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Archive for March, 2009

Situations to Start Game Points: Serve and Return of Serve

Monday, March 30th, 2009

For serve, the most important thing is to control the point, then eventually win the point, which means that you don’t allow your opponent to have an attacking shot back to you when you serve. For return of serve, the most important thing is to neutralize the serve. To see what situations you are in will help you identify what you can work on to improve your service games. Here is a list from the most to the least favorable situations for serve and return of serve.
For serve,
a) an outright ace or service winner;
b) one two punch — decent serve, followed by short or high float return, the server then moves in and puts away at the net; decent serve, followed by forced weak return, the server then moves inside the baseline and puts away;
c) decent serve, followed by decent return at middle, the server still controls the point with side by side groundstrokes or solid penetration shots to force opponent’s error or weak return, then wins the point;
d) decent serve, followed by decent return at middle, the server controls the point initially, but loses the control during rally by tentative shots or attacking shots from opponent, then loses the point;
e) serve, followed by effective return, the returner controls the point;
f) serve, followed by aggressive return with pace or placement, the server is forced to error, then loses the point;
g) double faults.
For return of serve,
a) server’s double faults;
b) returner’s outright winner or force that server makes error on return of service return;
c) returner takes control of the point by decent service return and puts the server on the defensive position, then the returner works on the point and win the point;
d) returner neutralizes serve and take away server’s service advantage, and gets equal chance to win the point;
e) returner’s forced error from serve;
f) returner makes unforced error on serve;
g) returner is aced.

Traditional to Modern Forehand Groundstroke Comparison

Tuesday, March 24th, 2009

This excellent Modern Forehand Lesson from Dan Brown of I’m On Your Side Tennis has been added to TennisandI video lessons.

Digital video analysis tennis lesson on the forehand. In this episode, a 4.5 adult tournament player’s forehand is changed from traditional to modern.

traditional forehand: early preparation, turning side way, step in, then drive through the ball at the contact, hip and upper body rotations, bring in back foot around for 180 degree upper body rotation.

modern forehand: open stance, load up power in the right leg, kinetic chain, angular momentum.

Comparison of Traditional Forehand and Modern Forehand

traditional forehand: linear momentum, turn side way, weight moves forward, more side to side;

modern forehand: angular momentum, load on right leg, rotate around body axis, weight moves to left.

long rectangular vs cylinder shapes

Advantage of Modern Forehand

a) able to put more topspin on the ball so better control, b) alleviate the strain on the left knee.

Practice to Hit Winners with Control, not POWER

Monday, March 23rd, 2009

Tennis match winning or losing is all about balance of control and power. We know that winning or losing of a match is determined by unforced errors other than winners most times. How many times we see players overplay and end up with unforced errors. In this article by Tom Veneziano as featured in Tennis Life Magazine, it clearly describes this common mindset of hitting winners: “It’s just human nature to want to do more on your winners when that magical moment occurs”, “They abandon control and go with power”.

In order to reset or reprogram this mindset, one needs to practice to Hit Winners with Control, not POWER: in your practice sessions, try hitting easy put away balls with minimum power, then gradually increase that power to reach so called “controlled aggression” as we often hear from tennis TV commentators.

Two-Handed Backhand Groundstroke Tips

Wednesday, March 18th, 2009

Coach Kyril shows this good video clip for better two-handed backhand. I like the demonstration with two finger of non-dominated hand to prove that indeed the dominated hand for two-handed backhand is left hand (for right handed players). This is the reason why a good exercise for two-handed backhand is to practice one left hand groundstroke as shown in the video clip. Some players use right hand as dominated hand for two-handed backhand, which is how one to hit for one-handed backhand. This video clip will definitely help those players to make correction. This raises an interesting question, what roles right hand play then? One role is to stabilize racquet swing as mentioned in the video clip. I would think there are two other important roles, one is to facilitate whip like motion of racquet swing, the other is to act as a pivot for racquet to generate more angular momentum.

Stroke Training and Warm-Up Aids

Thursday, March 12th, 2009

One effective sports training is to carry or add more weight. Tennis stroke training and warm-up aids are exactly designed with this in mind.

Pat Etcheberry, “Etch” to all his players, is a strength and conditioning coach, and fitness guru who has trained many top tennis players like Pete Sampras, Andre Agassi, Jim Courier, Monica Seles, Jennifer Capriati, Martina Hingis, Jelena Janković and Justine Henin. ETCH-Swing is one of his training aids that he uses to train his players. This video clip shows how ETCH-Swing is used for stroke training and warm-up. (You can buy ETCH-Swing here.)

Pre-Stroke Trainer is a 9-ounce weight used to clip on your racquet. Many pro players use it for stroke training and warm-up.

Pre-Stroke Trainer

Pre-Stroke Trainer

Pro Racket Plates Tennis Warm-ups Aid PROPLATES is a attached-on weight for a tennis racquet which is used for the same purpose. (You can find it here.)

Five Essential Elements of Serve

Tuesday, March 10th, 2009

Jim McLennan, an editor of newsletters of tennisone.com understands the essence how to improve your serve by addressing these five common mistakes in his excellent free serve report on his website.

“Sadly, most people rarely improve their serve. In fact, 9 out of 10 people
ALL make the SAME mistakes. Doesn’t matter if it is losing balance with
the toss, an overtight grip or a swing without rythym, your serve will
never improve until you master these basics” – Jim McLennan

1. Losing balance with the toss – shifting your weight forward too soon
2. Toss and swing out of sync – disrupting rhythm
3. An overly tight grip – causing tension from the arm up to the shoulder
4. Serving without any spin
5. Hitting the ball without any snap at the top of the swing

Grap his full report from essentialtennisinstruction.com.

Tennis Fun Videos

Monday, March 9th, 2009

Several tennis fun videos has been added to video lessons.

Five Essential Drills

Monday, March 9th, 2009

“Practice does not make perfect. Perfect practice makes perfect.”

1. Consistency Drill

Players hit groundstrokes with each other as many rallies as possible to zones between the service lines and baselines, no winners and forced errors. Record the maximum number of consecutive rallies.

2. Figure 8 Drill

One player hits every groundstroke crosscourt, another player hits every groundstroke down the line.

3. Volley Drill

One player volleys near the net (3 to 4 feet from the net) in ad court, crosscourt then down the line. The other player is at the baseline and hits groundstrokes back to the net player. The net player then moves to the deuce side and repeat the same drill.

4. Overhead Drill

One player feeds lobs to the other at the net to force the net player to move back to hit an overhead smash to each side of the court. After hitting the smash, the net player immediately runs forward and touches the net with racquet head.

5. Serve/Return Drill

One player serves to the other with three serves: wide, center and down the T. The returner returns crosscourt, center and down the line for each type of serves.

For more details, go to here.

Dynamic Warm-Up

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2009

A video clip of dynamic warm-up by Paul Gold has been added to video lessons.

The dynamic warm-up sequence includes:

  • Skipping forwards & backwards
  • Side shuffles
  • Carioca
  • Butt kicks
  • High knees
  • Zig Zags
  • Walking quad stretch and high kick walks
  • Walking Lunges
  • Leg and arm swings
  • Shadowing


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