News from the court.
What is a happy balance when teaching juniors who are just taking
up the game of tennis - or perhaps those whose parents want them
to learn, but they are not over enthusiastic?
There is of course a conflict of ideas as to teaching methods for, not
only juniors but also beginner adults. Some say you should just let them find out by playing
the game, however, I am in the other camp and believe that it is important to teach them the
techniques from the beginning, even if this is done in a fairly laid back manner.
A lot does of course depend on how long the lessons are, and this will differ as to their age
and skill level. Most of the juniors I coach are now where near performance level and indeed
many of them show only a mild interest in learning the game; with these, motivation is the
most important job that needs to be done.
My lessons have always featured about 50% of the time going through a particular skill or
technique and then the second part of the lesson playing fun games (tennis based) and with
this method, I have had a very high retention level.
I think this is a very individual thing and depends to a certain degree, on the individual junior
or adult - at the end of the day, it is the results that count, and in this respect, by the time my
juniors reach 17 - 18 years old, they can all play a fairly good game of tennis - which most
take with them to university.
Aiming Your Overhead.
One thing I have noticed with many club players and lower; the tendency to try and hit the
overhead as hard as they can with no thought as to where to hit the ball.
When you have an easy overhead, don’t get clever, just put the ball away. However, if you have a
high lob or or a good lob, you need to be more careful, especially if you are out of position, otherwise
the ball often tends to go out of court.
When the lob is high and coming straight down, even if it is fairly close to the net, let it bounce first.
Why? It is more difficult to judge such a lob as against one that has an arc to it. The high lob that
bounces will still have plenty of height on it and allow you to hit an overhead anyway. Here you want
to use the angles of the court and also put some spin on the ball hitting it like a slice serve. It is
a good idea to hit the ball somewhere between the baseline and the intersection of the sideline and
service line - by doing this, even if the opponent does manage to get the shot back they will be far
off the court.
Try to take the deeper, lower trajectory lob out of the air , even if you are unable to put the ball away,
try to maintain an offensive position in order to put your opponent under pressure. You can always
use the overhead as the first part of a two-shot strategy to win the point.
SIST8806 Working on Strategy.
Player A hits a backhand deep cross court to player B’s
backhand - forcing B to play a weak reply into mid-court.
Player A moves swiftly forward to the early ball has three
A/. Drop shot straight ahead.
B/. Deep cross court
C/. Short angle cross court.
In case the opponent scrambles the ball back into play.
player A should follow into the net to finish off the point.
WUGN2103 – Warm-up Around the Hats
Place a circle of Chinese hats or cones with 2-3 in the
middle. One hat per player.
On the command 'GO' the players walk round the outside
of the cones, without overtaking. The pro claps or blows a
whistle etc., or says change, and they go in the opposite
direction. Do this often with varying time between each.
Change to a jog – then in and out of the cones and also to
the middle and out again.
Place a ball in each cone and they pick a ball up on command
and then place it in a different cone.
Alternatives:- Skip – side step – knees up – touch heels etc.,
Do dynamic stretches behind a hat. Hop and touch the cone
with toes – jump over cones etc., your ideas are unlimited.
On Court problems.
A lot of my volleys go too long.
If this is the problem, especially amongst club players and lower, it is often due to the racquet
face is turned up or laid back at impact which sends the ball high and long. Or your target window
over the net may be too high.
It is important to make sure your body is turned sideways and your shoulders are relatively
perpendicular to the net as you strike the ball. The hitting arm should be extended out and away
from the body.
If your elbow is too close to your body on the forehand, push it up as you rotate the upper body
thus keeping the racquet face from tilting back. On the backhand instead of having the hitting elbow
raised and bent on the backswing, try to keep it low while maintaining an extended arm all the way