From My Tennis Bag? Learning and progressing in the game of tennis is an evolutionary process. Over the years I've always kept a few index cards in my tennis bag to help with particular aspects of my game. These cards contain "tips" that come from what seems to have helped my game in the past. Maybe even from just the last match. Some tips are occur to me while playing, as in "Aha! That seems to really help." Some tips come from watching others play, from watching tennis lesson videos, or reading tennis articles and books. If there's something I want to remember, such as stroke technique or mental approach, I just jot it down on an index card to review before the next match. Caution These tips are what helped my game at different times. You're free to use them or discard them, but there is no way I can tell if they would be helpful to you. So, what I am showing you is just an example of a tool that you can use. Namely, a way to keep track of what works in your tennis game. KEY: Find what is working for you, write it down, keep the notes in your tennis bag, and you'll have an excellent, personalized reference for the next time you take the court. So... just tipped my tennis bag onto its side and this is what fell out: General Tips Get the racket back, both forehand and backhand. Need that to develop power. Follow the ball - obvious isn't it? But, tracking it as close as possible to the racket reduces off-center hits.. Stay low to the ground; move quickly to the ball. Ground Strokes Forearm/racket at right angle (90 deg). Well not necessarily at a full 90 deg, which would be awkward. But moving towards the right angle position seems to lock the racket and wrist more firmly with the arm and produce more power. Arm straight on ground strokes. I use this when my mechanics feel out of control. With arm straight, shoulder to wrist, I lose some power but get cleaner hits. I'm then depending more on wrist snap to produce power. Choke up for firmer strokes. Move grip slightly towards racket head. Drive through the ball. Bend knees on low shots. The Serve Keep feet on the ground. Stop jumping at the ball. Firm grip at the hit, but keep wrist flexible so that the racket snaps through the ball. Hatchet swing. Good when the second serve is too erratic. Swinging as if wielding a hatchet improves my control and puts heavy slice on the serve. Statue of Liberty serve. Reach up and hit down into the serve court. This seems to work as a nice change-up serve for me, and surprises my opponent. Visualizations See the racket as having a giant head. Makes hitting in the sweet-spot easier. Simplify. Focus on court, ball, and the hit zone. Helps prevent too much focus on mechanics and techniques. Big wedge. When volleying, notice the greater, wedge shaped area available to hit into, compared to ground strokes. See arm and racket as one continuous unit. Magnetic shoes. For sure footing, imagine your shoes are magnetically attracted to the court surface.
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