This might feel counterintuitive against a big power server but you should move forwards into every return of serve. Having the body weight behind the return acts like a wall. You will also improve your accuracy and consistency with this technique.
From the split-step move into the court and cut the angle of the ball off. If you struggle doing this move back a step and give yourself an extra half metre. This should give you the time. Especially playing against big servers, you want to feel almost like you’re throwing your body at the ball.
Stay tuned for more free coaching tips.
On Sunday we had our Adults Winter Tournament and it was a blast. As usual there were 4 divisions with 6 players battling it out in each group. The playing conditions were perfect for tennis. The sun was out and not a hint of wind. It was shaping up to be a wonderful day.
After the speech and the rules were set out it was time to play. Best of 8 games for 5 matches each player and the 2 top point scorers play out the final for the trophy… and the glory!
Unfortunately we were missing Tony Strachan for his infamous BBQ so I had to make do. A few BBQ steaks and veggies were had, even a few beers. There's nothing better to slow down the footwork o
It was a class of regulars including David O’D who won the Division 2 round last comp. In the end John M. defeated friend Matt B. 6-3 to clench his first Four Season Tennis trophy. John uses the unconventional double handed forehand and backhand which maximises power although it was a close match. Not bad for a hangover.
Two first-timers were contenders for the trophy in Div. 2. Marc F. from our Social Tennis and Marcelo H. Playing in his first tournament in Australia. Marc took it out with a 6-1 victory. It was nice to see Marcelo using the serve volley tactics but Marc had slightly more power which clenched the victory.
It was regular players all around in Division 3. All play in our tournaments, social tennis and/or do lessons. It was the most evenly scored division of the day. In the end Ash P. defeated Rachel O’C 6-3 for his second FSTS trophy. Might have to be division 2 next time Ash.
After waking up in Brisbane Kate B. flew into Sydney with only one thing on her mind… tennis tournament! Making a late entrance Kate ended up playing a final against the Frenchman Eric A. who eventually defeated her 5-3.
Thank you to all who participated in the tournament and those who came down to cheers friends on. It was a wonderful day and I hope to see everyone next time.
Plus, here are some more pics...
Saturday Junior Classes continue on as usual. There are no credited days.
Afterschool Junior Classes paused from 26/June-12/July. Classes resuming Monday 13/July.
Adults Groups continue on as usual. No credited days.
Tennis Camps are running both weeks of the holidays with plenty of room. Book online at http://www.fourseasonstennis.com.au/index.php/juniors/camps
The kids might even win a trophy :)
This article will give you a simple tactical game plan to get you over the line in your next match. Keeping your strategy simple when playing matches is key. It’s easy to get disheartened when expectations are too high and you will ultimately end up losing the match.
Strategy 1 - Strengths and Weaknesses
Tennis players approach their matches in different ways. Some just hit and hope. Some over think their game plan, making it too complex, thus becoming negative in their approach when they can’t accomplish their goals. Some work out their opponents weaknesses and use their strengths to exploit them. The last approach is the best and most likely to pay dividends. It is also the first strategy I want you to implement in your next match.
Look for these obvious weaknesses in your opponent:
Strategy 2 - First Serve
The second strategy is to get the first serve in to play. The returner is mentally on the back foot for the first serve, and you’re under less pressure. Take advantage of the mental pressure the opponent is feeling by being consistent and making them play the ball every time.
You can build this consistency by:
Strategy 3 - Crosscourt
The third strategy is to hit crosscourt. Don’t even think about hitting down the line. This simple placement strategy will keep you in the point and still allow you to attack. This crosscourt strategy works particularly well on the return of serve because it puts you in the point and neutralises your opponent therefore setting up a level playing field.
Be aware that it can become an easy read for your opponent after a while. If you pull your opponent wide or see them lagging to get back into recovery position then you can hit down the line to the open court to keep them honest.
The crosscourt shot is a high percentage shot because there is more length of court to hit to and the ball travels over the lowest part of the net. Also your body is naturally rotating crosscourt.
