Here are a few lesson tips
Deal in Time Not Distance by Coach Jim
I see many players trying to get too close to the net after they serve, thinking that they must at least be inside the service line to hit the opponent's return. The problem with that is they cannot change directions and cover the court adequately, because they are on the move when the ball is hit and are not in a balanced position, which would enable them to spring at whatever shot the opponent has hit. Therefore, their obsession to get in close after the serve leaves them open to a wide angle, lob, and low return. Speed with balance before the ball is hit is terrific; speed for speed's sake may be your downfall. Have A great game.
How to Avoid Overhitting When you get a Real Sitter
by: Coach Jim
Shorten it! Shorten your racket and shorten your backswing! They haven't invented a racket with a button that shortens the grip for these sort of shots, but you can achieve the same effect by shifting your hand up the grip a couple of inches. This should give you the feeling that you've got more control over the swing. Shorten your backswing too - just a shoulder turn will do. But still go for a full follow-through, because the last thing you want to do is trade your overhitting for a "nothing" shot! give it a try next time on the courts
Adding Spin to your groundstrokes
by Coach Jim
Batting a ball to and fro over a net is okay, but it's very basic. If tennis was a language, we're talking morse code. Once you can master the basics, what you really want to do is make the ball do stuff - you want to make it talk, don't you? If tennis was a TV set, you'd want more than just an on-and-off switch and a volume control - you'd want a channel selector and a brightness control and a contrast control and so on. If you're going to control a rally, you need to control the ball. And that's where spin comes in.
With groundstrokes, your spin options are topspin and slice.
With topspin, the ball dips to the ground quicker and bounces higher than you'd expect from a ball with no spin. It allows you to hit harder - and higher over the net - with less risk of hitting long. It also allows you to dip balls at the feet of an incoming volleyer. Use it as your stock rally ball, but flatten it out a bit to go for winners. Topspin is a player's insurance policy and you shouldn't be allowed to drive without it!
With slice (or backspin), the ball floats through the air longer and bounces lower than you'd expect from a ball with no spin. It allows you to hit deeper and lower, forcing your opponent to hit up on the ball - very desirable if your opponent has an extreme "closed" grip or you're approaching the net for a volley or an overhead. Use it as an approach shot and use it for defence when you've been stretched out of position, because the ball will travel slowly and buy you time to recover for your next shot. A slice backhand is essential to an attacking net game, such as that deployed by Tim Henman, Pat Rafter, Martina Navratilova and John McEnroe. It can be particularly effective to combat topspin with slice, since the direction of the spin is maintained rather than reversed, i.e. you're actually adding to the existing spin on the ball.
When you first learn how to play spins, it's okay to experiment and see what you can do. It's like when you get that new TV set and you sit there playing with the remote! Eventually, you'll get familiar with it and just use the controls you need.
|3 Ways to Improve Your Doubles Play
by: Coach Jim
1. Participate in drill sessions at your club.
No matter what your skill level, drill sessions are a great tool to improve your doubles play. Live and dead ball drills are the best way to get the repetition needed to improve all of your strokes in a controlled environment. A good, quality drill session should include forehand and backhand ground strokes, volleys, overheads and doubles strategy. Remember that drill sessions aren't private lessons so don't expect to learn grip changes and things of that nature. Drill sessions are to practice for matches and to hit lot's of balls in different situations. Most clubs offer clinics or drill sessions so sign up and take part in a fun and fast paced drill session today. You won't be disappointed!
2. Work on your serve.
The serve is absolutely crucial in doubles for a variety of reasons. Getting in a high percentage of first serves will increase your chances of winning dramatically. Learning to take a little pace off of your first serve will allow for a higher serving percentage and doesn't allow the returner to 'tee-off' on a weak second serve. This will also give your partner poaching opportunities simply because the returner has to work harder at returning your first serve then your second serve. Grab a bucket of balls, place a few targets in the service boxes at the 'T', in the middle of the service box near the service line (into the body serve), one near the middle of the box near the sideline and one at the elbow (where the service line and singles sideline connect) and use a variety of speeds and spins and you should see a dramatic change in your service game and in your doubles match results!
