Equipment Tips
Preparation Tips
Footwork Tips
Ground Stroke Tips
Serve Tips
Service Return Tips
Power Shot Tips
Specialty Shot Tips
Mental Game Tips
Other Tennis Lessons, Myths, and Tips

 

 

Equipment Tips

 

Always have a spare shirt on hot days, and never wear dark colors on sunny days.
On cool days, wear a tracksuit to the court.
Wear the correct Tennis Shoes for the surface you are playing on. Rubber soled herringbone for clay and synthetic grass, polyurethane for hard court, pimple soled rubber for natural grass. The correct footwear is as important as the correct racquet, it you have trouble moving, you will have trouble playing your shots.
If you can afford it, a second racquet is worth the investment.
Have your racquets strung at least once a year. If you have two racquets have both strung at the same time. Remember tight strings give more control, loose strings give more power. Have a professional stringer, match the string and tension to your racquet model and your style of play.
Always test new balls by squeezing them to see if they're uniform. This will effect how fast and how high they will bounce.
Use a racquet that suits your physical makeup.
Don't eat while you play. Drink small amounts of water regularly, and if you must eat, a bite of a banana every few games will get you through a long match.
Always have Band-Aids, a towel and a drink when you play. If it is outdoors, a hat, sun block and a wristband sweatlet.
Practice and play with the same intensity, short periods with great energy.
Bring everything you may possibly need to the court. Don't use the excuse,"I lost because I forgot to bring my ....."
Carry the book, 'The Rules of Tennis', with you when ever you are playing a match. (A Copy is available on this Site) If it is a tournament, a copy of the conditions of the tournament is also important.
Wear two pairs of socks, one thick and one thin, so that they will rub each other instead of your feet.
When purchasing new Tennis Shoes, buy a pair a half size too big, so you can wear two pairs of socks. Wear these shoes casually for a few weeks before actually playing in them.

 

Preparation Tips

 

When warming up during the hit up, you are not ready to play unless you can hit four shots in a row (serves, forehands, backhands, etc.) to the center of the court.
During the warm up, study your opponent to notice anything they do that is different or peculiar.
Practice early before a match so you have time to shower, lie down and tone your metal and nervous system.
The greatest thing a player needs to help himself is apprehension. It is good to be confident, but if you are sincerely confident, you are probably over confident and cocky.
Think of what you can do to win key points. The score is the key, win the point on the first court each time and you will never be down.
Find out if your match is to be played on a front court with a crowd, a back court with no one, on a court with shadows, a dry slippery clay court, a fast cement court or a medium paced synthetic court. This will help your game plan.
Know the background of potential wind conditions.
Prepare a game plan, and an alternate as a backup.
Practice often in slow motion in front of a mirror. Study and change each aspect of your stroke until you are happy. Slow motion develops muscle memory.
With the correct preparation, a winning attitude can be developed. If you have worked hard and set realistic goals, there is no reason why you cannot develop a winning attitude.
Memorize the rules of tennis and the special conditions of the tournament. (A copy of the rules are available on this site)
If you have not seen your opponent play, make them play as many different shots as possible in the warm up. This will help you get an idea of their weaknesses.
Don't go in blind for the match. It may take a set to learn about the person you are playing.
Model your game on your natural talents, but perfect your technique first.
While waiting to play, block everything out of you mind so you are mentally prepared for the challenge and excitement of the upcoming match.
With only average physical attributes but a high degree of emotional and intellectual capabilities, it is amazing how little one must do to win at most levels of tennis.......but how difficult it is to do it.
Show the feelings on the outside you wish to have on the inside.
When coaching some students, to achieve the best results one must speak often, teaching them almost after every shot. To others, you explain the shot once or twice and just continue to feed balls, they will figure out the correct way of stroking.

 

Footwork Tips

 

Assume every ball your opponent hits will be away from you, stay on your toes and be alert.
You can't have good footwork without watching the ball, after all you are playing the ball not your opponent.
If you can't get to it, you can't hit it, if you can't recover you can't hit it twice in a row.
In singles, your headquarters on the court should be no farther back than 1.2 metres (4 Feet) behind the baseline. It is better to hit the ball on the rise than play the shot off the back fence.
Forehands can be hit from open or closed stances, but backhands must be hit from a closed stance.
Make normal running steps in the backcourt for wide balls, and then side step back to the middle of the court.
Footwork should and will become instinct with practice.
Quick feet, slow unhurried swing. Hurry up to slow down, so you won't have to rush the shot. Most people have slow feet.
Footwork gives perfect balance. Head and feet should be on the same line because it is easier to get under the ball and you don't lose your balance.
The closer the ball is to the vertical center of your body, the more control. The farther away (in front), the more power.
In Baseball, you have a strike zone, the plate, in Tennis make an imaginary plate or strike zone. For comfortable strokes, keep your front foot properly distanced from the strike zone.
As the point speeds up, get lower and crouch more.