Crosscourt hitting is the essence of percentage tennis, which every tennis payer should aim for.
Some tips for hitting crosscourt:
Use this simple game plan to take into your next match. It is easy to execute and will definitely steer you towards a win:
What a beautiful day it was. The sun was out and the matches were awesome. It was great to have some new players join us as well as some usual suspects. Tony cooked wonderful steaks and the BBQ, all the matches were played with sportsmanship and everyone had a blast.
All the finals were close matches with Group 1 and 2 having tie-breakers! Ash and Katherine was only a break in it and Group 4 ran out of time for the final and was decided on points.
Group 1 David Allan defeated Rayes Caillas 7-6 (8-6)
Group 2 David O’Driscoll def. Myat Zaw 7-6 (7-4)
Group 3 Ash Pereira def. Katherine Paixao 6-4
Group 4 Elena Meluzova def. Lyn Blundell on round robin points
The next Round Robin will be 28th June 2015. The tournaments are limited to 24 players so make sure you book early.
Let us know if you want to reserve your spot. Click Here
Here's a few snaps from the day:
Saturdays Junior Groups will break for the Easter Long Weekend (4th April) and resume back on the 11th April and continue until Christmas.
Afterschool Junior Groups will break for the whole 2 weeks of holidays and resume on Monday 20th April. Afterschool classes always break in the school holidays.
Junior Squads will break for the school holidays and resume 20th April.
Tennis Camps are running both weeks of the holidays. Let us know if you want to reserve a spot.
Saturdays Adults Groups will break for the Easter Long Weekend (4th April) and resume back on the 11th April and continue until Christmas.
Weekday Adults Groups will continue as normal without a break. Monday 6th April WILL BE ON!
Happy holidays... we hope enjoy any time you get off. Make sure the Easter Bilby visits the kids :)
The Four Seasons Tennis Team
You could win up to 3 FREE GROUP LESSONS worth $120.
If you persuade someone, or even several people to book programs with us by the end of APRIL, we will add one, two or three extra group lessons to your current program.
For a 10 week program– You get 1 Free Lesson Added
20 week program– You get 2 Free Lessons Added
40 week program – You get 3 Free Lessons Added (That’s $60 value)
6 week program – You get 1 Free Lesson Added
10week program – You get 2 Free Lessons Added
16 week program – You get 3 Free Lessons Added (That’s $120 value)
Please have the person to quote your name as the source of the enquiry when he or she contacts us.
Terms and Conditions:
1x Z Drive Racquet (RRP $170) – New Model
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2x Babolat Pure Drive (RRP $270 each) – New Model
2x Babolat Aero Pro Drive (RRP $260 each)
1x Babolat Pro Racquet Bag 6 (RRP $80)
2x 4 Ball Cans Babolat Gold (RRP $15)
2x Babolat Tennis Trainer T-Shirt (RRP $35)
2x Overgrip (RRP $5)
1x Vibration Dampener ($5)
All this from $635 (RRP $735)
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If you’re interested in one of these starter packs please get in contact with our club HERE
Offer open until March 31st 2015.
If you have a hitting partner or someone to practice with and want some variety and direction, try the 3 drills following.
Lets get straight into it.
First up if you missed Part 1 check out the Hitting Partner Drills click here.
Lets get straight into it.
This drill is one of my favourites to do but also to watch how players hangle it. Figure 8's teaches recovery, timing, shot selection, fitness, and brutal toughness to just keep going and retrieve one more ball! The drill is very difficult to do well and takes a lot of practice. Your heart rate will shoot up within a couple of minutes so stagger the drill timing. Maybe 4-10 rallies then 30 sec rest.
Using the full singles court Player A can only hit down the line (DTL) and player B can only hit crosscourt (CC). The result is the ball does figure 8’s around the court. Practice hitting CC and DTL for 10-15 minutes each.
Start by rallying the ball and setting goals of how many rotations you can get. Every 4 balls equal 1 rotation. Start slow, aim for 3-4 rotations and build up from there. As your consistency improves you want to be getting 6-10 rotations more often than not.
