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August 2011 Article

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Please Ask - Please Teach

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John Mills, USPTA

If you have been playing tennis for quite a while, do not believe you cannot change to modernize your game. Just Ask! Please ask your tennis pro to teach you how to:

  • Hit an open-stance forehand with a semi-western grip. This will be the biggest and best change you will ever make in your game. Hit it like the pros.

  • Hit the volleys with a continental grip. Do not change back and forth. Remember, hit your backhand volley with your forehand volley grip, this will force you to "pull," not "push" the volleys. This will really increase your reaction time and quickness.

  • Maintain the same racket speed on both your first and second serve. This will stop you from babying your second serve. This will also force you to learn to add spin for control.

  • Move forward to hit the volleys. "Good things happen when I move forward."

  • Hit your backhand volley with one hand. In the short term, the two-handed backhand volley will be easier to learn and to handle hard shots. However, in the long run the loss of reach and adaptability will be overwhelming. Really, how many pros hit a two-handed backhand volley?

  • Hit a one handed backhand chip/slice, even though you have a two-handed backhand drive. Use this as a change-up and to bring a baseliner in or when you are out of position to hit a two-handed backhand.

These are very important questions to ask your pro. Many times a pro will not modernize your game because he or she thinks that you may not want to change or not want to put the time into learning to make the changes. Don't be shy! These are my big improvements and will give you many years of enjoyment.
 
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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