This time we will look more into tennis technique, especially how to improve your shots. Balance is key. Balance is one of the most important things in tennis, maybe in life too :)
But it’s not as easy as it sounds. Balance is not just one thing. It’s a complex process of things you. You might hear from your coach stuff like don't jump, bend your knees, get lower, don't move your head, eyes on the ball, move your feet, earlier backswing, stay still, etc. All of this is part of balance.
A strong base will help you to produce better shots. That’s why it's good to strengthen your hips, gluteus and core (you can read about it in previous post). Nearly every point starts with "ready position". If you have been playing tennis since you were a kid then you might remember times when you had to get back after every shot into ready position. Even when you are older you should keep this in your mind. With good ready position the percentage of playing shot well balanced is higher. But how does the right ready position looks like? I like to use an easy test, get into firm ready position and let your friend to slightly push you if you don't move your ready position is good.
This video is from Wimbledon 2017. It's round 1 Lara Arruabarrena against Anett Kontaveit. Look at this top players they are always ready for another shot. Staying very low with a strong base through the whole point. It's the reason why you have to bend your knees to generate more power into the shot and accuracy. Ideally you wish to stay still through the whole point and just rotate around your axis, but unfortunately it doesn't work like this in matches. Wrong bounce, wrong footwork, the placement of the ball is too good or ball is coming too fast, changing the rhythm, playing deep and then short balls, running from side to side this all can effect your balance. From a tactical point of view this is how you can win a point. To get your opponent into trouble with balance. This often causes error or as easy shot from your opponent.
Here are few tips to help you improve your balance.
Improve your footwork pattern. Poor footwork could be the reason for hitting ball late and off balance. Work on your patterns and recovery steps.
If you stay still the ball will go your direction with enough speed. You will have good control over the ball, even if the ball is deep or fast you can adjust it. Your lower body needs to stay still and the upper body will do the work.
Look at the ball
Your head needs to stay very still as well. This will help you with balance. Many players nod with their head, especially when serving and as a result they loose balance and hit the ball to the net.
Work on your balance
Try to do single leg balancing exercises.
Read the game
Analyze your opponent’s pattern. Read your opponent's game from the position of their body (hips).
Need help with your game, contact us for individual tennis lessons or come along to one of our group sessions.