Robert Kiyosaki once said “Winners are not afraid of losing.
But losers are. Failure is part of the process of success.
People who avoid failure also avoid success.”
Views from the court
Where on earth does the time go - no sooner are we talking about tennis
for the summer and zip.. It’s gone by and there hardly seems there is
enough time for our students to come to terms with the numerous strokes/
tactics and strategies - yet alone the mental aspects of the game.
Many of my students - both adults and juniors - only manage to fit in one session
each week , and this is not sufficient to get a good grounding in the more intricate sides of the game.
This means they learn one stroke this week and by the time they re-appear the following week, they
have forgotten most of what they learnt and they are now onto a different stroke.
O.K. This earns you a living and if the players stay with you for 10 years, you can turn them into
reasonable players, just because of the repetition work they put in and the occasional play they
I have teamed up with coach Kyril Popoff and have pleasure in giving some
Kyril Popoff is a former NCAA Div. 1 All-Conference tennis player, author,
instructor and coach who’s passion is helping people become great tennis
He is the author of The Ten Laws of Tennis Success and Focus & Win:
Why Your Tennis Game Isn’t Where You Want It To Be, And What To
Do About It!
We offer online tennis coaching designed to help make anyone a better
The website offers DVDs on various tennis techniques, but our main offer
is a monthly membership, which gives clients access to over 60 instructional
videos on the site
I have teamed up with Kyril to bring his experience into your game
Tip for November.
Advancing to the net & passing shots.
There is obviously the approach to the net by the player - the passing shot attempt by the
opponent and covering the passing shot as you approach the net. This article ignores the
opponent’s try at passing you as you approach the net, you want to
make it as difficult as possible for them to have this opportunity.
The stages that are involved are
what to do whilst approaching
How many stages needed to get to the net
Covering the passing shot
Many players either do not know when it is best to approach the net or they take chances and go forward at the wrong time.
Some players have an in-bred knowledge as to when they should go to the net, but for those who have to learn this, there are
two ideal times and these need to be recognised and even more important practised both in training and match practice.
It should be considered that once you have started your movement towards the net, that in the majority of instances, you should
carry on to the net - unless of course, your opponent manages to put up a lob (many coaches consider this to be a passing
The first choice you have is to move to the net when you have a short ball from your opponent and a short ball varies depending
on your ability. A club player should in general consider a short ball is when it lands around the service line, but it is important
to also observe whether the ball is a slow one, whether it has a height on it and therefore is going to bounce deep or if it has
a lot of top spin. This is where the practice is essential, so that it is firmly in your subconscious mind. For a pro player, a short
ball will often be considered as further toward the baseline and the same criteria is taken into account.
The second opportunity is when you have hit a deep penetrating shot that has put your opponent under extreme pressure, in
which case you will probably receive a weak return.
I often ask my students where they think they should get to when moving to the net and they will mostly try to pick a point on
the court, however this should be pointed out that it is a question of time and not distance. On approaching the player should
do a split step as the opponent takes their racquet back to strike the ball, anything later will put the player approaching under
pressure If the return is a good one and there will not be time in which to change direction to get to the ball.
The objective is to get as close to the net on the first movement, but this does depend a lot on the shot that you have sent down
the harder the hit or serve, the quicker the ball comes back, in which case you may not even get very far past the service line.
at this stage, to many beginners try to win the point on the first approach strike, this is wrong unless the opportunity is such that
you are able to force the pace. In general the first shot should be to set you up so that you can put the volley away, which is
much easier the closer you are to the net. But, be aware of the possibility of the lob and ensure you do not get too close to the
net on a weak approach shot.
How do we cover the passing shot from our opponent?
It is so important to understand the angles of possible return and to be in a good position should your opponent try to pass you.
in almost every instance, there are certain places where your opponent can hit the ball and in general you should be in the
middle of that angle of return, however, it is sometimes beneficial to over compensate and cover your opponents best shot.
You should try to find out early in a match what shot your opponent likes to use the most and also to take into account where
you put your previous shot (was it on their backhand and difficult etc.).
One last thing on this subject, this month is that it is far easier to approach the net in doubles as against singles, just because
you have a partner working with you on the court. This is however, also another scenario that needs to be looked at.
Tennis Court Problems.
Keeping in mind that to be effective at the net, we must first be able to get there and our first move
should generally come off a short ball or if we have hit a good penetrating shot that has put our
opponent under pressure.
There are basically two problems in approaching the net - the ball goes into the net or goes long, and
we are here looking at the ball going too long.
The reason for the ball going long, is generally because the racquet face is too open or laid back too
much at impact rather than being straight up and down and this often happens when you try to take the
ball too far out in front, away from your body and this tilts the racquet face upwards.
How do we overcome this problem!
When doing your practice you should take stock of your racquet face when in the hitting zone - it is
easier to do this during practice sessions. You should consciously close the racquet face and try to
aim at specific target areas on the opposite side of the net. This type of over correcting is often
necessary to break comfortable but incorrect habits
You should then concentrate on keeping the wrist and forearm as a fixed unit when moving in to the
the contact point so ensuring the face is in the correct position and this should be practised over
and over. Endeavour to keep the target areas fixed in the mind so that they do not distract from your
stroke production and ensuring an offensive shot.
Drills for the month of November
BDGS144 Down the Line - twice
Baseline movement, to a fast returned ball.
The pro starts in a volley position on the deuce side.
Players ‘A’ & ‘C’ start on the baseline in the ad. Court, opposite the pro.
Player ‘B’ is on the baseline in the ad. court, on the same side as the pro.
The pro feeds a ball to player A who hits it back to the pro.
The pro volleys the ball cross court.
Player A moves across and hits the ball to player B.
The point is played out.
If player A wins, they change places with B and the drill continues.
Player B moves to the net either, after the first return or starts at the net.
Player A plays the point out with player B and the pro.
Once player A moves across to the deuce side, player C
moves in and joins the play out in a doubles situation
PSGV3200 Half court passing practice
To practice passing shots in a confined area.
Play is in half court including the tram lines.
Players at one end are in a volley position (the pro decides how far from
The net depending on skills).
The players opposite are close to the baseline.
The net players feed a co-operative ball to the baseliners who try to
pass them on either side. The ball only needs to be in the confine of the
Half court at the net.
The volleyer tries to reach the passing shot, however, as it is a drill,
They should volley the ball back so that the baseline player gets
Change over occasionally.
Alternative: points can be played.
The volleyer starts at three quarter court and tries to move to the net.
The baseline player must stay there.