World Tennis (1985)
Instruction Annual by

Nick Bollettieri / Dr. Appu Kuttan

 

Whatever your level of play, there are certain basics from which we all can benefit. You can improve your game significantly by making minor adjustments. These adjustments include faster reaction, better footwork and quicker preparation. Exhaust these adjustments before you turn to major changes in your game and consult with your pro before making such a move. I have always felt that keeping things simple and easy to understand is the key to successful coaching.
Look at today's champions: Connors, McEnroe, Navratilova, Evert Lloyd. None of them hits the ball alike; each has their own style.
You can ELIMINATE MOST STROKE PRODUCTION PROBLEMS by doing the following:

  • CONCENTRATE on the ball. Block out everything so that you can react the instant the ball leaves your opponent's racket.
  • ANTICIPATE and REACT quickly. Use your non-stroking hand for racket support and balance (REACTION).
  • SELECT SHOTS properly-for example, do not try to force a winner from 10 feet behind the baselineand stay with the HIGH PERCENTAGE SHOTS (SHOT SELECTION).
  • Make sure that your WEIGHT TRANSFER is forward and in the direction of the target area as you hit the ball.
  • Hit within your own style of play, but with CONSISTENCY and ACCURACY. Be determined to get the ball over the net one more time than your opponent. Place the ball; you need not go for the lines. Hit deep to a zone, three feet inside the baseline and three feet inside the sideline (CONSISTENCY, ACCURACY).
  • HIT THROUGH THE BALL, with a long, natural FOLLOW-THROUGH on your groundstrokes, serve and overhead, and with a crisp, short, punching follow-through on your volley. lie determined and positive on your serve and return of serve.
    In short, you can improve your stroke production significantly with better REACTION, better MOBILITY, better (high percentage) SHOT SELECTION and better RECOVERY.
PHOTOGRAPHY BY JAMES BOLLETTIERI• ILLUSTRATIONS BY JACQUES BIROTHEAU p.25
 

THE GRIP

To find your proper grip size, shake hands with the racket handle. If you can grip it and insert the first finger of your other hand between the fleshy base of your thumb and the tips of your fingers it's the right size. The main point is to feel comfortable with the grip.

The basic grips-Eastern, Western and Continental-all have advantages and disadvantages. Choose your grip carefully after consulting with a professional. Use the grip that gives you the most power, control and consistency.

Be flexible in selecting it. Consider factors such as your height, where you hit the ball, and the surface of the court you normally play on. In addition, take into account your accuracy, spin and power.
1. Eastern Forehand

This grip was originated on the medium-bouncing, Eastern U.S. courts, hence its name. It is the classic forehand grip and requires the least amount of adjustment.

The Eastern grip offers flexibility for individual styles, comfort for beginners, and versatility for all surfaces.

To assume this grip, "shake hands" with the racket handle. Your thumb knuckle should be on the top bevel, thus positioning the hand behind the handle. Spread your fingers slightly for better control.

Chris Fvert Lloyd has employed this grip successfully.

 
    2. Semi-Western Forehand
This offers strength and control. Hence, many youngsters and pros such as Ivan Lendl, Mats Wilander, and Jimmy Arias use it.

The semi-Western is an Eastern forehand grip with a quarter turn to the right. For beginners it is comfortable since the palm of the hand supports the racket and provides strength. This is especially suited for hitting powerful topspin loop forehands.
3. Western Forehand

This grip originated on the highbouncing cement courts of the Western U.S. It tends to close the racket face too soon, and is an excellent grip for high. balls and topspin, but awkward for low balls and under;spin. To get a Western grip hold the racket as a semi-Western forehand. Move ycnuhand a little farther to the right until the palm is under the handle and your thumb knuckle is across the top right bevel.
p.26
 

Unless you have an immensely strong wrist and impeccable timing, you will have problems with a Western grip. I do not generally recommend it for most players.

Andres Gomez uses excessive topspin with this grip. Aaron Krickstein has a grip that is in between a semiWestern and a full Western.
4 Eastern Backhand

This is the classic backhand grip. It offers maximum stability, the least amount of wrist adjustment, and an ability to impart topspin.

The Eastern forehand grip with a quarter turn to the left gives you the Eastern backhand. Your index knuckle should be on the top bevel. The Eastern forehand and backhand grips are easy to switch from one to the other.

Experiment and see if it is easier for you to switch from the backhand to the forehand or vice versa. Hold the racket at the throat, use your left hand to move the racket around for a grip change.

Brian Gottfried and Billie Jean King are among the champions who employ this grip.

5. Semi-Western Backhand
It offers excessive topspin but requires strength and an ability to accelerate the wrist on contact. It may

make a player lead with the elbow. If this is not controlled, elbow problems could occur.

The Eastern backhand with a quarter turn to the left gives you this grip. Your palm should be directly on top of the handle.
Ivan Lendl demonstrates the consis tency provided by this grip.

6. Two-Handed Backhand

There are two common grips. One has both your hands in an Eastern forehand. The other has your right hand in a Continental to Eastern backhand grip and your left hand in an Eastern forehand grip. This latter combination allows you to release your left hand and follow through with one hand on wide and short balls and volleys. Mats Wilander uses this style successfully.

Chris Evert Lloyd and Jimmy Connors are among the champions who have adapted the two-handed backhand.

7. Continental

This grip originated on the lowbouncing clay courts of Europe. It is the classic volley grip and is also called the "lazy player's grip," because no change is required from forehand to backhand.

To assume this grip, move your Eastern forehand grip an eighth of an inch turn to the left. With this grip, a firm wrist on contact is required to maintain control.

The Continental grip requires an exceptionally strong wrist and excellent timing. It gives you more consistency and control but less power. It is quite good for hitting slice serves.

Rod Later and Virginia Wade are among the top players who have used this grip.

TIPS
1). The grip is fundamental to every shot you hit on the court. Making an adjustment may feel uncomfortable in the beginning, but with practice your grip will become second nature and your game will improve.

2). Keep your grip constant throughout a stroke.

3). Keep your racket face vertical on contact except for underspin shots.

4). Be patient with your grip. You must feel comfortable with it.

5). Don't be afraid to change a grip if it can help your game.

p.27
  Forehand

Most tennis players start by hitting forehands. The forehand is a natural motion, like swinging a baseball bat. The majority of you hit your forehand with either a straight back (see A on adjacent page) or a circular loop backswing (see Jimmy Arias in B).
You may, in fact, begin with a straightback backswing but incorporate the loop later.

Do not pre-select your style; the style most natural to you will emerge. Since most instruction books deal with the conventional or straightback forehand, I thought I would discuss the loop forehand and offer some tips and cures to sharpen that shot.

THE LOOP

The semi-Western loop forehand has revolutionized the tennis world, as illustrated by the enormous success of Borg, Lendl, Wilander and Arias. It provides power, spin, timing and control.

The advantage of the loop is that your backswing proceeds in a smooth, continuous motion without hesitation. Prior to the forward part of the swing, the racket head drops down, gets underneath the ball, and then comes up through the ball with a flowing low-to-high motion that can provide added power without extra physical effort and excess body motion.

