Tennis Instruction Heaven
Learning Sites and Master Professional Tips To Improve Your Game

Pat and Anita enjoying a great trip with other USPTA Professional at the Australian Open

Scroll down the page for free instructional articles on serving, concentration, ground strokes contact points, and how to learn to hit on the run.

 We know a lot but --nobody knows it all, so we provide you with the best online resources available.

If you have a specific question about tennis, tennis instruction, training or injury prevention email us at customsports@bellsouth.net                                          

 GREAT LINKS

 

  • This is by far the best site for cutting edge tennis stroke information:  John Yandells Tennisplayer.net

There is a fee but it is worth it; his team does high speed filming of all the top pros, puts out detailed yet open minded instruction articles, plus a ton of instruction by other teachers on every topic. They even have 3-D models of stick figures with all biomechanical possibilites evaluated. Far and above all the other sites in terms of depth and solid scientific anaylsis. Each topic has appropriate video footage cycling over to clarify the discussion. 

There are a few good videos on UTube but these freebies are unreviewed by peers, the ideas are usually one person's interpretation, and even if they are a teaching pro, the information might not be what you need for your level of play.

The best method is to ask around, find the best local teacher, usually a certified USPTA www.uspta.org or PTR member, and spend time studing with them one on one. The USPTA is the oldest and the largest organization with a website that allows you to find a local teacher. To really improve you need  a program of coaching, regular practice and match play in leagues and tournaments You need the experience of matches, combined with the training, solid strokes and strategy,  constantly refining your skill while working with an experienced mentor.

If you have a specific question about tennis, tennis instruction, training or injury prevention email us at customsports@bellsouth.net

 

Tennis: the game for Lifetime Fitness, for the young and old.

Focus-Tennis Tip of The Month- Letting the Ball Disappear at Contact

Learn to not watch the ball......going back that is. Watch it and focus as the ball comes into the racket, not out. Everything follows the eyes; if you watch your outgoing ball go back ,you pull your head up, your weight up, your racket off the contact zone. Get in the habit of keeping your vision on the contact point by looking at your racket edge, not the outgoing shot, after contact. You can have the best practice stroke in the world but you have to discipline yourself to be still in the split second of contact. Keep your eye off the ball. Make your head turn part of the stroke, all the way in. It is the last 3-4 feet where you have to let your eyes focus in the short range, not use periphial vision. Keep your eye on the blur. Let the ball disappear when you hit and not reappear until your opponnent hits it. See the seams rotating. Watch the ball off the court to measure the height of the bounce to get under it enough .................let it disappear as you exhale and extend out to a full range follow through.

Master TIP-Simplify Your Targets

Use the centerstrap as an axis, a compass for all your shots; you can hit 80% of your shots either at or within FOUR FEET of the center strap, no exaggeration. This includes serving and returning. Don't play the player- play the ball within the dimensions of the court and let the player be third in importance; Play the ball first (concentration), play within the court(shot selection). Only after you master this will you avoid beating yourself through unforced errors. Then you can begin to look at strategy and tactics, but it all still happens within 4 or 5 feet of the center strap.

It only takes ten thousand balls to get good.

Rodger Federer's Efficient Footwork http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2009/08/31/sports/tennis/20090831-roger-graphic.html?ref=tennis

 Serving: the Toss

There are many different styles and motions in the serve. The first skill is learning to toss the ball to the ideal contact point. Every pro tosses a bit differently, but there are certain components that are universal: 

SHOULDER LIFT         It is more of a full-arm lift from the shoulder than a hand flip or wrist flick--Large muscle groups are less prone to nerves.

You can hold the ball in the fingers, with the palm under the ball, the hand sideways or down,  or gently rest the ball lower in the palm (like a birds nest) with minimal finger use. Again, the main thing is to use large muscle groups, not fine motor muscles(i.e. the fingers), and feel like you are lifting a straight lever using the legs and shoulder. Make it automatic, not too deliberate.

FOLLOW THROUGH     The hand and arm continue up under the ball after release, the arm continues up to a vertical follow thru for an instant. The hand should be under the ball, and fingers pointing to the ball. many players toss palm up and then rotate to palm-down at the point segment.

DIRECTION       You can toss directly towards the net post (45 degrees into the court) or bring it around in an arc into the court. Watch 4 pros and you'll see 4 different movements; it is the end result that matters.  Placement of the toss is into the balance point of contact off the right (front)hitting shoulder, into the court about four to eight inches in front of the front foot.

HEIGHT   

The ideal toss height will set the rhytmn of the serve so about 6 inches over contact usually gives time for a full body-coil without too much pause. High tosses have servers time/ hit a falling ball, give too much time to lose balance and are challenged in the wind.

SEQUENCE and TIMING     The timing can be toss arm first, racket arm movement first, both together, or any combination of the two. Individual variation is a feel, a choice of style more than function. Experiment and see what feels the best and works for you.

The Swing

We teach that 70% of the energy in the serving arm is upward, with 30% forward. A coordinated toss and wind up makes the player to uncoil upward. We want to hit up vertically to get over the net, and be loose enough to pronate out sideways to get spin to pull the ball down. Hit up and out, with a loose continental grip.

The serve is a full body throw, the longest, loosest and fastest swing in the your game, so make a full-out arc. The more racket head speed you can generate the better, but the more spin you need to control it. Learn to make the ball bend and arc into the court, getting easy power from a natural unwinding of body segments.

 

 

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