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Tuesday, 23 July 2019 00:30

5 Tennis Tips - July 2019

This month the 5 tennis tips will revolve around footwork variations and positioning for the ball.

Tennis footwork is an often overlooked area for beginner players and even some intermediate players. Many focus on the upper body and arm movements but neglect the importance of moving to a ball, being in the correct position to hit the ball and recover efficiently.

 

Tennis Tip 1 - Start with a Bang

Use on the split-step religiously is the best start for every shot. The trick is the timing of when to do it.

If playing from the baseline you want to be mid-air when the opponent makes contact with the ball so the split-step lands a moment after contact.

If you or the opponent are playing from the net your reaction time is a lot less so you want to make the landing of the spilt step at the same time contact is made.

 

Tennis Tip 2 - Get to Steppin'

Once you've done the split-step, you know which direction to move. Make the first step with the foot in which direction that is.

So, if its a forehand you need to play, step right with the right foot and continue to the ball (right-handers)

This step with help initially tur the hips and shoulder and assist the take-back of the racquet.

 

Tennis Tip 3 - Shuffle, Shuffle Shuffle!

My coach used to say "make some noise with those feet!". As you get close to the ball, shuffle and make little adjustment steps to the position before loading to hit.

Chances are if you take one big step for a ball you won't be in the right position. If you make lots of little steps you will more precise in your positioning.

 

Tennis Tip 4 - Which leg to load?

Here are some footwork positions for different shots. All are assuming you're a right-hander.

 

Forehand:

Open stance - Right leg load. For wide/defence and neutral balls. Return of serve.

Semi-open stance - Right to left load. Neutral/attack balls

Closed stance - Left leg load. Attack balls.

 

Backhand:

Closed stance - Right leg load. For Wide, defence neutral and attack balls. Return of service if possible.

Open stance - Left leg load. Wide and defence balls. Return of serve.

 

Volley:

Closed stance - Left foot for forehand volley, right foot for the backhand volley.

Open stance - Try not to use unless desperate and can't reach the ball with the closed stance.

 

Tennis Tip 5 - Recovery

Now the shot has been made, you want to recover back to the middle of the two extreme angles the opponent can hit too. Ideally, push off the outside leg propelling you back and side gallop until you have to split step again.

 

Next time you play, try to implement some of these tennis tips and I'm sure you be floating like a butterfly all over the court, just like Federer.

Published in Blog
Friday, 22 March 2019 02:13

5 Tennis Tips - March 2019

Monthly Tennis Coaching Pointers - March 2019

Following on with our new 5 Tennis Tips feature to the Four Seasons Tennis Blog, today's new 5 tips are focused on the serve.

The serve is the most important shot in tennis. It gets the point started, and with a solid, consistent serve, you can dominate your matches. However, with a weak serve, you're prone to be broken on your service games and that puts you on the back foot in matches.

For recreational players, the serve can be confusing and difficult to master. It is one of the most technical movements in all sports and requires patience and repetition.

These 5 tips today are the basics and fundamentals that you build from. Focus on one at a time and practice, practice, practice!

 

Tennis Tip 1 - Get a Grip!

Use the continental grip for a serve. That is grip number 2, with the index knuckle on the top right bevel. This is often uncomfortable and difficult until you become used to the grip. The use of correct technique and pronation with get the most out of the continental grip.

For kids and adults starting out it is ok to use the eastern forehand grip, number 3.

 

Tennis Tip 2 - Ball Toss

The most difficult element to master consistently is putting the ball where it needs to be. Use a straight arm, let go of the ball at about eye height and continue the arm so it's pointing at the contact point. Aim to put the ball at 1 o'clock, that is, slightly in front of you and slightly to the right.

 

Tennis Tip 3 - Bend Your Knees

As you lift your arm for the ball toss, lean your hips forward under the ball and bend your knees. This helps with balance, stability and power.

 

Tennis Tip 4 - Where do you finish?

Move up and forwards into the contact of the ball. You should finish into the court after hitting the serve. If you're finishing sideways or backwards, not over the baseline, your ball toss is incorrect and/or you're hitting the ball in the incorrect place.

 

Tennis Tip 5 - Follow Through and Split

Once you've swung your arms and turned your shoulders through the contact of the ball, they need to continue and finish to the left of your body. Making sure you have a clean follow through and trajectory of the swing will ensure the ball will go where you want it to.

Once the follow through is made, take a further step to push back into the recovery position and split step, ready for the next ball.

 

Remember to drill these aspects of your serve, you want them to become muscle memory so you don't need to think about them in a match. You want to think about where you're going to hit the ball and place your next ball.