Concentrate on developing the timing and rhythm necessary for this powerful stroke and you may find yourself with a dangerous weapon on the forehand side.

1. Ready Position

The ready position is the foundation upon which all strokes are based. Assume a relaxed, comfortable and natural ready-to-move stance. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, weight slightly forward and knees relaxed. Hold your arms away from the body, with the racket head slightly above the wrist at about waist level. Concentrate solely on the ball.

p.28
  I recommend the semi-Western forehand grip. It offers strength because of the position of the palm being directly behind the racket.

Accompanied by accelerated wrist action, this grip enables you to hit excessive topspin, drives and lobs,
plus angle shots.

The Eastern forehand grip is also acceptable for this stroke. With this grip, your racket head will be right down the middle in line with your nose.

2. Backswing

Your backswing has a major influence on the success of vour stroke. AS soon as you decide to hit a forehand, push your racket head up with the left hand, starting a smooth, compact, circular backswing.

Keep your arm fairly close to your body. The racket head reaches the maximum height at, or slightly above, your right shoulder.

As the racket head reaches your shoulder, relax your arm and extend it slightly outward and backward.

3. Forward Swing


Be sure that the forward swing is part of a smooth and continuous circular motion. It is necessary for added
power. Keep your arm and racket slightly away from your hody, enabling you to rotate from the shoulder.

Bring the racket head below tire hall and swing forward and upward with a brushing motion. Just before contact, speed up your racket adding further topspin and power to your stroke. Even though the racket head is below the wrist, make sure that your wrist is firm and that your arm is relaxed throughout.

It is important to start your weight transfer in the direction of the target area as you begin your swing.

4 Contact

Make contact with the hall slightly in front of your body with your body weight coming forward. Make sure that you firm up the grip just before contact.

Hit through the hall smoothly and with complete confidence. Hesitation on contact will he disastrous. Make sure that your front foot is planted firmly.

5 Follow-Through


After contact, keep your arm relaxed and follow through with a long and smooth natural motion.
p.29
 

TIPS
1). The backswing for the loop forehand should be a small, continuous circular motion.

2). Timing is the key to the loop forehand. Starting the loop too early and hesitating, or starting too late and rushing, will force you to compensate with too much wrist or excess body motion.

3). If your loop is too high and you are constantly late, move inside the baseline and try hitting the ball on the rise. This forces you into a smaller, more compact loop.

4). To generate more power, do not use more body. Good timing and a long, relaxed stroke with the racket head accelerating up acid Out through the ball will provide ycnt with plenty of power. And relax while hitting the stroke.

CURES
1). Dropping the racket head before beginning the loop-In this photo you can see how the racket head is dropping as I am beginning my loop. This little extra motion takes time and may produce half a swing that causes you to compensate with extra wrist or body motions.

2). Taking the elbow back-- Taking the elbow back first can he a problem with the loop forehand. Some exceptional players (Borg, Lendi) hit the ball this way, but I feel that it will cause the average player trouble in that it forces you to rush your stroke and use an excessive amount of wrist and shoulder to compensate for dragging the racket head. Let the racket head go back first.

3). Loop is too high-One essential key to the loop forehand is timing. By taking the racket back too high, your timing, rhythm and control may be upset. Keep the loop a small, continuous circular motion.

4). Finishing too low-A successful loop forehand requires, for the most part, high follow-through. Here I am smothering the ball by finishing down by my waist. I am hitting from high to low, rather than low to high. For maximum height and depth, you should finish up.

 

 

p.30
 

Backhand

The backhand is your most natural stroke with the swing moving easily away from your body. Yet many of you have a fear of the backhand, often developed early in your playing career.
The reasons vary from lack of strength to overemphasizing the need to learn the forehand first and then moving on to the "difficult side"-the backhand

1. Ready Position

I strongly recommend an Eastern backhand grip, especially for a beginner. The left hand holds the throat of the racket making it possible for the right hand to adjust the grip if you are not already holding a backhand. The left hand also provides extra strength and support on the backhand.
Be sure to have your hitting arm relaxed and never stiff or tense.

2. Backswing
As soon as you elect to hit a backhand, start the shoulder rotation and begin pulling the racket head back with the left hand. Although some feel that turning the shoulders will automatically bring the arm and racket back in the same motion, I suggest that the left hand exaggerate the process by pulling the racket head hack.

3. Forward Swing

In a continuous motion, place the racket head below the contact point and then swing through the ball from low to high with a firm wrist. As you
begin your forward swing, start your
weight transfer toward the target area. This will provide balance, lift and power.

4. Contact

Lack of strength, especially when learning the backhand at a young age, will be most evident upon contact. To offset this, be sure to contact the ball in front of you where your weight transfer will provide you with more strength. Hit through the ball in a continuous low-to-high motion.

5 Follow-Through
After making contact with the ball, your arm should continue cut toward the target with a smooth, long and relaxed follow-through.

p.31
  TIPS
1). Pull the racket head back with your opposite hand resting lightly on the throat for balance and control.

2). A good shoulder turn will help you in taking your racket back and in transferring your weight while step
ping into the shot.

3). Do not muscle the shot by forcing the shoulders open. Let the arm and the racket go out away from your body on the follow-through and the shoulders will open up naturally.

4). To avoid pulling up too quickly off the stroke, keep the front knee relaxed and let the racket head finish
smoothly out front.

5). If you are constantly getting too close to the ball, check your footwork. You are probably stepping across, parallel to the baseline, and right into the path of the ball. Step toward the net and let the arm reach out for the ball away from your body.Good footwork is essential to a successful stroke.

CURES
1). Left hand not on the throat-By taking the racket back with only one hand, the backswing may be inconsistent and the wrist may become loose and sloppy. Pull the racket head back first, with the left hand lightly on the throat for support and strength.

2). Arm too far away from body on backswing-By taking the racket back in this position, you can see how the elbow is sticking out. It is very likely that the elbow will also lead on the forward part of the swing, causing the wrist to break, the racket head to drag.

3). Not bending for the low ball-Notice how my front knee is completely locked. This makes it impossible for me to bend and get down to the level of the ball. As a result, my wrist collapses and I will probably lose control of this shot. Relax your front knee and bend for the low ball.

4). Racket head dropping on follow-through-In swinging from low to high, it is important not to let the wrist totally collapse and let the racket head finish in a downward position. The wrist should remain firm on the follow-through with the racket head up and out. The wrist should not be cocked, however, and the racket head should not be too high.

p.32

 

Backhand of the Future?

There are two methods of hitting the two-handed backhand, the guide and the wrap-around. The classical guide method, used by Evert Lloyd, Austin and Bassett, is easier to master. The wrap-around, employed by Borg and Temesvari, requires precise timing but provides extra topspin. But the shot of the future may be the twohanded backhand with a one-hand release, popularized by Borg and Mats Wilander and shown here with Lisa Bonder.

