Thursday, May 31, 2012

Double Trouble

I have tried this double tatic successfully.  It is almost unstoppable, except for an expert lobber.  The server serves and takes the place of the net man and the net man crosses after the bounce of the ball in the service box (he is invisible until the ball hits the racket, every tennis player has to look at where the ball bounces) .  During the cross, the players cover the center with the zig zag.  All that is left is the down the line and the cross both shown as shaded areas in the picture above.  If they can hit these areas, they deserve the point!!!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Are you good at horseshoes?

Tennis just got easier!  You can come up with all kind of hitting patterns and strategies, but the big thing is to consistently hit the ball in the red horseshoe shaped area below.  It will take a lot of practice, but if you can do it then you will have very few losses.  When your opponent hits into the small green square, that is your cue to attack and come to the net. 

Good luck and good tennis!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Tennis Ace in the Hole

If you are in a must win situation and you  need a shot combination that is a proven winner, then you can use this combination to win the big points.  See the Tennis Diagram 1 below.

After you have started your rally, hit a shot down the line, yellow arrow.  If your opponent returns crosscourt or down the line, your next shot, blue arrow, must be crosscourt.  Hopefully, it is angled enough to draw your opponent wide of the sideline.

Once he returns the forehand shot, your next shot will be an approach shot, red arrow, must be aimed at the middle of the court.  Your opponent will be wildly scrambling back to cover his backhand.  So by hitting it to the middle of the court, you force your opponent to hit a backhand on the run from the middle of the court, one of the toughest shots in tennis.  Odds are he will have to play it safe and aim back at the middle.  So after hitting your red arrow shot, you will follow it in to the middle of the net where you will put it away with a volley to either his backhand or forehand side, purple arrows.

Tennis Diagram 1

Friday, June 24, 2011


Forward is the term I use to describe hitting the ball on the rise.  Have you ever seen a good baseball shortstop short hop a ball.  He smothers the ball with his glove so that the ball does't have the chance to bounce too high.  A high bouncing ball in baseball is very hard to control, just like a high bouncing ball in tennis is very hard to control.

There are two different stroke strategies in tennis.  The defensive  and offensive strategies. 

The defensive strategist  allows the ball to bounce high and she waits for the ball to drop down into the hitting zone-between the knees and the chest.  The bounce of the ball dictates what happens with the ball and the point.

The offensive strategist, armed with "forward", sees the ball coming over the net, anticipates where the ball will bounce, gets to that spot, and hits the ball as it bounces up into the hitting area.  Thus hitting a ball that takes time away from her opponent, because it is hit so early.  The ball is also heavier, has more power, because her body weight is transfered efficiently into the momentum of the ball.

Remember "forward" is the key ingredient championship tennis!


Monday, February 7, 2011

The Volley- Backhand and Forehand

The volley is a stroke that you hit at the net before the ball hits the ground.  The key to a good volley is to line the racket up, in front of you, with the incoming ball. If you did not move the ball would hit your racket and it will fall to the ground with not much power. However, if you step toward ball an instant before it contacts the racket, it will shoot off the racket like a rocket.  If you also go up on your toes right before  and drop to a flat-footed position right before the ball impacts the racket, then the ball will shoot off the racket like a turbo racket.  This on the toes thing is good for giving a knack for what the feeling should be.  You are learning to hit the ball with your feet not your arm!

Now you can add under spin or slice.  Let start with your racket straight up down.  First tilt it, with the head going away from you, 45 degrees; second, tilt the racket  sideways 45 degrees so it looks like the incline of a hill; and, lastly, tilt racket back 45 degrees so the racket head is now also pointed behind you( and not just away from you).  These angles will impart under spin on the ball so that you can control the hit better and increase the speed/penetration of the hit. Very little arm and hand movement are needed.  No more than a tap from your hand is required.

Look up forehand and backhand volley positions on other sites so you can have a visual of what they look like.

The most important thing is W.I.L. (Watch It Leave).  Don't look up until you watch the ball leave the racket.  It is a scary feeling, but you will have enough time to react to your opponents return of volley.  Plus you can really zone in on where you want to hit it for the next volley with little worry about a mishit.


Friday, January 28, 2011

The Basic Serve

The serve is a difficult stroke to master.  Why?  Because of two things: pronation and ball toss.  Pronation is the act of taking a “karate chop hand” and rotating your thumb towards your nose and then around until you can’t see your thumb anymore.  It sounds easy enough, but it isn’t easy once you go to hit the ball.  Your brain goes haywire and instead o pronation you invariably supinate.  Supination is the act of taking a “karate chop hand” and rotating your thumb away from your nose so that you end up in a “hitch hike “ position.  This works well for a second serve, but not so good for a first serve.

Pronation, if it is hit in an upward motion, produces a violent topspin that abruptly brings the ball down into the service box.  It is called a flat serve, even though it is a spin serve.  It is necessary for anyone under 6’6” in height, because of the small margin of error involved with trying to pound the ball down and over the net.

The second obstacle is the toss.  You have to hit the ball at its highest possible point.  Stretch your racket up over your head with your arm straight.  Now look up at the middle of your racket.  That is where you need to hit in order to have an effective serve.  Most people wait until the ball drops down low and they hit it with a bent arm.  Instead of trying to hit up with pronation, they hit down into the net or out of the service box.

When you have conquered the two aforementioned obstacles, then you need take your racket in your non-dominant hand and hold it like you would a hammer.  This “hammer” grip is the proper one for serving a tennis ball.

Stand at the baseline with your feet shoulder width apart.  If you are right handed step back with your right foot, leaving your left foot in place.  Your left shoulder should be aimed at the net. Place the racket edge on your right shoulder and toss the ball up in the air with your left hand and slightly to your right. When you swing the racket toward the ball act like you are trying to cut it in half with the edge of the racket, but at the last millisecond pronate, hitting the ball sharply and upward.  As your arm moves forward after the hit, bring it across your body like you are pretending to put a sword in a scabbard.

Now practice shifting your weight onto your back foot when you toss the ball and then to your front foot when you are hitting the ball.  Lastly, when you toss the ball, bring the racket quickly straight back and down behind you, then quickly up to shoulder before the ball drops down to low, shifting your weight back then forward to quickly attack the ball.

As you get better you will learn to hit the serve primarily with your body and not just with your arm.  If this doesn’t make sense to you, email me.


About 12 years ago I was hitting the ball with a pretty good player in Olympia, WA.  He told me that I hit the ball well, but I did not watch the ball long enough.  I thought what good would it do me to look at the ball too long; it would stop me from admiring my shot.  I really didn't think that.  I thought"he really doesn't know my game and I shook my head yes and did not change a thing.  He was right!  It is not important for me to admire my shot, let others do that.  I could still look up on time to see the ball land in my opponents court.  What is more important is that I see the exact spot that I want to hit ball on and the angle of the ball coming off of the racket. 
Here an example:  In pool (billiards), if you take your eye off of the cue ball, then you may not hit the target ball in the right place.  If the target ball is hit wrong, it probably will not go in the pocket.  Same with tennis, hit the ball wrong and it may go into the net or out of bounds. So remember this acronym W.I.L. (Watch It Leave) and you will get better.

You might be thinking:  but if I look down that long, how will I know where my opponent is?  To which I answer: it doesn't matter, because you are less likely to mishit, therefore less likely to commit errors, forced or unforced, your opponent is more likely to commit errors than you.  Your opponent's errors will win you more matches than your winners!
Rodger Federer does this and how can you argue with his success!

Off the court, Keep your head up...on the court, keep your head least for a couple of seconds.