Article  ST001                                                                                                                                                                                                          



1/. Always have a comfortable ready position, holding the racket head about chest height, so that you can move  the racket quickly to
either side.

2/. When taking the racket back on the forehand side, keep the non-dominant hand on the racket until the racket is pointing to the side f
ence - then remove the non-dominant hand but keep it about 8 cm (3 inches) from the racket  right through the stroke. This will give you
a far better shoulder turn, loading the elastic tension in the shoulder and a good smooth swing, thus more power.

                                                                    “Try to hit shots in your Power Zone”

Your power zone for your forehand and backhand is between your knees and chest, approximately two feet away from your body.
Hitting balls in this zone will allow you to add the most control, spin and power.

During a game or a match, the main reason that you will be able to hit balls in your power zone will be your footwork.

Through footwork (making split-steps, taking little steps and a quick recovery) you can change different types of balls (high, low
and wide) to shots that you will hit in your power zone.

Keep your feet moving and consistently hit balls in this zone to turn on the power.

Pro’s complete far more feet movements between shots than players of lesser ability.

When practising, consciously put in a lot of small steps between hits. You will be surprised how this will improve your movement generally.


The Right Mindset to Play a Great Game.

Approaching the match with positive thinking can make a big difference.

Start off by smiling! It takes fewer muscles to smile, it can increase your confidence and a relaxed jaw has proven to increase your
energy output.

Plus you are playing the game you love!

You also want to expect mistakes because you will make them.

If you can recover quickly and positively from a mistake you will probably not lose any momentum and more points.  After a mistake,
have some sort of closure, like snapping your fingers or taking a slow deep breath?  The pros walk to the back of the court adjusting
their strings, this will help you forget about the mistake. Focus on the point to come.

You are now ready to play the next point and you have the right mindset to play a great match!

                                                                             Do this when you win a Point.

If you win a point from your opponent when they miss a shot, give them another opportunity to miss that same shot.

For example, if you hit an approach shot to their backhand and they miss an attempted pass, keep this in mind on your next approach.

After one or two similar errors it’s easy to lose confidence in a particular shot, so try to exploit that weakness.

In addition look for patterns that might develop with your opponent. Do they hit their forehand crosscourt or play second serves to
your backhand? Using these tactics can give you an edge to play better tennis.

                                                                                Footwork & movement.

 It is important to maintain a balanced body when on court and be ready to move in a split second. Try not to be glued to the ground
when waiting for the next move.

To overcome this you should always do a split-spring as your opponent takes their racquet back to strike the ball, you can then sprint
either way, successfully to meet the ball.

Equally in doubles, every player on the court should be moving, in order to get into a better position, to be ready to intercept the ball.

Tennis is constant motion – sudden starts and stops, change of direction – fast and slow movement. You must be dynamic yet completely

Even with all the technical proficiency of your strokes, if you are not in the right place at the right time, your strokes will suffer.

Improve your footwork and improve your tennis!


All players need to warm-up before starting to play, even the pro-players do a considerable warm-up before they come on court at
Wimbledon etc

They do their warm-up off court on the practice courts prior to going on to the match court as they then only have 5 minutes to prepare
before starting.

There is now a concensus of opinion that it is wrong to do static stretches before you do your warm-up and even before you start to play.
It has been discovered that after static stretches it takes the muscles up to 20 minutes to adjust to playing conditions.

You should start doing easy strokes in the boxes for at least five minutes, you can then do some dynamic stretching – such as lunges
(any stretch that involves movement) proceeding into your normal hitting workout and/or match.

Static stretches are for flexibility and should be done in your warm down at the end of your play.

Make your legs work on the Volley.

The volley can be one of the easiest shots in tennis because you don’t want a lot of movement (swinging) of the racquet. You want very little back
swing and try to ‘squeeze and freeze’ on contact.

However your legs need to keep moving.  They help set up for the ball and a cross step right before contact is an excellent power source. So keep
your feet moving to help make the volley an easy shot.

Who takes the ball down the middle?

When all four players are at the net in doubles, who should cover the shot down the middle?

There is often confusion about this, so here is a foolproof solution:

The player who is diagonally opposite the opponent hitting the ball should cover the middle..

This basic strategy makes it easier to cover the middle for several reasons.

1.,      The player will most likely have an easier time reaching the ball which will be coming slightly cross court.

2/.      It frees up the other partner to cover the alley, in case the opponent decides to hit down the line.

3/.      If the opponent decides to do a sharply angled volley crosscourt, you will simply have to step forward to cut it off.

Naturally, there may be instances when this strategy may not work, such as if the opponent hits a weak shot. Then it may be easier for the other player
to step in and hit the ball for a winner.

But we have our basic strategy and can allow for variations as they arise.


It is worth having two different serves in your armoury as this will keep your opponent of balance and win you a few easy points.

Most players have what is generally termed a flat serve, although there is no such thing as a completely flat serve; generally the ball needs to be hit up
and the momentum will bring the ball down once it has passed over the net.

The two alternative serves are the ‘Topspin Serve’ and the ‘Slice Serve’.

I do not teach the topspin serve until my students have mastered both the flat and the slice serve. In fact I now teach beginners the slice serve first as
I have found this actually helps them when moving in to the flat serve, as it helps to eliminate the frying pan serve.

Hold your racuet with a continental (chopper) grip. Throw the ball up a little further to the right (2 o’clock on the clock face) (or to your left if you’re
a left-hander) then hit the outside edge with a glancing blow that causes the ball to spin forward and clockwise. It is similar to hitting the ball from
9 o’clock round to 3 o’clock, but imagining the clock face is semi-diagonal to you. Practice pulling your opponent out wide in the deuce court (ad
court for left-handed servers) to open up the court for the next ball.

As a practice and to get better at hitting sharp angles, start near the service line and gradually move back to the baseline.

As your partner  is practicing the slice serve, you can work on your returning the wide serve.

Do you let your game be ruined because of one faulty stroke!

You should not let a lapse in one of your strokes ruin your day. You see this time and again with players who are not mentally strong.
You must step around this problem stroke and get on with the match with what is working.

This is a principle players should adhere to, but all too often they focus on what is not working where as they should be working with
the strokes that are working.

As I say to many of my students, if your serve is not going in, then you are in all sorts of trouble, but at least get the serve in, even if
you have to take some pace off; you can still win points, providing you can start off the point.



If your mental attitude is correct, you will get round the faulty stroke and concentrate on those that are working, you will be strong enough
to still play a worthwhile game. The top pros have mastered this principle, thinking this way will keep you in the game.

The problem most player have, is they have an idea as to how they should be playing and the way they need to play to win. If one of their
strokes is not working they convince themselves they cannot win because they cannot live up to their own expectations. They need to be
able to adapt their game and play with the rest of their strokes to the best of their ability.  After losing a match you will often hear a player
moaning that ‘ My forehand was just not working today, and it ruined my whole game’.

In fact the poor forehand didn’t ruin the game the poor attitude finished the game for them.

You must fight on and not be perturbed by the poor stroke and who knows it may return, that would be fine, but if it does not, you can still
put 100% effort into your match.

We have all witnessed the top pros come back from what seemed match losing odds. Stay focused, execute the parts of your game that
are still working, and you too can do the impossible!


The 'Power Shot' is the most misunderstood shot in the game. When players think of the 'power shot' they imagine a ball being hit at
100 mph, but a real power shot is a shot that continually wins points, or turns the point around in your direction and thus keeps you
in control of the point.

The key to acheiving a power shot, is to go for it when the real opportunity arises. At all times - stay basic KISS Keep It Simple Stupid.
No offence meant!

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