If I were to work with a beginning junior or adult today, I would probably start them with a two-handed backhand, but with grips that would allow them to change to a one-hand

3. Forward Swing

Again, the forward swing is the same as with the two-hander. In a smooth and continuous motion, drop the racket head slightly below the contact point. Then, together, move your arms, wrists and the racket forward with a low-to-.high suing generating ample power and spin.
Relax the front knee, get under the ball, and transfer your weight in the direction of the target area.

ed hackhand or a two-handed backhand with a one-hand release.

1. Ready Position

Keep your arms and racket up and away from your body at about waist level. Wait with both hands together, ready to hit either a backhand or a forehand, and watch the ball every second. If the right hand is on anything less than a Continental, the racket face may have a tendency to open up too much,causing the ball to fly. It also makes it very tough to let go on volleys, approaches and backhands if your bottom hand is too close to a forehand grip.

4 Contact

Contact is also similar to that of the two-handed backhand. Both hands should be on the racket during contact. The ball should be hit slightly in front of the lead foot. it is important to understand that you should not have to let go with one hand before contact just because the ball is low or wide. You have to make yourself move and get to these shots, hit with two hands, and let go as you start the follow-through.

2. Backswing

An early backswing is the key to the success of this stroke; begin your backswing the instant you decide to hit a backhand. As you rotate your shoulders take the racket hack ahOut waist height with your arms close to your body. Keeping your arms relaxed and wrists firm, extend your arms out toward the fencc area.

The backswing for this stroke is the same as that for the two-handed backhand. Proper preparation consists of a good shoulder turn and an early backswing with your arms relaxed and fairly close to the body. Your wrists should be firm.

5. Follow-Through

Shortly after contact let go with your left hand. Continue your right arm and racket out toward tire target in a low-to-high path. Your arm and racket should follow throughout, away from the body, with the racket head extended toward the target area.

Your left hand, after release, will trail your right hand for the remainder of the follow-through.

p.33
  TIPS

1). If you use a two-handed hackhand, use this shot on low balls you must slice and wide balls you cannot reach with two hands.

2). You muy use this shot as an intermediate stage when switching from two-banded to a one-hander.

3). Many feel it is the best of both worlds. You have the power of two hands on contact and the long,
smooth, relaxed.finish of one on the follow through.


4). The key is when to let go. Release the top hand only after contact as your follow through is moving away from your body.

CURES
1). Let go too early-Letting go with your left hand before contact defeats the purpose of utilizing two hands for more strength and control. Be sure and keep both hands on the grip until after contact is made

2).Hands seperated on the grip-For the two-handed backhand, one hand release, the hands should be together just as on the regular two-handed
backhand. Hands that are separated can cause one hand to hecome dominant.

3). Racket head sliding underneath the ball-After letting go with the left hand, the right wrist collapsed too much and lifted up, letting the racket head drop. This results in a weak, floating shot with little control. It is important to keep that wrist firm and finish with the racket head up and out.

4). Stopped follow-through to soon-For maximum depth and central, it is essential that you let the racket head finish the
follow-through. Do not lead with the wrist and stop the stroke; let the racket head flow out through the shot.


p.34
  Volley
The volley is an essential part of modern tennis. It is a must stroke for an all-around player.

The basic volley is a simple, compact, firm blocking of the ball. It is nothing more, and nothing less, than a short, punching stroke with very little backswing and very little forward swing.

From certain locations on the court, and in certain play situations, you may have to use variations of the basic block or punch volley. They are: Approach volley-a setup shot usually hit from the vicinity of the serviceline with good depth and accuracy; point volley-a put-away stroke hit from six to eight feet of the net, often angled to the serviceline corners; reflex or quick-exchange volley-most commonly used in doubles; swing volley-a put-away winner often applied to floating, shoulder-high balls with added back and forward swings; and drop volley-an advanced low-percentage, touch shot that is hit with backspin bouncing the ball just over the net to the surprise of your opponent.

To become a complete tennis player, and to nurture your offensive potential, you must develop an effective volley from both sides. Do not fear it; make it part of your basic game and practice it every day.

1. Ready Position

The ready position
for the volley is far more crucial than for the groundstrokes. The ball is generally travelling faster and, for the most part, you do not know until the last instant whether you may have to hit a forehand or a backhand volley.

The key to a good ready position is to come to a split-stop posture just before your opponent hits the ball. This enables you to move in any direction for the next shot.

Assume an active position with your feet in motion and ready to move quickly to the hall. Be alert, like a goaltender or shortstop, as Chip Hooper is here. Stand relaxed with
your feet shoulder width apart, your knees slightly bent, and your weight forward.

Keep your racket head at approximately eve level and vour racket and arms directly in front and away from your body. Use the left band to support and guide your racket. Watch the ball leave your opponent's strings.

Beginners generally use the Eastern forehand and backhand grips, but I suggest finding one grip for the volley (probably the Continental) as soon as possible.

2. Backswing


Because the ball is upon you so quickly when volleying, and because you can utilize your opponent's power, there is no need four a big backswing. Turn your shoulders and take your racket back slightly with a firm wrist. Your arm should he comfortably away from your body.

3. Forward Swing

The forward swing on the volley is also short and compact. Reach out

p.35
 

with the racket head at the level of the hall. For the low ball you must bend and get down. Open the racket slightly to impart enough underspin on the ball so that it will clear the net without flying out of court.

4. Contact

flit the ball slightly in front of your body with a firm wrist and a vertical racket face. Keep your body, forearm and elbow moving forward into the ball. The key to solid contact on the volley is to turn and reach out.
5 Follow-Through

After hitting the ball, continue moving the racket slightly out toward the target area with a short followthrough.. .Keep the ball on the strings as long as possible and finish the follow-through with your elbow away from the body.
A short follow-through and good body balance will let you recover for your opponent's return.
TIPS
1). Maintain a short, compact backswing unless the ball is a high floater, in which case you want to execute a full, stroking volley.

2). Concentrate on turning the shoulders and making contact with the ball out front.

3). Do not be so concerned with the full "cross-over step" for each volley. In fact, this type of footwork will probably cause you to get too close to recover for the next volley. Turn the shoulders, take a short step forward, and meet the ball out front.

4). Do not cock lour wrba nor point your racket head at too great of an angle. This will limit your reach.

1). Backswing too big-The key to volleying is to maintain a short backswing and make contact with the ball out in front. By taking the racket this far behind my head, it is going to be very difficult for me to catch the ball out in front. Keep your backswing compact.

2). Wide open stance-While it is not always possible to step into a volley, it is essential that you at least turn your shoulders. When you are wide-open, your arm must handle all the strain for this shot. Turn those shoulders and catch the ball out front using the strength that comes from proper
Positioning of the body. You can then open up naturally as you lilt.

3). Wrist has collapsed-Volleying requires quick reflexes and a firm wrist. When your wrist ILls colhthsed, the result is a loose, weak shot. Keep the racket head up and Maintain a firm wrist thro~ughOut the short, compact stroke.

4). Pulling the elbow in, When your arm is in far too close toy ycnir body, the racket face opens up too much and seriously weakens the volley. Keep the arm away from your body and keepthe racket face fairly flat.

p.36

Half Volley

The half volley is probably the least practiced shot in tennis. Seemingly a 'half-groundstroke and half-volley, " it is actually an abbreviated groundstroke. However it contains many similarities to the volley such as a short backswing, firm wrist and a shorter follow-through than found in a normal groundstroke.

