Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Quick Fixes for Tennis Strokes

Katelyn Caniford | Towpath Tennis Pro
We all know the feeling. We’re shanking our forehand long, hitting serves into the net, and it feels like nothing we do is working. We start questioning our game that we’ve worked so hard on and begin to doubt ourselves. However, even though it may not seem like it, everyone has those days where everything feels off. Sometimes even the littlest adjustments can make the biggest difference in regards to our strokes. Here are a few quick-fix tips on your different shots that can help you get your confidence back!

Overall Tennis Game

Use a mirror or have someone film you! 

Sounds simple enough right? Mirror your groundstrokes. Sometimes it is difficult for us to figure out exactly what we are doing wrong. In many instances, it can be difficult to pinpoint just what part of our motion is suffering or that we are doing incorrectly. 
Quick Fix - One of the best ways to figure that out is to practice your strokes in front of a mirror so you can see what your form looks like. Another great option is to have a friend film you! This way, you are able to watch yourself and see where you need to make corrections.

The Forehand
Figure out where you are making contact with the ball.
      In many cases, when we feel like a shot isn’t working, we start to get hesitant. This oftentimes leads to hitting the ball way later then we should. Sometimes we even end up getting too close to the ball or too far away which can really make it difficult to have a proper follow through on our shot. 
      Quick Fix - Figure out where you are making contact. Are you hitting the ball too far behind you and you’re falling back? Do you feel yourself running into the ball with your arm too close to your side? Then the answer is simple. Make contact with the ball in front of your body and step into your shot. Make sure your dominant arm is close to your body but not so much so that your elbow is glued to your side. If it helps, keep your other arm out in front of you for balance. In the picture below we can see Roger Federer making contact with the ball in front of his body and shifting his weight forward.  
      The Backhand 
      Use “the wall” drill.

      For many players, the backhand can be the most complicated or difficult shot to execute. 
Quick Fix - A good option for when your backhand feels like it is suffering is to line your body up against a wall or a door and practice the motion of your stroke. To begin, stand in front of a wall or even a fence and get into position to hit a backhand. When you practice your swing, don’t hit the racket against the wall but instead keep your string and face of the racket in line with the wall and practice your full backhand motion. This will teach you how to get the spin on the ball that you are looking to achieve. 

      The Volleys

      Figure out where your feet are going. Are you stepping forward or cross stepping into the ball?

One of the biggest problems I believe people encounter with their volleys is not moving their feet. Many times I see players volleying with their feet straight underneath them and not moving forward into their shot at all. 
Quick Fix - Move those feet! Volleying is all about where the rest of your body is going in relation to your shot. If you are not in position to hit the volley correctly, it does not matter how good your stroke is. Take a moment to evaluate your shots and think about if you are either cross stepping or moving forward into the ball. A good way to do this is after you take your shot, freeze and look down at where your feet are. Are they in the same position as they were when you began the stroke? Or are your feet in front of your body like they should be? 

The Overhead

Make sure you are behind the ball.

One of the biggest reasons people miss their overheads is because they are not in the correct position. 
Quick Fix - Get into position as soon as possible and make sure that you are behind the ball when you are making contact. As soon as you see your opponent opening their strings to try and lob is when you need to start getting into position. This means turning your body and shuffling backwards so you can be lined up to hit the overhead. Make sure you are behind the ball enough that you can propel yourself forward. It is much easier to go forward into the overhead rather than having to backup more to be in the right position. Finding the exact point where you want to hit the ball will help too so you can focus on hitting that point and letting your body do the rest. 

The Serve

      Keep your head, neck, and chest up through the serve.

A common problem I see with the serve is players not keeping their head, neck, and chest up when they are following through. It is very easy especially in a long match for fatigue to set in which then results in your upper body falling during the course of the serve. In most cases, this then causes the ball to land in the net. 
Quick Fix - Keep looking at the ball through contact. This way you are forced to keep your head up while the ball is traveling to the other side of the court. 

      Here's one more quick tip--write these tips down! It's quite the task to remind yourself how to fix a stroke when your game is already spiraling out of control. So do yourself a huge favor by grabbing a couple of index cards and write down some keywords to give yourself that little mental kick; Backhand=Wall, Volley=Step in, Serve=Look up, etc. Now go out and kill it!

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  1. As a tennis lover most of the times I used to play or watching tennis; but as a player I found some complication while playing and thought that how professional players are facing different types of problems during match while serves and strokes. Overall in tennis strokes are the best part; as it decides the potential value of the player and techniques. From this article we can also get some quick and important tips on strokes and trying to implement in our playing style.
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