My club recently hosted a professional golf tournament. I'm
an avid golfer so this gave me a chance to see these guys up
close and possibly get some tips. I was amazed at how far
they could hit the ball. It was well beyond what the average
player hits. Where I would hit a driver they would hit a 3
wood. On holes that I would hit a 5 iron, they would hit a
7 iron. The part that really got my attention was that these
players didn't really swing that hard! How was it that I was
swinging harder than they were but not getting the distance?
They weren't physically bigger than me and I have good
equipment. Where is my power?
After watching these guys for a couple of days it clicked
what was actually happening and also how it pertains to
tennis. These guys had good tempo, something that isn't
discussed much in tennis. They were gaining more power not
because of faster swing speeds but because they were hitting
the sweet spot of the club. As a result of good tempo and
consistently hitting the sweet spot, they were able to gain
much more power than they would by increasing their swing
speed and hitting the ball outside of the sweet spot.
The same applies to tennis. Think about when you hit a shot
near the frame. You lose power no matter how fast you swing.
I'm all for fast swing speeds and I think they become a
normal part of today's tennis. However, I believe that you
should swing as fast as you can control. I really don't
believe that most professional golf and tennis players swing
as fast as they can. I think they swing as fast as they feel
they can consistently hit the ball in the sweet spot.
It can be difficult to find your correct swing speed and tempo
but it something worth working on in your game. We all know
players that are so inconsistent that if we just give them one
more shot they will hit the fence - the type of player who has
a strategy of hard, harder, and hardest. Your swing speed will
differ on the type of shot but some players only have one type
of swing and one speed -- fast!
We've all had those days, although they might be few and far
between, where everything goes perfectly. We have speed and
control and the game seems to be clicking. I bet you'll find
that on those days you aren't coming out of your shoes trying
to gain power. You are at your ideal tempo, watching the ball
well, and swinging within your game. Try finding your ideal
swing speed in practice and your game will gain power and hold
better in competition.