The best strategy for a half volley is to avoid hitting it. Move quickly and try to volley.

When executing, be ready to move quickly in any direction. Keep your racket out front, knees slightly bent, and weight forward. Sharp reaction and keen eye contact with the ball are very important.

Your preparation should be quite similar to an ordinary groundstroke with a few adjustments, including a shorter backswing.

Place more emphasis on getting down to the ball.

As the ball hits the ground in front of you, move your racket forward with a short, low-to-high blocking motion. Your weight should be forward.

It is essential in the forward swing to keep your front knee relaxed.

TIPS

1). Do not run through a half volley; slow down and get down to the ball.

2). A compact backswing, a firm wrist on contact, and a solid finish are all essential.

3). Eliminate excess body motion and concentrate totally on the ball.

4). Your timing and control will be at a maximum if you make contact right after the ball bounces.




CURES

1). Popping up at the end of the stroke-While it is important too get down to the level of the hall when beginning the half volley, it is equally important that you do not jump Up. t the end of the stroke. I lere I am stiffening, and lifting up right after contact when I should be staying with the shot a little longer.

2). Standing up too straight-The half volley is a very difficult slux and one where it is imperative that Voolt get your body and racket clown too' the level of the ball.

3). Too loose with the wrist-- Because the half volley is a short, compact stroke, it is essential that it be hit with a firm wrist.

4). Poor balance-The half volley is a shot that requires concentration, timing and balance. With the feet this close together, it is tcnlgh too maintain much balance, impossible too make any last-minute adjustments, and very difficult to push off.

5). Maintaining a firm wrist and a constant grip will definitely help this particular shot. Try too make contact in front of you, meeting the ball on the rise immediately after it bounces, not on the way down.

p.37

The three types of serves commonly used are flat, slice and spin. The flat, or cannonball, serve has speed and is generally used only as a first service. The slice, hit with pace and spin, is the best percentage serve. It offers control, dependability and accuracy. The spin serve offers consistency and accuracy. It produces high, deep bounces and high net clearance. Note that the degree of effectiveness of different services varies with court surfaces.

If you decide to develop only one serve, choose the slice because it is consistent and reliable. In addition, its low bounce makes it difficult for opponents to run around and attack. If you are a beginner, concentrate on developing a smooth service motion with good rhythem, timing and a minimum of body motions. Work on a consistent toss and try to use a Continental or Eastern backhand grip as soon as possible.

The key to a successful serve is to keep your opponent guessing by mixing up speed, spin and placement. You may often go to your opponent's weak side (generally the backhand), right at him (a good surprise tactic, especially on a fast surface), or pull him wide (excellent for serve-and-volley play if you watch the angles).

1. Ready Position

Assume a relaxed, comfortable and natural ready position. For good balance, stand with your feet shoulderwidth apart. Place your front foot at a 45-degree angle to the baseline and your back foot parallel to it. Stand near the hashmark, or middle of the court.

Keep your arms and racket head at about waist level. Cradle the throat of the racket with your left hand,allowing your right hand to relax. Point your head and the racket toward the target area.

Distribute your body weight comfortably. Some players do it evenly while others start with their weight on either the back or the front foot. Beginners and intermediates should have their weight on the hack foot since the one-way movement offers less body motion and an improved ball toss. Weight on the front foot facilitates a natural rocking motion.

2. Ball Toss

The ball toss determines the success of your serve. Hold the ball lightly in your fingers and move your arm downward and upward smoothly, as Chip Hooper is demonstrating here. Extend your arm totally. Release or
p.38
 

place the ball on full extension, and on full extension only, with your fingers pointing upward.

The height of the toss varies from player to player. Lendl tosses the ball very high while Tanner's shotgun-quick service toss is very low. Stan Smith's classical, medium-height ball toss helps him to hit the ball at the optimum, standstill moment.

Place the ball slightly ahead, and to the right of, your front foot for the flat serge and a little bit more to the right for the slice. To hit a spin serve toss the ball slightly to the back and left of your front foot. Notice that you make only slight changes in your ball toss for all these serves so that you don't tip your service to your opponent.
3. Backswing


develop a smooth, rhythmic backswing where the ball, the racket and the arms go down and up together in a continuous, synchronized motion, as Hooper demonstrates. It is important for the racket head to drop below your shoulder with it staving close to the body. Your elbow should maintain shoulder-height level throughout.
Remember: The hip and body rotation, an essential element of a good service, starts with your backswing. Someone like Chip Hooper, who is 6' 6"is big but the principle is the same for everyone.

4. Forward Swing

Chip is at the point of reckoning. lie releases the ball and simultaneously speeds the racket head up toward it with an up and out motion. Extending his arm and racket fully, he starts his weight transfer forward as he
begins his forward swing.

An excellent exercise to achieve this motion, especially for those players who have not played baseball, is to play "catch" with someone. This throwing motion is exactly the same as the serving motion and such a game can make the whole motion feel more natural.

5 Contact

With your weight coming forward in a natural motion and your right arm reaching up to the ball, snap your wrist as you bring the racket up and out through the ball. Extension and racket head acceleration are the keys to more power on the serve. In addition the right side of the hody should carry naturally into the court after contact, adding strength and support. For flat serves, contact is directly behind the center of the ball. Slice serves require brushing the right side of the ball and a spin or kick serve requires brushing up and out over the backside of the ball.

6 Follow-Through

After contact let your right arm continue up and out. Then let the racket head lead your right arm down and across your body to the left of your left leg.

It is imperative that the racket head lead the downswing and not the arm or elbow. The arm and elbow must follow the racket head down.

If your weight distribution is in synch with vour total service motion, your follow-through. will take you into the court at least one step. If you decide to play from the haseline, you may retreat; otherwise, follow your serve to the net. Even if you are not playing serve-and-volley, your rear foot and the entire right side of the body should always go forward into the playing court area.

Rernemher: a consistently smooth follow-through can help you control 50 per cent of all points.
p.39
 

TIPS

1). Get in a high percentage of your first serves even if it requires taking a little off the first ball. Most opponents will not really attack a first serve.

2). Do not be afraid or embarrassed to catch a poorly tossed ball.

3). Do not throw the ball in the air. Place the ball gently in the air with a fully extended arm and a minimum amount of body motion and move
rnent.

4). Power does not come from forcing the body into the serve. A smooth. continuous motion with full extension, a good wrist snap, and a long finish will generate plenty of pace.

1). Poor ready position-By not having the ball and racket together prior to beginning your actual motion, you may disrupt your timing and rhythm. By starting with the ball and racket together, out in front, it is easier to coordinate the arms going "down together and up together."

2). Elbow too low-Although
may not look so bad, you should
notice that it is almost time to make
contact and the elbow is far too low in back. As a result it is going to he difficult to snap racket head through the ball. Keep the elbow up and you will reach up into the serve much better.


