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November 2008 Article

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Pretend

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John Mills, USPTA

Remember when you were a kid and you use to "pretend." Here are some "pretends" that may help you in tennis.

  • Pretend the ball coming at you is actually four balls on a skewer. Hit through all four balls. This will help your control and placement.
  • When you are being attacked at the net, pretend your racket is a "baseball glove." Use the glove to catch the ball.
  • When you are at the net in the offense, pretend your racket is a "baseball bat." Because you are in the offense, go ahead and swing at the ball.
  • When you are receiving a lob that you wish to smash, pretend that you are going to get in a position where the ball would hit you on the head.
  • When you are nervous or not hitting solid, pretend the tennis ball is a "beach ball." It is much easier to hit a bigger ball.
  • When you are volleying or approaching, pretend your opponent's side of the court is very slick, like glass. Make the ball slide low to the court, forcing your opponent to hit more up to you.
  • Always pretend that your shot is going exactly where you want it to go. Quit looking where it is going.
  • When you hit the ball over the net, always pretend it is coming back. Don't be surprised.
  • When you are hitting a half-volley pretend you are putting in golf. Take a very small backswing and follow through.
  • When you are getting a drop shot, pretend your racket is a soft sponge. Absorb all of the pace off the ball that you can.
  • When you see the court, pretend it is a table. Think of your shots bouncing once on the table and the second bounce landing off the table.
  • When you are in a baseline rally, pretend that the area on your opponent's side of the court between the net and the service line is like a water trap in golf. Clear the water trap.
  • When you start the match, just pretend that you belong at this level. This will definitely settle you down.

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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