3. Communicate, communicate, communicate!!
Watch the pros play doubles and you will see and hear a lot of talking going on out there. Between points they're not making dinner plans (at least hopefully not!) but discussing strategy. During the point they're yelling, "mine" "yours" "leave it" (meaning let the ball go). Good communication is crucial to successful doubles teams. Telling your partner you're serving to the 'T' forces you as the server to try and hit the spot and it also allows your partner to tell you what he plans to do which helps greatly with positioning. You know what your partner wants to do and what you need to do. For example; my partner tells me he's poaching on a serve that goes to the returners backhand. Because he's communicated this to me, I know and can anticipate covering a ball that's hit down my partner's alley thus giving us a better chance to stay in the point. Great communication takes time so be patient and learn to listen to your partner and you should see much improvement in your doubles results!
Hitting on the Rise
by: Coach Jim
There's plenty of good reasons to hit on the rise. What are they? Well, you can hit with more power because your opponent's pace is still on the ball. Also, you give your opponent less time to recover and therefore less time to prepare for the next shot. And the more you move inside the baseline the more you see over the net, enabling you to open up the rally with angled shots. If you like getting into the net, hitting on the rise gives you a better chance of closing in.
So, how do we do it? For one thing, you need to get inside the court during the rallies! Easier said than done - it's a psychological leap because you're leaving that familiar comfort zone behind the baseline - so try it in practice first! The other thing that will take some adjustment is your backswing. There will be less time for it, so you need to make it as efficient as possible - a good shoulder turn will probably suffice. Relax at the knees and stay light on your feet. Start your swing early enough to ensure firm contact just out in front of your body. Although you've had to adopt a more compact backswing, accelerate the racket head and follow through smooth and long and full.
One thing you've got to consider is the angle of the ball as it comes on to your racket - instead of a flat or downward trajectory, the ball will be angling upwards onto your strings. You'll find you won't keep the ball in the court if you use an open racket face. So adjust your grip to close the racket face slightly. It's probably a good idea to brush up on the ball to impart some topspin. This will give you a greater degree of control. give it a try
The Basic (Classic) Forehand
by Coach Jim
At practice, some players try too many irregular motions. This will inhibit muscle retention in your strokes. It's a good idea to stay "basic" to build your stroke consistency.
THE GRIP: Shake hands with the racket. (eastern grip) Extend your index finger in a trigger fashion.
WAITING POSITION: Stand facing the net, knees slightly bent, weight evenly distributed and forward on the balls of your feet. The racket is held in front of your body, elbows in close and parallel to the ground. The racket is supported with your free hand.
TURN: The shoulders and hips pivot and the right foot turns toward the net post as you transfer your weight to it. The forearm is parallel to the ground. The racket head angle with the forearm remains the same.
BACKSWING: From the turn position, the racket goes back until it is parallel to the ground- the angle between forearm and racket still remaining the same. The butt of the racket is pointing toward the net and the racket is on edge.
STEP AND HIT: The left foot steps toward the net with the weight shifting on to it. The ball is contacted opposite the left leg, approximately waist high; the arm is relatively straight and the wrist firm.
FOLLOW THROUGH: The follow through is a long, continuous sweeping motion finishing high with the racket butt opposite the left eye, (for right handers). The weight is now altogether on the front foot with hips and shoulders turned into the stroke.
You can experiment with changes in your grip by trying continental or western after you have grooved your classic forehand. Try chipping and drop shots as well to build a variety of strokes. give it a try
Close in on that volley by coach Jim
Being lazy and not closing in while hitting your volleys can cause you to hit more defensive volleys or even hit the ball into the net. When you do not close in on your volleys you are not nearly as effective as you could be. If you wait for the ball to come to you the ball will be slower, lower and cause you to hit more of a defensive volley. When you are at the net you want to be as offensive as much as each shot will allow you to be. You must move to the ball and not wait for the ball to come to you. .
Please contact me at 407-921-4376 for private or group lessons. Thanks
Moving in on slow hit shots like slice shots or high floaters will allow you to hit better angles, give you a better percentage of getting the ball in and give you more options of what you can do with the ball. Get as close to the net as you can to hit these volleys, your point may depend on it! give it a try
Self-Practice on the Forehand Volley
by: Coach Jim
Many players groove their ground strokes by hitting drop feeds to a target. You can do the same thing with your volley, and the benefits are tremendous. You will quickly get a feel for the stroke and will learn a natural, proper technique. You can even practice in your basement or garage, driveway or backyard.