3). Body is too open-In this photo I am facing the net with my shoulders much too open. I should stay turned longer for this will enable me to utilize the power of my body as well as the arm and wrist. The shoulders should not he forced open; they should open naturally.

4). Pulling dow too much-Notice the position of my elbow, shoulders and chin. I have pulled everything down too much and most likely netted the serve or hit off center. Make sure to keep your head up and reach for the ball rather than pulling down onthe serve and working against yourself.


p.40
 

Return of Serve

The return of serve is a counter punching stroke. It is the second most important stroke in tennis after the serve. Yet, generally it is the least practiced stroke.

You start half of all points in a match with your return. With a good return, you can seize the offensive initiative, gain control, and dictate the tempo of the point. Various types of returns are available to you, such as the drive, chip, block, lob and drop shot. Of these, the drive, cbip and block are the most commonly used.

The drive return is generally a topspin or flat groundstroke with a short backswing. It is often hit against a netrusher, putting the ball at his feet as quickly as possible, as Jimmy Arias is demonstrating.

The chip return, hit with a high-tolow stroke, is effective against a highbouncing serve such as a kicker or topspin. Also, an aggressive returner, such as McEnroe and Navratilova, will often chip returns and charge the net. Some players also chip the first serve as a change of pace tactic.
The block return, with little backswing, uses the opponent's pace effectively. John McEnroe executes the block return very well.

1. Ready Position


Assume a ready-to-move position that suits you the best. Stand with vour feet shoulder-width apart, knees relaxed, weight forward, and watch the ball on the toss and every instant afterwards. It is imperative to watch the ball toss carefully, since it may tip you off as to the type of serve.

Stand where you feel confident. Positioning varies with individuals. Generally, if you are a beginner or intermediate, you may stand around the middle of the baseline on either the deuce or the ad side, slightly favoring your better stroke. As your play improves, you may move closer to the singles line or you may start to favor your strong stroke. As a rule of thumb, stand two to three feet

behind the baseline to receive the first serve and then move up a couple of steps for the second serve.

2. Backswing

As soon as you know where the ball is coming, turn your shoulder and get your racket head back with a short and compact backswing, keeping your elbow close to your body. The backswing is the same as on groundstrokes, except that you cut it down to offset the speed, angle and bounce of the ball. Note Jimmy Arias' position for his return.
The height of the racket head on the backswing may vary depending on the type of return you hit. Good players keep their back-,aving the same in order not to telegraph their return.
Often, you do not have the time to turn your entire body on the backswing, but be sure that the shoulder rotates as the racket head starts the backswing.

3. Forward Swing

Move the racket head forward without any hesitation. In drive returns, try to keep the racket head its close to

p.41

the level of the oncoming ball as possible. For a little more topspin, drop the racket slightly below the ball and swing out and up through.
4. Contact
Contact the ball with a firm wrist and have your weight moving forward and your racket head vertical. For chip and block returns, meet the ball with a vertical racket face, which is then opened slightly for control.
Try to meet the ball far in front of your body. Because of the speed of the serve, most people hit late. Compensate by preparing quickly and moving into the shot.
5. Follow-Through
After contact, continue moving the racket head without hesitation toward the target area. Your followthrough varies with your style.

CURES

1). Excessive backswing-You will find yourself late and forced to use too much body on the majority of your returns if your backswing is too big as mine is here. Do not lay your wrist back this much, as I've dome in the photo; let the racket head point to the fence on the backswing.

2). Poor ready position-You must relax the knees slightly, keep your weight on the balls of your feet, and keep the racket out front in order to make any last-minute adjustments necessary for returning serve.

3). Poor footwork-Move your feet and turn your shoulder. Otherwise vour return will he hit with the arm only and will no doubt be weak and shallow. Turn your shoulders and step toward the target when returning.

4). Too close to the hall-By not moving your feet, you can get in trouble because your stance will be wide open and the ball will crowd you. Turn your shoulders and try to get your arm away from your body on the return.

TIPS


1). Find a comfortable ready position that will allow you toy move your feet and get your weight moving forward into the ball.

2). Most top returners have a good shoulder turn and a firm, compact backswing.

3). Make the server wonder what you are going to do next on the return. Learn to run around and hit the big forehand on a weak second serve. Practice chipping and charging and taking the net away from the server.

4). Vary your position-Dare him or her to hit to a particular area. Many times this tactic will draw the double fault. Be sure you are quick enough, however, to recover.
p.42
 

Lob

The lob is the most misunderstood, misused and underrated shot in tennis. Many players resist the lob, because they feel it is not aggressive tennis. Often the lob is used incorrectly,causing a lost point more from shot selection than from execution.

The lob is nothing but a groundstroke hit with the racket face slightly open. Your backswing, grip and most of the forward swing should be identical to your regular groundstrokes.

There are three types of lobs: Defensive, offensive and topspin. The higharching (20-40 feet) defensive lob, the most widely used of the three, gives you time to recover and at the same time prevents your opponent from capitalizing on his forcing shot.

The offensive lob, hit very much like a baseball line drive, is almost identical to the groundstrokes, except for added height when clearing the net. It gets you a few winners and keeps your net-rushing opponents honest.

The topspin lob, an advanced stroke, is an offensive weapon. It is hit with an accelerated up-and-out, brushing motion before and through contact with the hall. Contrary to popular opinion, you do not have to roll your wrist completely over to hit a topspin lob.

After teaching all levels for nearly three decades, I feel that the extreme Fastern, semi-Western and two-handedgrips have an advantage in hitting the topspin lob. It can be done with other grips, but the player must have an extremely strong wrist.

1. Ready Position


The ready position for the lob is the same as for the groundstrokes. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, knees relaxed, and racket head in front. Be ready to move quickly and concentrate on the ball.

The grip for the lob is the same as for the groundstrokes. Eastern forehand and backhand grips are especially

good for hitting all types of lobs while the semi-Western and twohanded grips are excellent for hitting topspin lobs.

2. Backswing

To disguise your lob effectively use the same backswing as for your groundstrokes. Do not telegraph the shot with little hody movements or a shorter backswing. Be cautious like a baseball pitcher; do not tip off your opponent. Deception is an important element in keeping an opponent off balance at the net.

3. Forward Swing

Use the same forward swing as for your groundstrokes. For topspin lobs, bring the racket head well below the ball and brush up and out with an exaggerated, acceleration. Swing smoothly and transfer your body weight forward.


p.43
 

4. Contact

Contact on the lob may vary somewhat from that of a regular groundstroke. Many lobs will be hit out in front, but just as many may be hit while you are on the run or when you are in trouble. Some may even be hit when the ball gets behind you. In this instance you will probably be hitting a defensive lob where the racket face opens considerably on contact. Topspin lobs should be hit out in front a little more and with an accelerated brushing motion.

5. Follow-Through

The follow-through for the lob will generally come up and out through the ball a little quicker than in the normal groundstroke. The arm should continue out with a smooth, natural follow-through, but will probably finish a little higher than simply out in the direction of the target.

TIPS


1). Do not change your stroke for the lob. Use your normal back-swing, hit the ball with the racket face slightly open on contact, and execute with a full finish.