Ground Stroke Tips

 

Always have a comfortable ready position, where the racquet can go to either side easily.
To keep the ball in court follow-through lower on a harder ball and higher on a softer ball, when hitting flat.
Watch the ball all the way to your racquet, and then all the way back to your opponents racquet.
The second shot you hit is always the most important one in every point.
When following through try to keep the ball on the racquet as long as possible. To do this think of the ball as being very heavy and much larger, then try to hit through the entire thickness of it.
Don't stop the swing at contact with the ball, finish the swing and let the racquet do the work.
Observe is rule, 'Hit the ball with minimum effort and achieve maximum result, not maximum effort and minimum result'.
Watch your opponent hit the ball and determine in they are hitting in front or by there side. If it is by their side it is probably a weak shot.
When running for a ball get the racquet back early, so when you reach the ball your are prepared to hit it.
Don't play shots that are going to leave you out of position, unless you are going for a winner.
When you make a mistake, turn and walk away and try to visualize the correction.
Don't wait for the ball to bounce, get your racquet back early for the shot.
Go for depth when playing a baseliner, the deeper you hit the ball, the more effective you will be.
To help shoulder turn on the backhand, practice taking the racquet back with your left hand.
Force your opponent to play short by using depth, angles and force.
To keep the ball deep in singles, hit higher not always harder.
Hit the ball on top of the bounce or slightly on the rise, not only will the ball be easier to hit but you will get the ball back to your opponent in much less time.
When you make a error, learn by it, correct it and then try not to do it again.

 

Serving Tips

 

Develop physical habits like wiggling your forearm and wrist before you serve. This will help your mind and relaxation.
Remember, your serve is only as good as your second serve.
Be very deliberate when serving, go through the same routine each time before serving. Remember, the serve is the only chance you have of hitting a ball before your opponent touches it.
Think where you are going to hit the ball, not now. As soon as you start to think how, you tend to forget where.
Serve to opponent's weakness and make your opponent return to your strength.
When tossing the ball keep your arm up as long as possible, this will help keep you in balance.
To help develop 'feel' of the serve, touch the ball on the strings of your racquet before you serve.
Before tossing, keep your eyes on the target (service square) as long as possible, visualizing the serve. Then your eyes go up with the toss of the ball.
Don't take your eye off the ball when you serve, keep your head up.
Don't chase a bad toss, catch it and start again. Remember, the serve is the only shot in tennis where you can do this, and if it fails you can have a second go.
When serving with the wind, use more spin to pull the ball in.
Play the first two serves at your opponent, get up 30-0, then go wide for the ace.
Never let your opponent get grooved on the return. Vary your serve with placement, spin and pace.
Concentrate on making the first part of your swing slow, and the second part fast, do not abort the follow-through motion of your racquet.

 

Service Return Tips

 

Experience what it is like to emotionally hit a great return before you do it.
Position yourself to cover all the possibilities. Experiment to find the best spot according to your reflexes to cover fast serves down the middle and to keep someone from slicing you very wide.
Watch the ball in the toss as it leaves the server's hand.
Do not try to beat your opponent with uncontrolled offense. Instead, try to keep from being beaten by controlled defense.
In the beginning, concentrate on getting your returns back. You can often win points by the error of the other player.
Move into the ball when returning, this gets more weight behind the ball.
Turn your shoulders to return, this is one of the most important aspects of returning serve.
The size and height of the back swing depends on the height, length and speed of the ball you are trying to handle. Shorter back swings on fast serves, longer back swings on slower spin serves.
Don't panic when returning. Shorten your back  swing and keep a nice smooth tempo.
Against a net rusher return low and short. Against a baseliner return deep and softer.
Don't push your return, stroke it back. Make the server think about what you might do next.
When playing a serve-and-volleyer keep your returns low and dipping by hitting fairly flat or with moderate topspin.
On 30-40, second serve, try standing in the doubles alley for the return. This will create an element of surprise for the server and may force a double fault.
Play the ball not the opponent.
Try to win the points on the first court (forehand side), this will keep you in front and put pressure on the server.

