Quantcast
nodot nodot
Turbo Tennis
February 2005 Article

Contact Ron Waite

Latest Turbo Tennis Article

Turbo Tennis Archives:
2003 - 2014
1996 - 2002

Tennis Server
HOME PAGE

Do You Want To Be A Better Tennis Player?

Then Sign Up For A Free Subscription to the Tennis Server INTERACTIVE
E-mail Newsletter!

You will join 25,000 other subscribers in receiving news of updates to the Tennis Server along with monthly tennis tips from tennis pro Tom Veneziano that won't be found on the web site.
 
Best of all, it is free!

Player Profiles:
 
Top Pros (Women)
tennis ball Serena Williams
tennis ball Maria Sharapova
tennis ball Simona Halep
tennis ball Petra Kvitova
tennis ball Ana Ivanovic
tennis ball Agnieszka Radwanska
tennis ball Eugenie Bouchard
tennis ball Caroline Wozniacki
tennis ball Angelique Kerber
tennis ball Dominika Cibulkova
 ... more profiles
 
Top Pros (Men)
tennis ball Novak Djokovic
tennis ball Roger Federer
tennis ball Rafael Nadal
tennis ball Stanislas Wawrinka
tennis ball Kei Nishikori
tennis ball Andy Murray
tennis ball Tomas Berdych
tennis ball Milos Raonic
tennis ball Marin Cilic
tennis ball David Ferrer
 ... more profiles
 
Tennis Features Icon TENNIS FEATURES:

BETWEEN THE LINES - Ray Bowers takes an analytical and sometimes controversial look at the ATP/WTA professional tour.
 
PRO TENNIS SHOWCASE - Tennis match reports and photography from around the world.
 
TURBO TENNIS - Ron Waite turbocharges your tennis game with tennis tips, strategic considerations, training and practice regimens, and mental mindsets and exercises.
 
TENNIS ANYONE? - USPTA Pro John Mills' quick player tip.
 
WILD CARDS - Each month a guest column by a new writer.
 
TENNIS SET - Jani Macari Pallis, Ph.D. looks at tennis science, engineering and technology.
 
MORTAL TENNIS - Greg Moran's tennis archive on how regular humans can play better tennis.
 
MENTAL EQUIPMENT - Explore the mental side of the game with Dr. John Murray.
 
TENNIS WARRIOR - Tom Veneziano's Tennis Warrior archive.
 
HARDSCRABBLE SCRAMBLE - USPTA pro Mike Whittington's player tip archive.
 
TENNIS EQUIPMENT TIPS.

Tennis Community Icon TENNIS COMMUNITY:


Tennis Book, DVD, and Video Index
 
Tennis Server Match Reports
 
Editor's Letter
 
Become a Tennis Server Sponsor

Explore The Tennis Net Icon EXPLORE THE TENNIS NET:

Pro Tennis Calendar & Event Links
 
Tennis News and Live Tennis Scores
 
Tennis Links on the Web
 
nodot
Turbo Tennis
 
Green Dot
 
Tennis Warehouse Logo
 
Green Dot

 
nodot
Formative February

Ron Waite Photo
Ron Waite, USPTR

If you live north of the equator, you are probably beginning to think seriously about resuming your tennis passion with outdoor play. Soon enough, the spring will be here, and more people will be beginning the heart of their tennis season.

Hopefully, the holiday months of December and January have not taken too much of a toll on your conditioning and body weight. The first step in resuming any sport should involve gradual development of one's physical shape and a regimen of regular stretching.

I try to use December and January to build my strength, and to allow my aging body an opportunity to heal. Tennis is a sport that places lots of strain on joints and muscles. The older one gets, the more difficult the recovery from "active" periods become.

Well, we are into February, and the Australian Open has piqued our interest in playing our game, again. I like to think of February as my "form"-ative month. What I mean by this is that I attempt to work on the form of my strokes. I do my best to improve upon any imperfections that exist (and we all have them). By the end of the month my active coaching period as a NCAA collegiate, men's tennis coach begins in earnest. So, my quest for form is well timed. My players are in search of their form as well.

To really be able to take advantage of this month for improving one's form, some things are really necessary. A backboard that you can use is helpful. Indoor court time, if the weather does not permit outside play, is great. Hitting with a teaching pro during this time is definitely helpful. A ball machine is a major plus, as is a willing hitting partner.

In addition to any of these, I cannot begin to tell you how important it is to have a camcorder that can record video.