2). For the topspin lob, accelerate the racket head and brush quickly up the back of the ball.

3). Although many players will use a great deal of wrist and finish below the waist on the follow-through, I suggest a follow-through out and around the opposite shoulder, like Aaron Krickstein.

4). The lob need not have topspin to be offensive. A great offensive tactic in doubles is to block the service return over the netman's head and then take the net away from your opponents.

5). Practice the lob like any other shot to feel comfortable with it. Mastering it and using it at the right time and under the right conditions can make this shot a true weapon.

CURES

1). Follow-through has stopped completely-just because you want the ball to go a bit higher than normal does not mean you have to stop the follow-through with the racket face wide open. The lob I have just hit will surely be weak and shallow or fly out. Let the racket head continue on out through the lob, holding the ball on the racket face for accuracy and control.

2). Too obvious-The key to a lob is disguise. Try to hit it like a normal stroke, only with a higher trajectory. Don't drop the racket head drastically too soon, and get into the "lob crouch." There is no need to go to this extent. Relax and keep the
motion similar to your normal groundstroke.

3). Both body and racket are too open-Don't telegraph the fact that you're lobbing. You slurnld turn your shoulders, maintain your normal footwork and body turn and open the face "slightly" on contact.

4.) Elbow, and arm in too close--Although your follow through is a hit longer, don't stiffen up, and pull your arm into your body, and snap your wrist too much. You need to extend the arm and let the followthrough proceed out and up through the hall for make the loch work for you.

p.44
  Drop shot

The drop shot is similar to the lob in that it is underrated, seldom used, and even practiced less. It is a touch or finesse shot that requires concentration and feel. You must practice this shot diligently.

A drop shot is similar to an underspin groundstroke, except you hit with less power and have a little smaller follow-through. It is generally hit from within the baseline and can he instrumental in tiring an opponent, especially one who is out of shape and playing on a hot clay. It also helps bring a slower player, or one who fears the volley, into net.
You should not use the drop shot that much in situations involving quick opponents, exceptional volleyers, high-houncing topspin and pacepacked halls, or baseline huggers. Avoid the drop shot in panic situations and when you are far out of position. Also, adjust your drop shots with factors such as wind and court surface.

When your opponent drop-shots you, look for a tip-off, react and move to the hall quickly. Decide on your answering shot early and hit either a drop shot or a down-the-line stroke. The best way to combat a drop shot is to put the return away.

The grip used for the drop shot could very well be the same as that of your groundstrokes, but for those players using semi-Western grips, I strongly suggest you adjust to the Eastern or Continental grip.

Use the exact same backswing as you would for your groundstrokes. If you alter your backswing even slightly, you lose the element of surprise so essential for a successful drop shot.
The first part of your forward swing must be eyactly the same as that of your forehand and backhand groundstrokes.
Move your racket head smoothly from slightly ahove the level of the hall down toward the contact point. This imparts underspin which results in a lower bounce of the ball. Just before contact, slow down the forward swing and allow your racket to open just slightly while maintaining a firm wrist.

CURES



1). Racket head too high-In order for a drop shot to be successful, you must conceal it from your opponent as long as possible. Try and hit your drop shot from your normal backswing position.

2). Too open, too obvious-Learn to hit the drop shot with your normal stroking motion and without coming underneath the ball.

Your weight should be moving forward toward the target area just as in your groundstrokes. Do not pull away from the shot trying to look fancy.

Make contact in front of your body with the racket slightly open. This action, along with moving the racket head down and through the ball, imparts the necessary underspin. Maintain a firm wrist throughout the entire stroke, especially during contact.

It is important to make contact with the ball at the very same height as you do on your groundstrokes. Do not let the ball drop too low.

After contact, continue moving your racket toward the target area with a

3). Stopped follow-through-In order to have the proper touch and underspin on the drop shot, you must have a long and smooth followthrough.

4). Poor follow-through-Keep the
right leg back and that will allow you to stay turned longer; then open up naturally as you follow-through out in front.
smooth and natrural follow through.

TIPS

1). Disguise the drop shot and hold the ball on your strings as long as possible.

2). Be ready to move in after- a drop shot. Your opponent will have to hit up on the ball and many times you can volley the return to the open part of the court four a winner.

3). Another common tactic is to hit a drop shot off of a drop shot. Do not get caught sitting at the baseline.

4). Check your own position on the court before hitting a drop shut. You should be well inside the baseline. You don't want to put yourself at a disadvantage on the shot. That could happen if you try a lone-percentage shot from at or behind the baseline.

p.45
  Overhead
the overhead smash is an exhlilarating stroke along the same lines as the home run in baseball. It is an offensive stroke used to return a lob either before, or after, it bounces.

A tremendous smash is the perfect answer to the lob. With it you can win the point outright or set up an easy winner.

The overhead stroke is similar to the service motion except that the serve offers you two chances and does not require movement to the ball. To offset these two advantages, get underneath the ball as quickly as. possible and hit the smash with fewer body motions and a shorter, more direct backswing.

It is a confidence shot. To win matches you must learn to hit the sinash with power, depth and angle. Don't "push" it.

1. Ready Position


The ready position for the overhead varies from that of the groundstrokes because of your court position, body balance and uncertainty regarding your opponent's next shot. Therefore, you must always be ready for an overhead by recovering as quickly as possible and by maintaining good balance in the ready position.

Assume a ready position that will give you a quick start. Stand relaxed with your feet shoulder-width apart, knees slightly heat, and the racket in front and slightly above your waist. Be positive and concentrate on the ball, as Yannick Noah is doing.

As soon as you determine that your opponent is hitting a lob, turn sideways and simultaneously raise the racket and your opposite arm.

2. Backswing

As soon as you decide to hit an overhead, get underneath the ball and quickly get into position as Yannick Noah demonstrates in the photo. Turn sideways and simultaneously
bring your left hand and racket up the instant you start moving. To get into position use sidestepping for short distances or a leg-crossover for long distances. Skip back on the balls of your feet for balance,and position yourself with your left foot in front, similar to the service position.

Keep your head up and point to the ball with your left hand. Take your racket back to just behind your head with the elbow up high. We rccommend an abbreviated backswing for all levels of play, especially in the beginning stage. Although other options are avaliable.

p.46
  3. Forward Swing

Still pointing at the hall with his left hand, and with his head up looking at the ball, Noah throws his racket up and out toward the hall with proper body rotation and acceleration. Fully extending his arrn and racket allows Yannick to meet the ball at its highest point just as you would do for the serve. Be sure to keep your left hand up as long as possible to prevent the left shoulder and chin from pulling away.

4. Contact


With your head up, and your right arm fully extended, reach up and hit the ball out in front, preferable before it bounces.

5. Follow-Through


After contact, let your right arm continue its natural trajectory. Let your racket head lead your right arm down. Your upper body is fairly straight at the end of the follow-through.
Throughout the contact and follow-through be sure to use very little upper- body motion except for your hitting arm. This is essential for hitting a successful overhead.