 

Power Shot Tips

 

The key to power shots is to 'go for it' when the opportunity arises.
Don't go for shots you are not qualified to make. Often it is not a matter of shot production, it's a matter of trying to do too much.
Against a serve and volleyer, try to get to the net ahead of him. Let him worry about you.
Stay basic, KISS Keep It Simple Stupid.
Don't take a full back swing on a smash, take the racquet straight to the back of the head.
Some players achieve great success despite of their unorthodoxy, not because of it.
Never take the approach shot and only half hit it, hit it crisp and place it. Hit it low and harder.
The smart tennis player always gives the opponent more chances to make an error than he gives himself.
Make your first volley at the 'T' and you have 50 percent chance of winning the point. Make the first volley 1 meter (3 feet) from the net, and your chances of winning the point increases to 90 percent.
The volley is a positioning shot. Don't go for too many outright winners. You will get your share with good placement.
On hard courts and clay, if you can't put your first volley away, it's better to volley back down the line. If you volley crosscourt, there is a good chance you will get passed.
The more you hit through a power shot, the more apt you are to keep the swing true.
If you have built your game around one outstanding shot, don't overlook that shot in practice and only practice your weaknesses.
If you practice for two hours, spend one hour on your power shot, and the other hour on the rest of your game. Remember the power shot wins your matches.
When volleying keep moving forward, don't make the first volley and then stand and watch.

 

Specialty Shots

 
Don't think of a lob or a drop shot as totally new strokes, they are simply a very high or very short ground stroke.
A good drop shot should bounce 9 times before it reaches the service line.
Let the wind carry a defensive lob and make it bounce higher. The wind can sometimes turn it into an offensive lob.
A defensive lob is hit into the open court. An offensive lob is hit over the net man's head. If two people are at the net, lob mostly down the center.
Practice the 'little game' (half court), with slow motion strokes and placement.
Remember the Eleventh Commandment - Know Thy Opponent - and then you can guess your opponents shots, like the lob return of serve off the backhand.
Always drop shot a drop shot.
You have to be relaxed to play a drop shot. Usually you either win or lose the point with a drop shot.
The drop shot and drop volley are used by most players when they are tired or unsure, mostly it would have been better to wait a little longer before playing it.
Drop volley when you are going to lose the point or when you are very wide and a normal volley will be easily run down.
A smart player uses the lob as the second passing shot. You hit the first passing shot, they reach it and volley it back. Invariably most players will then close in tight to the net, a perfect time for a lob passing shot.

 

The Mental Side

 

For the mental advantage, meet your opponent with a big smile on your face, and be the first to shake hands and introduce yourself.
When entering the court, be the first to chose which chair to leave your gear on, and then control the warm up by asking your opponent to give you certain shots. i.e. Could you give me a few smashes, etc.
Play to the score, different shots for different situations.
Before you can really enjoy and be successful at tennis, you must conquer the fears and doubts in your mind.
If you are nervous, hit out on the first few shots of the match to get rid of the tension.
When you lose a point, don't always get down on yourself, give your opponent credit for a good shot.
The worst thing you can do in a game of tennis is to over think. Play your own game until your opponent proves you have to do something else.
On vital points in you are nervous, execute a predetermined sequence of shots to take your mind off the pressure of the point.
To counter choking during play, breathe out aggressively and fully as you make contact with the ball, make the sound of Shh....at the precise moment of contact.
If your conscious mind is telling you what to do, try the saying to yourself bounce when the ball bounces and hit when you make contact with the ball.
On changeovers, think of the score, remember your opponents weaknesses, plan your next game plan and prepare yourself for the next two games.
Some people over hit when they choke, others push the ball. Forget about your opponent when choking and hit primarily cross court. This will give you more length to hit into by going diagonally,
To help a beginners frame of mind, it should be stressed at the beginning that winning isn't too important, that matches are like going to school. This helps to postpone the pressure until they have learnt how to deal with it better.
In you feel you play better from behind, pretend you are. Fantasize the score to your advantage.
Stare at the ball before you play to put yourself in the right frame of mind.

 

Other Tennis Lessons, Myths, and Tips

Basic Principles Of Good Doubles Close in on the net and prevent your opponents doing it.
Bury Those Short High Balls Don't you just love getting those short, high-bouncing balls that look so inviting?
Find A players Weakness Quickly Weaknesses fall into three categories: technical, physical and mental.
First Serve Percentages Well, they do it because the serve is arguably the most significant shot in modern tennis.
Good Footwork In tennis, having strong legs is not enough.
Improve my two-handed backhand You should be balanced, weight slightly forward, elbows and knees slightly bent, racket in front of you.
Prepare Early Beginners are invariably told to "prepare early!" It's good advice while you're developing your technique. However...

 

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