For me February is a time to rekindle and re-evaluate the form of my strokes. I am not competing at all in this month, and I try my best to use the time to develop "perfect" form in all my strokes. Now realistically, not every stroke is going to see major improvement. However, at least one stroke will get a somewhat major overhaul and upgrade. With the rest, I may simple make minor improvements. Although some of these adjustments are very minor, they can pay big dividends in terms of your game.

I am fortunate enough to have access to indoor tennis courts, a gym with a wall that makes for a perfect backboard, and several racquetball courts. In truth, I use all of these during February.

I take my camcorder and tripod with me, all the time. The generation of video camcorders that exist today are small, easy to use, need very little light and have incredible battery capacity. Literally, I can place the camcorder, tape, extra batteries and a lightweight tripod in my tennis bag…without sacrificing much space.

Video self-analysis is not always a comfortable experience. We all have imagined concepts of our strokes. However, when we look at ourselves on videotape, it can be a real epiphany.

In the Turbo Tennis Archives, you will find an article that I wrote about where to place your video camcorder when playing and other advice. It will be helpful to read this, if you have never videotaped yourself playing.

Let's assume that you decide to take my advice and dedicate time in February to perfecting your stroke form. Additionally, let's assume that every time you play or practice you are videotaping yourself. The logical question is: "Okay, what am I looking to change?"

Well, if you have watched lots of tennis on television, you are really much better prepared for this self-analysis than you might imagine. As far as strokes are concerned, I use a checklist to evaluate my form. I find that if I evaluate each stroke in terms of these variables, I can determine deficiencies and begin to formulate a plan for improvement.

Bob Litwin is a teaching pro who has developed what he calls "Focused Tennis." I think Bob's approach is well founded, and I encourage any reader to participate in any of his instructional seminars, or to buy his tapes. (No, I am not getting any compensation for this endorsement.) One of the principles of his approach to improving your game is to focus on one thing at a time. In fact, this is also a guiding principle of the USPTR.

I bring this up because it is easy to watch yourself on tape and have a laundry list of things to change. Work in increments. Improve each stroke, one stroke at a time. Some improvements will come without much effort. Others will be very difficult to burn into one's muscle memory bank. But over time and with patience, one's overall game can be made significantly better.

Without exception, every stroke is addressed in the Turbo Tennis Archives. In my past articles I have tried to communicate useful information regarding virtually every stroke in the game. One-handed backhands, two-handed backhands, western grip forehands, continental grip volleys, first and second serves. If you look at the listing of my past articles, I am sure that you will find a column or two that addresses the way you approach hitting a particular stroke. You can use this link to the archives.

So with all this being said, here is my checklist:

1. Seeing the ball?

You can't hit what you don't see. When viewing videotape of myself, I first look at how my eyes are tracking the ball. I know when I am "on," because my "look" is very distinctive. My eyes are wide and I track the ball with my eyes not my head.

2. How am I moving to the ball?

Watch the pros. They may take a big step or two when they first move to hit a ball. But, as they get near the contact area, they start to take very little steps. These little steps are necessary to allow you to get in perfect hitting position.

3. How am I moving to get the right grip?

In many ways, proper grip is the most important ingredient in a well struck ball. There is no one right way to hit any stroke. But, your grip dictates the rest of the stroke. If you are confused about your grip, read my past Article entitled "Picture Perfect." Is your grip change smooth and accomplished early? What role is your non-dominant hand playing in the grip change? You would be amazed at how many players do not get to their grips quickly and smoothly. Now, at times, we simply can't because we are stretched and/or on the run. If the stroke is a "rally" stroke, evaluate how you get to your grip.

4. Am I in the right stance when I hit the ball?

For every grip/stroke combination, there is an ideal stance. Open stances refer to those where the body is facing the net. In closed stances, we see that the body is sideways to the net. And, of course, there are intermediary stances known as 3/4 open, etc.

There are times when we simply cannot assume the ideal stance. In these emergency situations, we have to hit the best we can with whatever stance in which we find ourselves. If you are taking little steps as you approach making contact with the ball, you will probably be able to assume your ideal stance more often. In my past columns you can find abundant information on what is the best stance for a particular grip/stroke combination.

5. How do I take my racquet back?

There was a time when every teaching pro would tell students to take their racquet back as early as is possible and as far back as possible. These were the days of heavy, wooden racquets. Modern racquet technology enables players to hit with pace without much of a backswing. I will sometimes practice hitting tennis balls off a racquetball court wall. Why? Well, if I use a brand new ball, the bounce will be fairly close to what I would experience on a tennis court. Racquetball courts are really not all that long. If I am taking my racquet back too far, I will actually hit the wall behind me. The shorter length of the racquetball court makes the ball return to me very quickly. So, whenever I find myself hitting too hard on a tennis court, I spend some time practicing off the racquetball court wall. Soon, I find myself hitting with pace but not over hitting. Believe me. Racquetball courts can be helpful in these two areas.