TIPS


1). As soon as you see the lob turn sideways, take the racket up behind your head, and point at the ball with your opposite hand.

2). Try to position yourself under the ball so that you can reach up and make contact in front of you.

3). Keep your left hand up as long as possible. This will ensure that you keep your head up and should prevent you from pulling down.

4). Reach up for the ball and accelerate the racket bead through the ball with a good wrist snap, full ewerzsion and a long follow-through.

CURES

1). Elbow too low-When hitting the overhead it is important to turn and immediatelv take the racket up behind your head. As in the serve, the best results are generally achieved when the elbow is held high behind the head and the wrist then snaps the racket head through the ball.

2). Not reaching up-A low elbow can cause the worst thing that can happen during an overhead. Don't let the ball drop too low or you will end up pushing it with a bent arm and lit
tle or no extension. For a consistently powerful overhead, it is necessary to get full extension and snap out through the ball as high as you can reach.

3). Pulled the head and body down-The ultimate embarrassment is a swing and a miss on the overhead. If you keep your head up, point at the ball and reach up with a fully extended racket arm, you should obviously avoid the "swing and a miss" syndrome.

p.47
  Aprroach Shot

An approach shot is an shot you hit when advancing to the net. Generally you attempt approach shots off an opponents short return, usually in the semiceline area. Approach shots from the baseline are generally less effective as they give an opponent too much time to set up for the passing shot.

The approach shot is an aggressive stroke. You can control a point, apply pressure, shorten time spent on the court, disrupt your opponent's rhythm, or change a losing game. It is an important stroke,essential for control of the net.

You force your opponent to give you a short hall from a good serve, a wellplanned groundstroke, or an opponent's drop shot or weak serve. Attack th. e first short ball you get with a good approach. You'may go for an outright winner when the odds are in your favor, or hit a controlled, wellplaced shot to set up the volley.

Speed, spin and placement are the three factors that determine the success of your approach shot. You may hit the ball flat or with topspin or underspin. If you have good wrist acceleration, like Ivan Lendl, you can hit winners from mid-court.

Where should you hit your approach shots? I recommend that you aim for a zone three feet inside the baseline and three feet inside the singles line. Generally go down the line and then follow the angle into net that will allow you to cover both the downthe-line and crosscourt returns. But vary your shots to keep your opponent honest.

Another good tactic against someone who hits good passing shots on the run is to approach deep, down the center, and take away your opponent's angles.

McEnroe has also proven that a short slice or jab approach that stays very low can cause an opponent a great deal of trouble. He or she will have to move in and hit up to the volleyer.
1. Ready Position

Assume a good, ready position that enables you to move quickly and take advantage of the short ball. Here, Brian Gottfried is ready to hit the stroke early-. Be positive, confident, relaxed and reads' to mote in any direction. Hold the throat of the racket with the left hand to facilitate grip changes.

The grip depends on your shot selection. If you are a beginner or an intermediate, keep the same grip you use for your groundstrokes.

Players using semi-Western grips may have trouble on approach shots and especially on low backhands. On this stroke they should adjust to an Eastern grip.

Advanced players find the semi-Western grip the most conducive to hitting the topspin approach. The underspin is hit more effectively with an Eastern olr Continental grip.
2. Backswing

Once you decide to attack a short hall with an approach shot, run directly toward the hall withourt crrtt, hesitation. Before arriving, take your racket back with a short bckswing.

3. Forward Swing

J ust as in the case oaf the groundstrokes, swing from Iolw toy high for topspin shots and high tol low four underspin or slice approach shots.

It is imperative that you slow, down when reaching the hall toy gain holy control, especially when the hall is very low.
Beginners or low intermediates should slow down as much as possible just before contact.
Quite often, when running more than a few- steps, your hotly nlonlen-
p.48
 

tum wants for continue going forward. This is natural and should be done. I however, make sure you slow down and adjust, especially for difficult shots.

4. Contact

Make contact out in front, as Brian has done. Try to hit the ball at a high point to catch your opponent out of position. The higher you can catch the ball, and the more you can make contact out in front, the more pressure you can put on your opponent.

5 Follow-Through

Use the same follow-through as for your groundstrokes. After making contact with the ball, continue moving the racket toward the target area with a natural follow-through. Because you will be on the move, good balance is essential for this stroke.

TIPS

1). You should not come to a complete stop to hit the approach shot. Slow down, turn, execute the shot and continue to the net.

2). The height and position of the ball, as well as the position of the opponent, will dictate whether you should hit a topspin, underspin or inside-out approach shot, and then continue forward up to the net.

3). After the approach shot, follow the shot into the net at the correct angle.

4). In closing in at the correct angle, come to a split-step stop just before your opponent makes contact. This will allow you for move in either direction for the next shot, possibly a volley or an Overhead, and to maintain your balance.


CURES

1). Jumping on the approach-At times, the momentum of moving in for the approach, or letting the ball get too close, can cause you to leave your feet completely. Players like Connors can handle this but for most players I recommend staying on the ground for better balance and control. It produces a better shot.

2). Too close to the ball-In moving into the approach shot, it is very easy to get too close to the ball. If your arm is in too close to my body, your whole shot is cramped, and you will be hitting the ball too late. Stay away from the ball, reach for the approach, and make contact out in front of your body.

3). Shoulders too open-Although you may not stop completely when hitting an approach, it is important tol at least get the shoulder;ti turned firr balance and strength. Itun1rilrg through the shot with the hotly w iclc open will force the arm for do all the work and will usually produce a weak, chopping stroke with the arm pulling in too close to the body.

4). Poor footwork-By stepping into a forehand approach shot with your right rather than your left foot, yonl have opened up too much and will pull your elbow in tool close to your body. Turn, step with the left toot, and let the arm finish out with the body opening up naturally.
p.49

Advanced Strokes

Consistent groundstrokes, a reliable serve, and an occasional volley, drop shot and lob are all part of the game. Yet they are part of the game and not all of it. To become among the best, you have to add a little something extra.
Here are some advanced shots that can help you when the pressure appears:

Agressive Return

Generally, aggressive returns are what separate the top players from the rest of the pack. If you hold your service, one service break is all you need to win a set.

There are various ways you can develop aggressive returns. Jimmy Connors blasts powerful, return winners to all parts of his opponent's court. Andres Gomez and Aaron Krickstein hit many aggressive topspin return winners. Ivan Lendl and Jimmy Arias put pressure on the server with their run-around forehand returns. John McEnroe and Martina Naeratilova chip and charge the net to seize the offensive from the server. Chris Evert Lloyd frustrates her opponent with well-placed returns.

Once you have developed a reliable return of serve, work on becoming more aggressive. Try moving in and making contact with the ball before it gets away from you and pulls you off the court. Vary the spin, speed and placement of your returns to keep your opponent off balance. Also, take a few more chances and learn to put pressure on the server with smart and aggressive returns. You will have more service breaks than ever before.

Most players and coaches are guilty of taking the return of serve too lightly. It is extremely important in your everyday practice to spend considerable time on this stroke. The ball machine is an excellent practice device for the return of serve.

p.50
Short-Angled Shots

The fast-dipping, topspin, shortangled shot is a stroke that can confuse and clestroy a net-rusher. Too many players try to power the hall through the vollever. All the vollever has to do is close in and block the hall for an angle winner.

and tire thorn out.