This will build stamina, fitness and consistency.
Same format of drill however you play the point out. If you’re hitting DTL the ball must bounce in that zone otherwise it’s out. Score mini sets of first to 11 then swap shots CC with DTL.
Give a goal of rotations before the point can be played out. Example: You have to play 3 rotations then play the point out in the figure 8 format. Score mini sets of first to 11 then swap shots CC with DTL
The same progressions and formats can be played with the baseline/ground stroker vs volleyer. The baseline player will have to work overtime.
It’s a dog eat dog world and a simple rule in tennis is play your strengths against your opponents weaknesses. That’s what I want you to think about with this drill.
90% of tennis players have a stronger forehand (FH) than backhand (BH). Most players work this out pretty quickly about their opponent and of course hit most balls there during a match.
This drill is all about that scenario.
Feeding the ball into play you only have 2 simple rules:
1. Full singles court
2. You can only win the point on a FH shot
That means hit it to your opponents BH as much as possible. If they start waiting on the BH side too much play to the FH to keep them honest. This will help open up the court for the next shot anyway.
You want to be looking for the FH. Any balls in the middle of the court or you think you can run around, do it! If want practice getting the feet around balls, playing the off FH, inside out and inside in FH. Become the aggressor and force them to play BHs all day long, but remember they’ll be doing the same to you.
In the diagram, you can see when you play a deep shot to the opponents BH, if their return isn’t deep/wide enough back you can it a FH. Work on your anticipation and have fast feet. The area in blue is where you should be able to hit a FH if you want.
This is the key for BH defence is to hit it the ball early and out in front. If you can’t do that there is no hope of hitting a decent crosscourt ball and you’ll be giving the opponent a FH. Any late BHs are likely to be in the hitting zone shown in red.
When you get around the ball and are able to play a forehand, instead of being able to play it anywhere, it must be played DTL.
This means 2 things.
The first is you have to set yourself up to be able to hit FH they’ll struggle to get to. If the opponent is already standing in the middle of the court when you hit the DTL it’s an easy CC shot for them and you’re immediately on the back foot, playing a BH. You set it up by pulling the opponent wide on that BH, try to get their feet past the singles line, and then pounce on the FH DTL.
Every tennis coach has done some version of this drill sometime in their life. Protect/Attack/Defence (PAD) teaches players about:
PAD is played full court singles, one on one. You need to call a word before you contact a ball describing what kind of shot you’re playing. You can use Protect (Orange), Attack (Green) or DEfence (Red). Some prefer to say colours in this drill. In the diagram below, you can see the general areas r what shot needs to be played.
The RED AREA is generally the defencive zone. Often you pulled out wide or playing balls off the back foot. When playing from these areas give yourself time to get back into position by giving the ball clearance over the net and slow the ball down by using spin. The ORANGE AREA if the neutral zone. You might come up with some strong hots from here but in all likelihood the opponent will be able to retrieve most returns. Stay in the rally from here by hitting deep and making the opponent play at least an Orange or Red ball.
THe GREEN AREA is the attack zone. If you’re pulled into the court you have to do something with this ball. you bodyweight is already moving forwards into the shot so take advantage. Remember the closer you get to the net the more angles you can play.
Progression - Competition
Once you have the hang of it, add some points into the drill.
This make you think before pulling the trigger. Too many players attack at the wrong time or change their technique on the attack shot. This leads to unforced errors. A winner or true attack shot is when you notice to opponent is out of position or on the defence, and you capitalize.
These drills will boost your game if practiced regularly with your hitting partner. Our coaches do these drills and many of the same caliber during private lessons and adaptations for our group classes.
There are many variations for each of the drills above. This is a starting point but you can change rules or goal to suit your needs. Remember you want to be specific with your training and keep progressing. Don't just hit full court for an hour and call it a training session.
Click here if you’re interested in private lessons at Four Seasons Tennis or if want to check out our coaches out beforehand here they are.
Keep the practice up!
