Where to hit the Drop Shot
Now that we've discussed when to hit the drop shot, this next installment in our video series for techniques used to play on clay discusses where to hit the drop shot. Did you know that there are two basic target areas to aim for when hitting the drop shot? Learn more about where those target areas are and continue developing your drop shot. Play the Clay, Learn to Win and Play for Life!
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There's More Than One Way to Hit a Tennis Ball
We'd all like to hit like the young tournament player or our favorite pro. But it would be a disaster if we tried. By "we" I mean those of us who didn't learn as young kids. If we tried to hit like Rafael Nadal, we'd end up with such elbow and shoulder problems that we would be forced to quit after a few days.
On the other hand, if a young player wanted to play tour quality tennis and tried to hit the classic way, where there is a step to the ball and then a forward swing complete with a follow-through toward the aim point, he or she would not be competitive, and would also soon quit due to continually losing.
Click photo: We need to let competitive juniors learn to hit wide open, with the racquet thrown fiercely through the ball.
The point is, we need to help mature persons learn to hit the classic way: racquet back, step into the ball, and follow-through. And we need to let competitive juniors learn to hit wide open, with the racquet thrown fiercely through the ball with almost a whipping motion that often ends with the racquet up over the head.
By default we teach an adult, taking up tennis later in life, to swing the racquet the old fashioned way. But it is not just the older player on vacation at Sandals that needs to learn this way. Young adults not realistically aimed toward competitive tennis will do better with the classic approach too. That's because the whipped swing used on the tour is prone to yield an injury to the elbow or shoulder. It seems clear that there are more tournament injuries on the tour today than when classic strokes were the norm.
The mature player (meaning over 20 when beginning) starting to take lessons and going to tennis camps to improve needs to learn to use body weight to gain power and a classic swing so that muscles already beginning to stiffen slightly with age will not be forced to stress maturing joints.
The young player (teens or less) can learn the savage racquet throwing style of the modern tour professional. His tendons are not yet so set that he sacrifices them for technique.
This makes teaching tennis a dicey mater. If you teach follow-through tennis you risk being labeled old fashioned. If you teach the whippy new methods you rightly risk an injury to the student.
Click photo: Adults not realistically aimed toward competitive tennis will do better with the classic approach.
So how does one teach the competitive way to swing? By urging the player to swing as hard as he can. That will then evolve into a rapid slap-like swing onto the ball. Any attempt at classical techniques will only slow the progression.
Golf professional Ryan Moore made an observation that seems relevant to tennis. He argued that a young player should swing the golf club as hard as possible, foregoing style. If he starts with classical swing techniques he will learn a controlled swing that is smooth but not fierce. If he starts by swinging out of his shoes then he develops a fierce swing that may not be smooth. Golfer Moore then argues that as the golfer progresses it is much more difficult to increase the velocity of the smooth golf swing to gain power then it is to ease up on the fierce swing to gain control.
The same concept seems applicable in tennis. The young player, less prone to injury, can learn to swing hard first. While the older player, with more mature tendons, cannot afford to take that chance.
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The most important part of any stroke is the contact of the ball. There are a lot of things happening in the moment just before, during, and after that point that can effect the quality of the hit. Here, Doug King takes you through a very simple exercise that will you get more in touch with the various aspects of contact – aspects you can get more control over, and ultimately gain better control over the ball..
Deliberate Practice – Neutral Rally
So how does one become good at tennis? This is a question on the mind of many tennis parents and players. Is it only the 'talented' players that achieve success? Anyone will tell you, to excel at anything, you need to practice. But despite what you may have been told, practice doesn't necessarily make perfect. How specifically and purposefully you work at a skill is more important than your innate talent. Here, Wayne Elderton, offers some ideas as to how to practice and perfect the neutral rally stroke.
Attacking the High Forehand
At the club level, the high forehand is one of the more difficult shots to hit. Players either step back and let it drop so they can hit topspin or step in and try to slice it. Either way, it becomes a defensive stroke. But at the pro level, the high forehand is a money shot. This is where they go on offense and attack the ball. Former grand slam finalist, Phil Dent, show you how to hit this shot with side spin and seize control of a point.
ProStrokes 2.0 – Robin Soderling's Forehand
This imposing Swede has finally stepped onto center stage. A threat on all surfaces, and with the coaching of former world #1 Magnus Norman behind him, many in Sweden predict he will topple Federer and Nadal in the rankings and ascend to the top spot. Following back to back French Open final appearances, with wins over Nadal (2009) and Federer (2010), this year Robin Soderling holds wins over Cilic, Berdych, Murray, Tsonga, and Davydenko. Huge flat hits off both wings, somewhat like Del Potro – the high kicking Nadal like topspin shots matter little to this big Swede – lets see where he takes it this year.
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