However, when you can hit the shortangled shot and the offensive lob, you can open up the court and even the odds, just like Bassett and Krickstein.

Disgusting the short-angled shot is very important. Keep your backswing and preparation the same as for a normal groundstroke until just before contact. At that time you must get your racket head far below the ball so that you can brush up and around the outside of the ball with an exsggerated motion. Don't try to guide the ball; let the racket do the work. Practice this shot every clay by hitting crosscourt at targets placed halfway between the net and the serviceline on the singles sideline.

I have observed that it is easier for players with a two-handed backhand to hit the short-angled shot, especially for girls and those players lacking strength.

Topspin Lobs

The topspin lob, hit with an accelerated, up-and-out, brushing motion before and through contact with the ball, is an effective, offensive weapon against a net-rushing opponent. Krickstein and Wilander keep many of their net-rushing opponents honest with accurate and timely hit topspin lob winners.
Remember to bring the racket head below the hall before hitting it. Acceleration of the racket imparts heavy topspin and pulls the hall down into the court.

The key to an effective topspin lob is Prepare for the stroke exactIv as you would for any groundstroke. Use the topspin lob at only the

appropriate times. Thus, you can preserve the element of surprise. The topspin lob is one of the few strokes that can do the following: Buy time; produce an outright winner; confuse the net-rusher as to how close he can come to the net; and make your short-angled passing shots much more effective.

This stroke is a must for all top players. Practice the stroke everyday and employ it without hesitation. You will then have a winner in your hands against aggressive net-rushers.

Drop Volley

The drop volley, is a touch shot. It is not a high percentage shot. You should use it sparingly and at the appropriate time in order to surprise your opponents, disrupt their rythem, and tire them out.

The drop volley requires great concentration and touch. You have to take all the pace off the hall and drop it just over the net with tile right amount of backspin. Timing and disguise are the keys toy hitting a Successful drop volley.

To hit a drop volley, begin your backswing like a normal volley. On the forward swing, open the racket face slightly and slide underneath the ball. In effect, you "caress" the ball just over the net so that the ball dies when it bounces.

The drop volley is not for everyone. It is, for that advanced player- with great concentration, touch and judjement.. If you have what it takes, practice it. You will he able to develop an effective drop volley.


p.51

Essentials for a Good Stroke

Everytime you hit a tennis ball you the ball; better (high-percentage) sequentially perform a series of movements consisting of reaction to the ball, movement to the ball, stroking or contacting it, and recovery.

The proper sequence in producing good strokes consists of. 1) Reaction-Concentrate fully on the ball. Think of the ball hitting your opponent's racket as a starter's gun. When you "hear" this sound, initiate an explosive first step toward the area the ball is coming to; 2) MovementGo to the ball with a controlled body movement, adjusting your speed, balance and the number and size of vour steps; 3) Stroking-From a well-balanced position, step into the ball and stroke it with a smooth and effective backswing, forward swing, contact and follow-through. Remember to select high-percentage shots and execute them with consistency and accuracy; 4) Recovery-As soon as you finish your follow-through, get into ready court position for the next shot.

It is easy to see why exemplary stroking requires good recovery, good reaction and good movement. In fact, information theory research confirms this thesis. The reaction, movement, stroking and recovery times are proportional to the information or uncertainty content in each phase. Reduce the uncertainty and you will achieve better recovery, faster reaction, and quicker movement leading to better strokes.

You can eliminate most stroke production problems by: Better concentration, anticipation and reaction; quicker and balanced movement to


the ball; better (high-percentage) sequentially perform a series of shot selection, proper weight trans
fer, consistent and accurate stroke execution, and hitting through the ball with proper follow-through; and quicker recovery.

Reaction

In order to improve your reaction, concentrate on the ball. Block out everything, except the ball, and consciously try to watch the ball leaving your opponent's racket.

Try to read your opponent by observing his common tendencies in a given situation. For example, does he serve and volley when he is faced with a break point? Anticipate your opponent's shots and the area where he hits the ball. Try to get to the ball a little faster in practice as well as matches.

John McEnroe has probably the best reaction of all tennis players today. His cat-quick reactions enable him to make impossible shots look routine.

movements consisting of reaction to the ball, movement to the ball, stroking or contacting it, and recovery.

Mobility: Speed

Improve your movement to the ball by getting to it with a totally positive attitude. Remember to start your backswing early. A positive, quick, first step is crucial to a good stroke. As you get closer to the ball, shorten your steps so that you can set up and maintain balance at contact.
Work on improving your mobiliti, while maintaining your balance. Skipping rope, on-court foot drills, quick reaction drills, and interval training can help your mobility. Sprints are also good. Move smoothly without jerky motions and think fast on your feet" at all times on the court.

Carling Bassett and Joban Knek have excellent speed. They get to almost every ball. The key to mobility is believing you can reach every ball.
o When you see someone scramble to
reach a ball, remember that you can

p.52
p.53

do the same thing if you work at it.

Mobility: Footwork


Footwork is the foundation upon which you build your strokes. It allows you to put your body weight into your strokes, thus adding pace and control.

Good footwork generally leads to a good backswing and good stroking. It is essential for every stroke.

Jimmy Connors and Chris Evert Lloyd have excellent footwork. As a result, you very seldom see them hit the ball without stepping into it. They keep their weight moving forward as they hit the ball.

Stroke Selection

Shot selection is just as important as shot execution. Stay with the high percentage shots that you are conficient of making.

Vary your shots in a given situation. Otherwise your opponent may anticipate your shots and gain an advantage.

Avoid low-percentage shots, especially at crucial points. For example, dog not try to force a winner from 10 feet behind the baseline.

Select your shots so that you can move your opponent around and force him or her to give you an unforced error or a weak dcfemsive shot. You can then put them away for a winner.

 





Stroking: Consistency

Be determined to hit the ball over the net one more time than your opponent. Be patient "and ready to stay on the court" as long as it takes to win. This is especially true when you play on slow courts.


Stroking: Accuracy

Accuracy in tennis means hitting for a certain area with enough margin of safety. When you have the ability to spot the ball, you will cause many unforced errors on the part of your opponent, thus increasing your chances of winning.

The type of accuracy you should strive for is when you can be off a little and still place the ball into the target area. This flexilbility and accuracy will allow you to remain in baseline rallies without making unforced errors.

Navratilova, Krickstein and Evert Lloyd produce consistently accurate shots to the dismay of, their opponents. Borg allowed for a three-foot margin of error near the baseline and up the sidelines on all his groundstrokes.
Recovery

As soon as you finish your follow-through, get in good, reads, court position so that you can cover your opponent's shot effectively. Make sure that your follow-through leads smoothly into the ready position for your next shot without any waste of time.

Conscious effort to quicken your recovery, will improve your next stroke significantly and will thus pick up your game. It Will also make your tennis more interesting, exciting and rewarding at all levels.
p.54