by the same score to Djokovic in Palm Springs. But revel in his beautiful backhand. He makes a turn to the eastern backhand grip and takes big swings at the ball. This is not the one-handed backhand chip but more like topspin backhands of old (think Edberg and Becker). Check out Stanislas Wawrinka's game in the all new TennisOne ProStrokes Gallery 2.0.
The Etcheberry Experience DVD
For more than twenty years Pat Etcheberry has been providing athletes from around the world with the winning edge. We call this the Etcheberry Experience, and players with an Etcheberry experience have hoisted Championship Trophies at over one hundred major championships, including 28 Australian Opens, 18 Wimbledons, 22 UP Opens, 22 French Opens and 15 Olympic medals.
And now it's your turn! This is your chance to experience the same drills, exercises and words of tennis wisdom that Pat gave to Pete Sampras, Andre Agassi, Jennifer Capriati, Martina Hingis, Jim Courier, Justine Henin-Hardenne, and others, that helped launch them on their incredible careers. For the first time, Pat Etcheberry shares his training secrets in a series of DVDs for players of all ages, their coaches, and trainers.
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