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Tennis Anyone
November 2005 Article

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Get Away from the Ball

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John Mills, USPTA

Often, a player will get into a bad habit of getting too close to the ball. In general, it is better to reach a little to get the ball than to be too close. Just like batting in baseball, you get more power on a pitch to the outside of the plate than inside the plate (too close to the hands).

You will improve your serve and overhead if you extend to get the ball, rather than the ball falling on top of you. Watch the top servers in tennis and see how high they throw their toss and how high they make contact.

Go get your volleys and extend. Do not let the ball crowd you. If the ball crowds you on a groundstroke, step around your backhand and hit a forehand like the pros.

Staying away from the ball helps you "square up" to the ball, getting your racket head parallel with the ground rather than "shoveling" the ball, where your racket is not parallel to the ground on contact. The best thing about getting away from the ball is reducing shock in you arm and shoulder and reducing the chances of tennis elbow.

Good luck on the courts!

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This column is copyrighted by John Mills, all rights reserved.

John Mills currently teaches tennis at the University of Houston, Clear Lake campus. John Mills' experience includes four years as head pro at the Windemere Racquet & Swim Club, where he was responsible for organization of all tennis activities at the club. John also played college tennis at the University of Houston and has spent 20 years teaching tennis at the Memorial Park Tennis Center, the Pasadena Racquet Club, and as the head pro at the Bay Area Racquet Club.


 

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