Four Seasons Tennis
1. Doubles Positioning
Start in the classic position for doubles With player A at the baseline serving or returning, and player B at the net ready to poach and apply pressure. This is the best starting point for doubles play, especially at a recreational level.
Too often both players will start at the back of the court or Player B will just hang around behind the service line the whole point. You ideally want the volleyer to be in front of the service line and the baseliner behind/on the baseline.
2. Player Communication
Start communicating from even a beginner level. It’s important to have a strategy, even a basic one, but also to build moral. Communication can be anything from a ‘good shot’ to ‘I’m serving down the T, try and poach the return’.
Try and set up plays, or at least tell your partner where the serve is going so there is some structure, otherwise they’re playing as blind as your opponents.
One of the simplest communication tactics is to shout ‘mine’ or ‘yours’ during the point. This can be applied for a mid court shot, lob, or any ball that could potentially be hit by either player.
3. Get to the Net
Over the years I’ve taught a lot of B and C grade players who when they start lessons struggle to commit to the net, usually because they’re scared of net play. If you’re one of those players you need to practice approaching the net. You will win some at the net, and lose some but you have to get there to get better at it.
Start every point in a neutral position, but don’t just stay there all match. The most aggressive position to win the point is both players at the net, the most defensive is both players at the back of the court. Get to the net.
Remember this, the closer you get to the net, the more angles you can play. Doubles is a game of angles and you want to get on top of the net and put the ball away. Playing from the net also means the opponents have more court to cover, plus as you come closer to the net the opponents have less options to hit to and often revert to the lob, which can often be a smash, or try and hit a winner which can easily turn into an unforced error. If you stay back on the baseline every point, you don’t create any pressure and the opponents have more options to hit to.
4. Don’t hit to the volleyer
If you have a player at the back of the court, and a player at the net, HIT TO THE PLAYER AT THE BACK OF THE COURT! The volleyer can finish the point easily if they get a swing at the ball. Keep the baseliner back by playing deep balls wide in the doubles so it’s also out of the volleyers reach.
As you pull the baseliner further out of court the volleyer has more court to cover, then when you see the opportunity play the down the line shot. But be patient, you have to create the openings before pulling the trigger. You can also play a down the line winner if you think the volleyer is moving in to the court early or leaving space, but it can be a low percentage shot if played at the wrong time
5. Poach, Poach, Poach
On the reverse side, as a volleyer, you need to poach the crosscourt rally and finish the point. This is tricky because it all comes down to timing. Move too early and you might get passed down the line, move to late and you miss to ball and open the court a little. The key is to move once to opponent has committed to their swing trajectory. If they try and change mid shot there is a high risk of an unforced error.
Try doing fakies. Feign a step to poach early and make the opponent hesitate. This is a great tactic for sussing out the opponents timing and nerves. And most important of all is it applies pressure which results in unforced errors.
I hope you’ve enjoyed these little tips for improving you double social play. They’re easy to implement with a little practice. In your net double match just aim for 1 of the tips for a whole set and you’ll see some progress. Keep building on each of the goals and before you know it they will all come naturally.
If you’re keen on playing some social tennis here at Four Seasons Tennis or want some more info check out the Social Tennis Page
Some of our tennis coaches feature on ATPCA promo video recently. If you know anyone who is keen on doing a coaching course I highly recommend ATPCA.
All Saturday classes will have their last lesson this Saturday 20th December 2014 and resume on the 10th January 2015. This includes Saturdays junior lessons.
All after school junior classes will have break between 19th December 2014 and 27th January inclusive. First lesson back will be Thursday 29th January 2015.
All adults evening group classes will break from 19th December to the 9th January 2015. The first group back will be on Monday 12th January 2015.
Remember Tennis Camps are running 2 weeks over the holidays. Week 1 is from the 12th January and week 2 is from the 19th January. For more info and booking check out http://www.fourseasonstennis.com.au/index.php/juniors/camps
We hope everyone has a great break. Be safe and have fun! See you in the new year.
