Tip of the month for July
How to hold serve, when you don't have a big serve.
Many club players look upon the serve as a means of starting the game and consider if they do not have a
powerful serve, that they are at a disadvantage. However, you do not need to have a powerful serve in order to
have an effective serve.
You may need to change your thinking; it's a mistake to not use your serve effectively, just because you cannot
blast it at 120 mph. Your serve can become a weapon even if you only serve at 60 mph and the following are some
thoughts on making this happen.
1/. Develop placement - spin and consistency: Quite a number of the pros, including the great server John McEnroe
would tell you that hitting the ball hard does not necessarily make for a great serve. It is important to get a lot of
your first serves in - to move the ball around and have a variety of serves; flat, kick, topspin - slice etc., and whilst
you may not hit the ball hard, it is possible to learn all of these techniques.
2/. Always serve with a purpose. Consider your serve to be part of your game strategy, the best thing about the
serve is you are in total control and your opponent is at your mercy - make the serve part of your two or three shot
tactic. As an example - serve wide to the forehand, hit your next shot to the open court and follow into the net to
put the ball away.
3/. Serve to the opponent's weakness, Try to pick up on your opponent's weak area, early in the match, then serve
to that weakness. An example may be if your opponent struggles with a low ball on the forehand, so a slow slice
wide could set you up for winning the point.
4/. Vary the height of your serve. Practice the use of basic spins on your serve, then use this to unsettle your
opponent - use a high topspin kicking ball followed by a low slice.
5/. Occasionally add a short serve. Suddenly putting in a short serve will often catch your opponent out - they will
run hard to the ball and in - panic - over hit the return.
An important point to always keep in mind is don't let your opponent get in a groove'
Common problems on the tennis court.
The backhand topspin drive.
The ball is hit into the net too often.
The major reasons for this happening can be:
1/. Your racquet face may be turned slightly down at the point of contact with the ball.
2/. Your racquet may be too high at it's lowest point of the back swing. Although the racquet face may be vertical
at impact, you are swinging too flat i.e. quite straight across through the ball and gravity is pulling the ball down.
3/. You may be trying to hit the ball too close to the top of the net rather than lifting the ball higher over the net with
To help cure these problems:
1/. Keep the hitting arm fixed and extended through impact and make certain the racquet face is vertical on contact.
To check this freeze on the follow through, then lower the arm to the contact point. A good check is to stand
sideways to a fence and swing the racquet up to your normal contact point; at this stage the face should be vertical
to the fence.
2/. Check that your racquet is starting lower than the intended point of contact, during the back swing. This allows
the normal low-to-high lifting motion. However, many club players believe they are dropping the racquet low enough
without actually doing that, it is a common fault to start that racquet head at the same height as the incoming ball.
It is a good idea to practice bending the knees to start lower, but also ask a friend to watch you and to tell you how
low the racquet is starting. You can also get a low cone and place this to your side, then try to touch the cone
with the racquet on starting the swing.
3/. The backhand drive is primarily a topspin shot and not a flat shot as is the slice. Try hitting from the baseline and
aim for an imaginary window about 6 feet above the net, rather than a target on the court. This will shift your visual
attention away from the net and will encourage hitting with a wider margin of safety.
It must be remembered that by hitting the ball close to the net, you do not get depth of shot which keeps your
opponent at the back of the court.
Drill of the month for July
SDGS Two to play
Ground stroke practice covering depth, control
A row of cones are placed the same distance from the baseline at both
ends of the court. The distance from the baseline will be determined
dependent on the ability and skill of the players – anything from
half way between the baseline and service line or closer to the baseline.
This can be a squad drill or individual drill with the pro taking one end.
The objective in rallying is to keep the ball in the area between the cones
and baseline but playing competitively.
During the rally – if the ball falls short, the rally can continue but no point is scored.
If the ball goes out beyond the baseline the player that end receives one point.
Play up to 7 – 9 or 11 points and the winners move one way and losers the other.
Alternatively players on one side move the same way each time, so they meet
BDGS115 Attacking Forehand on the Move
Attacking the ball with inside-out forehands.
Taking the ball early.
Good footwork round the ball.
A cone is placed each side at 3/4 court on the same side as the pro,
about 1 foot (31 cm) in from the side lines.
A second cone is placed in the tramline (alley) near to the baseline on
the opposite end.
Players line up behind the baseline on the ad. side starting from the
centre of the court.
The pro feeds three balls from left to right.
The first players runs round the cone and does three inside-our forehands to the applicable targets.
The pro should emphasise good footwork round the ball and taking the ball on the rise or at the top of the bounce..
Encourage players to improve their attacking shots.
This newsletter will be published when we are half way through
wimbledon - have you been to the championships?
This is one of those things you should do before you are unable to
- especially as a tennis player. It is not just the tennis to be seen,
it is the chance to soak up the atmosphere, it is very special.
What I like doing is getting seats on centre or court number one -
watch a couple of sets, then take a stroll round the outside courts
to see the up and coming world juniors, mixed doubles etc.,
Next stop for a short while and have a cold beer, and how about
strawberries & cream; expensive but you only live once, back into
the main court where you have seats - another stroll and a leisurely glass of pimms. Wow -
this is what life is all about and finish with a visit to the souvenir shop to buy something to
remember your visit.
The grass courts of wimbledon have changed over the years and are now no longer fast
as they once was, this means rallies have lengthened and it is not just serve and volley now.
In fact if you still play on grass as we often do at club level, you try not to let the ball bounce,
you can be in all sorts of difficulties even on a fairly well maintained court.
Well, my current favourite player was bundled out of the tournament last night by a little
Known player Rosol from the Czech Republic and he sent Rafa home in style, hitting many
Forehands and backhands at over 90 mph. Where did this come from! It is a fact that some
Players can have a purple patch i.e. when nothing they do is wrong, they see the size of a
Football, their timing is perfect and they only hit winners.
O.K. Rosol has been around for some time, but has never reached these heights and has
Obviously done this consistently in the present tournament, but can he keep it up! I doubt it.
What he did on this occasion was to play Nadal in the only way it is possible to win and that is
To take the ball early on the rise and hit it hard, and this is the one problem Nadal has with his
Style of play, the ball is rising quickly with the heavy topspin which is normally difficult to control,
But Rosol managed it.
Things will keep changing with all of the new apprentices coming through from a large selection
Of countries throughout the world.
I just want to draw your attention to a side business I am doing on the Internet as it is necessary
In the current climate to have another earning stream; I would not normally bring this to your
Attention, but it really is so good and as secure as it could possibly be, I feel obliged to at least
Let you know.
It is not essential from my point of view whether you join or not, but why not take a look - it is at
The bottom of the home page - I would be here to assist you in every way possible.
Till next time