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Tennis Anyone
April 2018 Article

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Can You Do This?

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John Mills, USPTA

On your groundstrokes, can you do this or do you know when to do these things? Can you hit a long radius forehand? This is like you are hitting in the warm-up. Typically, a long radius forehand would be defined as the ball leaving your side of the net and peaking on your opponent's side of the court. Typically, this ball will go deep forcing your opponents to stay back. Use this method when you are back and your opponent is back. The follow throughs on this shot are usually long and finish high over the shoulder.
Secondly, there is a short radius forehand. Used mainly when you are back and your opponent is near the net. Or, used when your opponent is back and you are forced to come to the net. Also can be used as a serve return when playing singles against a serve and volleyer, and in doubles when you are having difficulty getting your return away from the opposing net player. A simple definition for a short radius groundstroke is one that peaks on your side of he court and dips down on your opponent's side of the court. A typical follow through on this shot is finishing under your chest, more like a "slap."
Thirdly, there is a maintain. This is used when you are deep in the court and the ball comes in high and deep. Rather than coming back and losing your position, just raise the level of your backswing and do not allow the ball to be contacted above your eye level. It might be better to just move forward and volley the high ball rather than move back to allow the ball to bounce.
Remember, you cannot learn one style of a shot and expect it to work in all parts of the court. Your shot selection is mainly based on where you are versus where your opponent is. These three adjustments take into account a lot of variables. This understanding can help you become a more competitive and complete player. Do not think too much about where to hit the ball.
Just let your position versus your opponent's position determine where to hit the ball.
Good luck on the Courts!

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

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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