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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Four Major Lessons from This Year's Wimbledon
So what can be learned from this year's Wimbledon? Certainly there are lessons to be gained from the likes of Rafael Nadal, Tomas Berdych and Serena Williams. And even in defeat – that is, especially in defeat – I learned much this year from Roger Federer.
Rafael Nadal: Ditch the Technique, Crave the Attitude
Click photo: Nadal's incredible ability to torque and twist is not worth imitating.
Let's admit that when it comes to the way he hits the ball, Rafael Nadal is in some ways mortgaging his body. In other words, don't try this at home. Nadal's incredible ability to torque and twist is not worth imitating. But his attitude towards the game is first-rate.
Throughout his career, Nadal has worked repeatedly at improvement. He makes his strengths stronger – throughout Wimbledon he persistently made the effort to strike service returns deeper, forehands earlier, and take advantage of his off-the-charts court coverage. And he's also added more dimensions – the slice backhand, an altered service motion to give himself more options, more forays to the net. Best of all, trite and familiar as this sounds, Nadal throws himself into the heat of battle – a wonderful meld of head and heart.
Tomas Berdych: Discipline Creates Power
Having watched Berdych advance well at both Roland Garros and Wimbledon, I've been impressed by his consistent ability to generate sustained power and depth off both wings. Yet unlike Nadal's technique, it's possible to learn from some Berdych's strokes. But it takes a new mindset.
Click photo: Watch Berdych closely and you'll see the sober reality, power comes from using the entire body.
All too often I see recreational players discuss strokes by spending an inordinate amount of time examining the arm, the wrist, the hand. But watch Berdych closely and you'll see the sober reality. Power comes from using the entire body – particularly the lower body. I dare any 3.5-4.5 player to spend merely five minutes hitting groundstrokes with extensive devotion to bending the knees, watching the ball, driving through each shot – and try to successfully get the ball past the service line ten straight times. That kind of repetition will give you a precise idea of how hard you can truly hit the ball.
This is where discipline and practice make a difference. Forget the flick, the roll, the belief in a magic string. There are no shortcuts to building consistent stroke mechanics.
Serena Williams: What's the Most Important Shot in Tennis?
Click photo: The serve is the most important shot in tennis and Serena stands head and shoulders
above her peers.
The serve, followed not too far by the return of serve. In taking her fourth Wimbledon with laser-sharp focus, Williams stood head and shoulders above her peers.
But let's ask: How many juniors – girls and boys – devote significant time to the serve? How many instead play tons of baseline points rather than work on the serve and return?
Look instead how Serena has created a simple, concise but brutally effective serve. Enough with the baseline games. Ramp up the practice sets.
Roger Federer: Get Over Yourself
Two years ago, I drew tremendous ire when I admonished Federer for making excuses in the wake of his 2008 Australian Open loss to Novak Djokovic. I'll take another go after watching Federer's comments following his quarterfinal loss to Berdych.
To hear Federer talk about a back injury reduced my respect for this great champion. Federer is a devout student of history, deeply aware of what it means to speak eloquently with his racket and appropriately after a loss. Surely he knows the sportsman's code articulated years ago by the great Australian Roy Emerson: If you're hurt, don't play. And if you play, one assumes you're not hurt. Anything less is an insult to your opponent and the sport.
That's a vital lesson for any competitor. It was a shame that this time Federer forgot it and let himself caught up in the frustration of his earliest exit from Wimbledon in eight years.
Joel Drucker worked for Tennis Channel as the network's story editor
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Racquet Head Speed May be Dangerous to Your Game, Part 2
Doug King's follow-up to his previous article warning that racquet head speed may very well be dangerous for your game. Watching the pros generate tremendous ball speed almost effortlessly and trying to emulate what they do is likely to get things out of hand and out of control. Here, Doug acknowledges the importance of racquet head speed but introduces it in a way so that form remains intact and you remain in control.
The Unsung Hero of Doubles
In high level doubles, a receiving team’s worst nightmare is an active opponent at the net who can pick off returns and end points quickly. That player can be you. In fact, with the right approach you can dominate the game–sometimes without even touching the ball! And it all begins with attitude. When your partner’s serving, you are the most immediate offensive threat because, of the four players on the court, you’re the one closest to the net. Greg Moran teaches you how to use this to your advantage and get in your opponent’s face!
ProStrokes 2.0 – Francesca Schiavone's Serve
What a performance capturing the 2010 French Open. Francesca Schiavone is 30, and that is somewhat old within the women’s ranks, and to keep this unusual thread going, she plays with a one-handed backhand. She has captured just four singles titles and prior to this breakout performance she has been a doubles specialist. But, I guess, “Nothing is Impossible” and certainly that was the case for a player who had lost in the first round of this same tournament the previous year. But with wins over Stosur, Dementieva, and Wozniacki we can only wonder what the rest of the year will have in store. New this issue, Schiavone's serve.
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