Four Seasons Tennis
Sometimes small adjustments to your technique will pay huge dividends in your game. Here we’re going through 5 common forehand errors that are a must change for anyone looking to improve their technique and stop making unforced errors.
Back in the olden/golden days of tennis the continental grip was used for just about everything from forehand, backhand, volleys, serve and all inbetween. A good example in the 1970’s is John McEnroe who used the continental grip on his forehand. But with the pace, athleticism and equipment of todays game, a whole lot of changes have been made to keep up and play better tennis. One of which is the grips.
Today’s standard grips to use on the forehand are the eastern forehand grip and the semi-western forehand grip. Often grips are a hybrid between the 2. Some players still also use a full western or close to.
The eastern forehand grip is the grip used to hit flatter balls and considered a more traditional grip. Some players who use the grip include Roger Federer and Pete Sampras.
The semi western grip is now the most popular grip used, especially by professionals. Some of whom include Rafael Nadal (although his is sneaking towards the full western grip), Andy Murray and Djokovic and Sam Stosur
Depending on what court surface you play on, who you play against, your swing and what feel natural will determine which grip is right for you.
The most common forehand footwork errors include:
Stepping across the body with the left foot before hitting the ball which. This closes the body off to the court too much and inhibits body rotation thus power and swing length, and recovery steps
Stepping forwards into the ball with the right foot opening the body to the wrong side of the court. This opens the body too much and making a take back non existent.
Modern footwork has us using open and semi open stances, unlike the closed stances of yesteryear. Depending of your court positioning, try and keep a gap between your legs if facing the net. For instance, if stepping for a wide ball step out with the right foot, loading the leg and driving up through the leg.
If you need to step into the court you can step forwards into the court and there be no gap, so long as the left leg doesn’t step across the right. There are variations such as the walking/hopping crossover forehand used on short wide balls and return of serve.
As mentioned in the footwork, if you don’t turn the body, you don't get any swing on the ball or power in the shot. After the split step use the right foot to step open and turn the body out. From here move into position and hit the ball. There are different variations depending on which direction and how far you have to move but basically speaking turn the body as soon as possible.
Some cues to help turn the body include:
Pointing at the ball
Looking over your left shoulder
Point the butt of the racquet towards where you want to ball to go
Face the side fence (beginner)
If you're not hitting with any topspin chances are you have the wrong grip, incorrect swing or poor preparation. This can even result in backspin if you’re not careful. Topspin in when the ball spins forwards, putting more air pressure on top of the ball, making the ball dip into the court. This means you can clear the net by a safe distance but make sure the ball falls into the court before the baseline of the other side. It also allows the ball to jump up and forwards after the bounce.
Topspin if used well can increase your consistency hugely and it also allows you to control the pace of the ball.
For maximum topspin use a semi western or full western grip, although the eastern forehand grip can still generate a lot of spin. The simple principle remains come from below the balls contact point, brush up and over the ball, finish the follow through. Try to make the ball spin forwards.
Follow throughs can differ greatly among players. Just look at Nadal’s over the head compared to Andy Murray’s below the elbow follow through. The grip has a lot to do with the follow through, so does your court positioning as well as where your contact point is, where you want to ball to bounce and how much topspin you hit with.
For a beginner we generally teach ‘over the shoulder’. This gives a definitive point to finish to. However as swing get more advanced and players use different grips, follow throughs change. When using an eastern forehand grip, over the shoulder or between the shoulder and elbow is the general finishing point. With a semi western or full western grip finishing the swing over the head or between the the shoulder and elbow is the go.
If finishing over the shoulder, a good checkpoint it to ‘catch’ the racquet at the end of the swing. This ensures the body rotates and the left arm swing through as well.
When using a western variation your swing is more of a wave or windscreen wiper action as opposed to the closed off racquet head in the eastern grip.
So check your forehand next time you’re playing and see if you’re making any of these errors. They are pretty simple to correct with some time, coaching and repetition. Remember there is not 100% way of hitting the ball. Every player has their own idiosyncrasies and way of hitting. See what works best for you.