Happy hitting everyone!

 

Published in Blog
Monday, 07 January 2019 07:18

5 Tennis Tips - January 2019

Monthly Tennis Coaching Pointers - January 2019

Following on with our new 5 Tennis Tips feature to the Four Seasons Tennis Blog, today's new 5 tips are focused on the volley and net game.

In our modern tennis era, the net game has lost its way in singles match play. With new techniques and powerful racquets creating heavy spin and fast-paced shots, you don’t always get the time to get to the net and close the point.

In doubles, the net game is as strong as ever. Tactically you want to close the net and shut down the angles, which is easier for 2 players covering the doubles court.

For players wanting to add another element to their game, or those trying to sharpen their net play, these tips will help you achieve more when closer to the net.

 

Tennis Tip 1 – Get a Grip!

Use the same grip for both forehand and backhand volleys, that is, the continental grip (2).

If you’re changing between the eastern forehand grip (3) for forehand volleys, and eastern backhand grip (1) for backhand volleys, you don’t have time to set up the correct technique and be able to place the ball as well.

 

Tennis Tip 2 – Tisk, Tisk, Wrist

Keep your wrist firm and braced when playing a volley. Most other shots have a relaxed wrist for more racquet head speed.

Try not to choke the racquet, but don’t have a wet fish hand either.

 

Tennis Tip 3 – Two Left Feet?

Step the opposite foot to which side of the body you’re hitting the ball on. Push off the back leg and lean into the shot, stepping the front foot at moment of contact on the ball.

Right-handed players would push off the right foot and land with the left foot when playing a forehand volley.

 

 

 

Tennis Tip 4 – Chicken Wings

Keep the elbows in front of the body when waiting for the ball and split stepping, then open the racquet and punch the ball in front of your body.

 

Tennis Tip 5 – Close the Net

The closer you are to the net, the better the angle you can play. Don’t wait back on the service line all day. Move forward and put pressure on the opponent. However, if you stand too close to the net for too long, or at the wrong time, you leave yourself open for lobs.

 

Thank you for reading. If you have any requests please let me know :)

Published in Blog
Thursday, 09 July 2015 03:18

Adults Winter Round Robin 2015

Adults Winter Tournament 2015 (Pic’s included)

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

 

The cool kids...

 

Division 1

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.

 

Division 1 Winner John and Matt

 

Division 2

 

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.

 

Division 3

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.

 

Division 4

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...

:)

Published in Blog

Use the tennis tactics and strategies get help win you next tennis game.

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:

  • Backhand - Keep it deep to the BH, or slice low and make them bend their knees. An awesome approach is to hit a high looping topspin ball, bouncing deep in the corner. This forces the opponent to hit on the rise from their weaker shot. This will also give you time to either recover from a wide ball or approach the net. Mix it up and use variety.
  • Second serve - Step up on it and hit the ball early to force the opponent on the back foot. This cuts their reaction time and helps you dominate the point or at least puts it on an even playing field.
  • Volley - Most of today's players are baseliners and can’t stand the net. Bring them into the net where they don't feel comfortable. Expect unforced errors, slow feet and weak returns. Once at the net hit the ball for a passing shot, lob, or straight at them.
  • Slow Movement - If your opponent is not getting in position to hit the ball, is slow to recover, or just generally slow around the court this is often because of bad footwork or lack of fitness and conditioning. Do the obvious, take advantage by hitting to the open court. Make them move their feet to get to the ball. Even body shots work a treat because they can’t move out of the way.

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:

  • Dropping 20% of the power off the first serve or adding a little spin. Keep a firm pace so they will still have to work for it. Don’t lollypop the ball in so they can crush it.
  • Increase your margins by having a half metre buffer between where the ball bounces and the line. Also clear the net by at least half a metre. You don’t have to hit the lines.
  • Take your time between serves. Breathe, bounce the ball a few times to reset and think about where you’re hitting the ball and which type of serve you will use.

 

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:

  • Hit the ball in front of the body and around 45 degrees away from the body to ensure the racquet can follow through towards where you want to ball to go. It’s nearly impossible to hit the ball crosscourt with any pace or spin from behind or beside your body.
  • Hit the ball with an open stance or semi-open stance footwork. This allows a good contact point and easy body rotation into the ball.
  • Have your racquet head come around the outside of the ball to create the crosscourt angle.
  • Follow through the ball towards the crosscourt direction.

 

Use this simple game plan to take into your next match. It is easy to execute and will definitely steer you towards a win:

  • Know what your strengths are so you can use them to exploit the opponent’s weaknesses
  • Get your first serves in
  • Hit crosscourt
Published in Blog
Thursday, 05 February 2015 00:00

5 Tennis Tips for Social Doubles Players

Improve your tennis game with these simple strategic doubles tips.