Get yourself a big waste basket, ball hopper, or garbage can. Stand back several feet and toss a ball a few feet into the air. As the ball drops to about shoulder level, hit it with a volley stroke, giving it plenty of lift. You want the ball to have a nice arc so it clears the net and lands in your target.
Proper technique is critical. I suggest you stand with your shoulders facing your target, racquet in front of you and fairly vertical. Lift the ball into the air and simultaneously turn your hitting shoulder slightly away from your target (just like your service motion). This will automatically bring your racquet to a position parallel to the net. Remember, you don't want a big swing on a volley, so once your racquet is parallel to the net, that is as far back as it should go.
Use either an Eastern forehand or a continental grip. Your wrist should be in a natural position, but laid back slightly and locked firmly. Racquet preparation should occur at the same time you turn your shoulder.
Step into the ball smoothly. Let this step bring your racquet to ball contact. Your forearm should thrust forward slightly at the same time. To put backspin on the ball and give it height, take the racquet head back higher than the intended contact point and lead with the bottom edge of your racquet.
Follow-through on the volley is minimal. In fact, a good volley will have the racquet face more-or-less parallel to the net throughout the stroke. This is best accomplished by keeping the wrist firm from start to finish.
Once you are able to hit balls into your target consistently, start adding variety to the practice. Hit from different positions on the court. Hit balls higher and lower in the air (bending your knees to get down to a low ball). Try to hit your target with less arc and with more arc. Hit soft volleys and hard ones. This variety will add to your feel for the stroke and your mastery of the technique and give you confidence to execute a perfect volley during real match play. give it a try
Private lesson (1 player):
$60/hour or $35/half hour
Jim's Comment on Private Lessons: The 1-on-1 format normally produces the quickest improvement in the student's game.
- Completely individualized attention.
- The most rapid improvement.
- By far the best format in which to "fix" a stroke.
- Full activity for the entire lesson.
- Unlimited full-court hitting time with the pro.
- For advanced players, a great opportunity to compete with the pro.
- Some kids are uncomfortable without a peer present.
- No one handy for practice at competing with a peer.
- Fewer "fun" games available.
- Kids or Students whose primary objective is improving as fast as possible.
- Players who need to learn or fix a specific stroke.
- Advanced or players wanting 1-on-1 work.
Semi-Private lessons (2 players):
$35/hour per person
Jim's Comment on Semi-Private Lessons: This format works best if the two players sharing the lesson are close enough in skills to be able to compete with one another. Semi-private lessons offer an effective mixture of peer companionship and individualized instruction.
- Cost is shared between two players.
- Student has a peer for company.
- Lots of individual attention.
- Almost constant activity for both players.
- Competing with the lesson partner facilitates intensive singles instruction.
- The intensive, uninterrupted work needed to fix a stubborn stroking problem can be hard to attain.
- Some younger kids feel more comfortable with more kids around.
- If one kid learns much faster than the other, the other can become frustrated.
- Limited full-court one-on-one hitting with the pro.
- Kids/Students who want to learn quickly, but feel more comfortable with a friend around.
- Players who should compete against a peer and are not advanced enough to practice competing against the pro.
- Players who are getting involved in team and tournament competition.
- Families who cannot afford private lessons.
Group lessons (3-4 players):
$20/hour per person
Jim's Comment on Group Lessons: Group lessons are probably the most common format in which students learn tennis. The structure of group lessons begins with groups of three or four. The amount of hitting time and instruction is inversely proportional to the group size, so smaller is almost always better. Generally speaking, adults will learn faster and more soundly with an experienced pro. In general, kids learn gradually and have a lot of fun in group lessons.
- Fairly low cost: $20 per hour.
- Smaller groups (3-4) offer some individualized attention.
- A well organized group will keep all of the kids/students active most of the time.
- Singles and doubles instruction can be part of the lesson.
- Low pressure, group games are often lively and very enjoyable.
- Instructor time and attention per student decreases with group size.
- Drills that are best for one group member may not emphasize the most urgent needs of another.
- The intensive focus needed to correct one student's major stroke problem can be hard to attain.
- One-on-one hitting with the instructor is very limited.
- Students who feel most comfortable with a few friends around.
- Players who are looking more to have fun and learn gradually than to improve as fast as possible.
- Players who are not heavily involved in tournaments or team competition.
- Families who can't afford more expensive instruction.