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Tennis Anyone
November 1999 Article

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Tips for Your Whole Game

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John Mills, USPTA

Volleys: Cock, Lock and Block. Cock your wrist (remember the famous "V" volley), Lock your wrist and Block the volley.

  • Passing Shots: First, try to keep the ball low under your opponent. Test their ability to make a low volley before you over hit your pass. If you find they can still hurt you when you hit the pass low, then try to make them reach wide to hit the low pass. Finally, if you find they can still hurt you, then you will be forced to hit harder. Remember, do not assume you need to hit low, away and hard first. This is the biggest single reason why players over hit their passes.

  • Concentration: Do not look where your shot is going until you hear yourself hit the ball. Watch the ball until you hear your hit.

  • Serving: Most players never blame their poor serving performance on their toss hand. Try serving by keeping your toss hand straight up in the air after you release the toss. You will find that your point of contact will become higher, your wrist snap will be accentuated and your serves will stop flying long. After learning to leave the toss hand up longer, gradually bring it down inside your chest.

  • Lob: Use the lob to buy recovery time, to gain control of the net and to move a team off the net. Do not use it to win a point. You will win more points because your opponent misses the overhead, rather than you trying to hit a perfect lob winner. Remember, if you hit a successful lob over your opponent's head, follow it to the net.

  • Dominating your opponent: Try to win a series of points. This will demoralize your opponent. Also, it will force you to play more consistently. Observe your opponent at the onset of the game and evaluate their strengths and weaknesses. Keep playing to their weakness. If your opponent continues to lose the point it will affect his or her concentration. If your opponent gets under control, change your game plan.

  • Playing smart: Tennis is a multi-dimensional game, but the mental aspect of the game is just as important. You may have developed a diverse game, but if you don't play smart and make the right shot, keep your cool, be patient and wait for the right opportunity to end the point, a lesser player can beat you. The mental game of tennis is an important element to winning.

  • Conditioning: If you cannot run to the back of the court to retrieve the lob or dart to the service line to cover the drop shot, you reduce your chances of winning. Aerobic exercise of any kind can enhance your game and increase recovery time when you are serving or engage in long points. Weight training can help improve your serve and overheads. Exercising and stretching in general can help reduce injures.

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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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