 

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

Published in Blog

Tennis Drills

In this article we look at some exciting drills for hitting partners who do the same old stuff week in and week out. Give your game some direction, objectives and strategies!

Most intermediate tennis players I coach have a hitting partner they train with at least once a week. This gives them an opportunity to practice the technique or tactics we’ve been working on at that week’s tennis lesson.

Having a hitting partner is the most cost effective way of improving your tennis shots, for you and your partner as well.

Tips for practicing with a partner

  • Get a partner at your standard or preferably slightly stronger than you. This will often bring your game up to their standard. Just as playing someone weaker might throw your game out a little.
  • Book a regular time for practice. Whether it’s weekly or fortnightly, make a commitment and stick to it. Practice drills are as important as match practice.
  • Use different venues and court surfaces. This will test how you adapt your game to changing conditions and will benefit those who play tournaments around town.
  • Have a few different hitting partners of varying styles. Examples include a heavy topspin hitter, hard flat hitter but also someone who you really enjoy hitting with. It keeps the game fun ;)

In this first edition of quality drills for hitting partners we’re going back to the old saying KISS. Keep It Simple Stupid. Some try to get too fancy too soon. If you can’t keep long rallies at simple angles, you need to work on that first. Some of the drills can be performed with a ball machine but I’ve written them out in a partner format.

Drill 1 - Crosscourt

Crosscourt is your bread and butter. To be able to stay in a match for more than 2 shots you need to have a solid crosscourt shot.

The benefits of a crosscourt ball are more length of court to hit to, you hit over the lowest part of the net and with the body naturally turns across the court. More importantly for the intermediate/advanced player is that you don’t have to recover as far as if you played a down the line ball. This will be explained further in our court positioning post coming soon.

The Tennis Drill:

Place a cone or drink bottle in opposite corners of the court about 1 metre in from the baseline and single lines. Simply try and hit the bottle on the other side of the court. You’re looking at rallying 20 balls in a row. The bounce should be in the vicinity on the bottle, or at least deep than the service line. A 20 ball rally is a benchmark you should aim for.

To add a competitive element to the drill play first to hit the others bottle over 5 times.

Progression:

Rally 4 balls crosscourt then the point starts. Then rally 6 balls then play, then 8 etc. Aim for 20 ball rally then play the point. You can score if you want.

Drill 2 - Unforced Errors

Tennis matches are won and lost on unforced errors, not winners as some like to play. Getting the ball in one more time, even as a lob or soft shot is better than hitting an all or nothing last ditch hit.

The Tennis Drill:

  • Play the point out full court
  • Each unforced error is a strike
  • Winners and forced errors don’t count
  • 3 strikes and you do 10 burpees and repeat.
  • This also builds fitness and adds pressure, especially after a few sets of burpees.

Progressions:

1 - Have one player covering doubles court and the other on singles as shown by the red rectangles. Same rules apply with strikes etc.

2 - Add rule if you win on a volley you can minus a point off the strike score.

Drill 3 - Doubles Approach

This one is for the double players out there. Most weekly tennis competitions around these days have a doubles and single element and this is a great drill for teaching when to get to the net and play a strong volley under pressure.

Doubles tactic numero uno, get to the net. I see a lot of social doubles and too many people either hang back at the baseline or in ‘no man’s land’. Generally social payers start in the neutral doubles positioning of one person at the net and one on the baseline. From here any short ball that pulls you into the court or if you hit a strong enough ball to get the other players out of position, or give yourself enough time to get to the net, get to the net. If you have the option of hitting to a baseliner as opposed to a net player you should nearly always play to the baseliner.

The Tennis Drill:

  • Play the point out crosscourt including the doubles alley. RED AREA
  • The ball must be hit back crosscourt if it bounces on your side.
  • If you play a volley it can be placed anywhere in the full doubles court BLUE AREA, meaning it should be put away.
  • Assuming the opposition can return the volley the point is played out full doubles court.
  • Play an approach shot that makes the opponent play a bounced ball because it forces them to play a crosscourt ball back to you.

Progression:

  • If the ball bounces before the service line you must approach no matter what. This adds pressure on whoever hits the ball short because you know the opponent is approaching and they have a hugely increased chance of winning at the net.
  • This drill can also be played down the line, doubles alley included, and full court singles

Within tennis training there are an infinite number of drills and variations. These are just a few of many more to come. I hope you have enjoyed these drills and keep on the lookout for more to come.

If you have any questions please let me know in the comment section.

Published in Blog

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