Welcome to our coaching tips page aimed at those club players who aren’t quite ready to play at Wimbledon……….
The Importance of a good Ready Position
Here is the story of Percy the Penguin who was a reasonable club player but during each point he kept his racket down by his side simply because his flippers weren’t long enough to allow him to get into a proper ready position. Hopefully you are not like Percy and you are able to get to a good ready position. Weight forward, feet shoulder width apart, racket up and out in front with your non dominant hand on the throat. (The racket’s throat – not your opponent’s). So don’t be like Percy – get that ready position. Remember – good tennis shots all start from a good ready position.
The Serve - Keep it Simple
Over the years I have seen many different serves. What I find extraordinary is the amount of unnecessary movement people put into their serves before and during the action. I have seen players rocking their arms back and forth like they are sawing wood, pointing their racket up to the sky as if they are duck shooting or even doing the hokey cokey before they serve – left foot in, left foot out, in, out, in, out, shake it all about – SERVE. The serve is actually quite simple – throw the ball up and hit it. Cut out any unnecessary movement and see your serve improve
The Right Racket for Your Child
The second most common question I am asked is ‘what size racket should I buy for my child’. (The most common question is ‘Wot, you STILL ‘ere?). Rackets come in various sizes usually measured in inches if you are in the UK. The junior sizes are 19, 21, 23, 25, 26 inches with 27 inch being adult size. To get the right size get your child to hold a racket straight down by his/her side. The top of the racket should be 1 inch above the ground. Make sure your child is perfectly upright because some of the little horrors will do a good impression of the leaning tower of Piza if they think they want a bigger racket.
Warm up Properly
Anyone remember the old Batman TV series? Kiddies if you don’t know what I’m talking about then look it up on Face Tube. During each episode there would be a dust up between Batman and his erstwhile adversaries such as the Joker and the Penguin. When Batman landed a knuckle sandwich on the bad guy a caption would come up - ‘WALLOP!’, ‘BIFF!’, ‘SPLAT!’. This is a bit like watching some players warm up in for a tennis match. Straight on court and ‘POW!!’. Warm up slowly – in the service boxes if necessary with a shortened swing and exaggerate watching the ball onto your racket. It will help. Ah they don’t make telly like that any more – thank goodness.
Be prepared for that Next Shot!
Years ago when I had a proper job there was a poster in the office of a little boy on a potty with the caption ‘The job is never complete until the paperwork has been done’. This can be related to tennis – believe it or not. So many players hit a shot and think that is the end of it – no it isn’t. You need to recover to your correct position and get ready for the next shot. The shot is never finished until you have done this. Because yes - believe it or not – the ball might just come back!
Approach the Net Better
Anyone seen an octopus falling out of a tree? I have. Well I haven’t actually but I’ve seen the next best thing. It was when one of our players decided it was time to come to the net and finish the point. Arms and legs flailing in all directions – here comes the ball – KERPOW. Everyone ducked for cover. Now there is nothing wrong with coming to the net but it needs to be done in an orderly manner. Make sure you steady yourself in a good ready position as our opponent hits the ball. That way you will be able to make a better volley.
Patience is a Virtue
It is very important to be patient when you are trading on a tennis court. ‘TRADING?!’ I hear you cry. ‘It’s bad enough trying to win the point without having to negotiate the price of a barrel of crude oil at the same time’. Well actually ‘trading’ is the modern parlance for the phase in a point where neither player is on top. So don’t try and force the issue – be patient and wait for your opportunity to present itself.