6. Where is my contact point?

Every player has her/his favorite "strike zone" for each stroke. The grip that a player uses dictates the ideal contact point. If you refer to the "Picture Perfect" article that I mentioned in point 3 of this checklist, you will find illustrations that show proper contact points for various grip/stroke combinations. One of the things that we must also evaluate in this regard is how low or high is our body at the moment of impact. You would be amazed at how many times a player will not bend his/her knees to hit a low bouncing ball. Rather, he/she will bend at the waist. This is definitely not good form.

7. Do I freeze my head at the moment of impact with the ball?

I cannot stress how important it is to keep your head "quiet" at the moment of impact with the ball. The temptation is to see where our shots are landing. Pros know that they need to remain motionless with respect to their heads when hitting any stroke. In February, I spend lots of my time focusing on quieting my head during every shot.

8. How do I finish the stroke?

Every stroke, volley and serve has an ideal finish. If you spend more time on developing a proper and full finish on all your shots, you will find that the consistency in your game greatly improves. If you ever visit most of the Florida Tennis academies, you will hear pros constantly encouraging students to finish fully and properly. Again, you can find the proper finish for your grip/stroke combination by referring to the images in the previously mentions "Picture Perfect" article.

9. How do I recover?

It is imperative to get back to "ready" position as quickly and smoothly as is possible. I watch many recreational players who hit the shot, and then they simply stop and wait for the next shot to come. Often times, these players will let the racquet simply point towards the ground. Watch the pros. They recover quickly and have their racquet in the position that they would use while waiting to return a serve. They move back toward the center of the court to be able to cover the opponent's reply more easily. As they move back to the center of the court, they glide. Once they know where the reply is going, they move quickly. Again, they almost always approach the ball with little steps. If they are at the net, you will see them bouncing up and down on their toes. Why? Well, this enables them to move quickly to any passing shot, or move back to hit an overhead. With respect to the serve, there is also a proper recovery. Depending on whether you are moving toward the net or staying back, there is a proper way to end the serve and setup for the return. The point is that many of us never pay attention to our recovery. As a result, we almost always seem to be out of position and having to scramble to get to the next shot.

These nine points are, in my opinion, the most critical aspects to evaluate as you look at yourself on videotape. Tape some pro tennis and compare your stroke to the pro that, you believe, hits like you would like to hit. Assuming that you use the same grip/stroke combination as this pro, you will have an ideal to emulate as you adjust your form.

February is the shortest month. However, if you spend time working on your stroke form it can be the month that transforms your game. Better form yields better strokes. Better strokes yield more winning points. More winning points yield more games. More winning games yield more winning sets. More winning sets lead to more match wins. More match wins will make you a tennis overdog!

Green DotGreen DotGreen Dot

Turbo Tennis Archives:
1996 - 2002 | 2003 - 2014


If you have not already signed up to receive our free e-mail newsletter Tennis Server INTERACTIVE, you can sign up here. You will receive notification each month of changes at the Tennis Server and news of new columns posted on our site.

This column is copyrighted by Ron Waite, all rights reserved. Questions and comments about these columns can be directed to Ron by using this form.

Ron Waite is a certified USPTR tennis instructor who took up the game of tennis at the age of 39. Frustrated with conventional tennis methods of instruction and the confusing data available on how to learn the game, Ron has sought to sift fact from fiction. In his seven years of tennis, Ron has received USTA sectional ranking four years, has successfully coached several NCAA Division III men's and women's tennis teams to post season competition, and has competed in USTA National singles tournaments. Ron has trained at a number of tennis academies and with many of the game's leading instructors.

In addition to his full-time work as a professor at Albertus Magnus College, Ron photographs ATP tour events for a variety of organizations and publications. The name of his column, TurboTennis, stems from his methods to decrease the amount of time it takes to learn and master the game of tennis.


 

nodot
nodot
Google
Web tennisserver.com
nodot nodot
The Tennis Server
Ticket Exchange

Your Source for tickets to professional tennis & golf events.
 
Barclays ATP World Tour Finals Tennis Tickets 11/7-11/14
 
Davis Cup Finals: France vs Switzerland Tennis Tickets 11/21
 
Chris Evert Pro-Celeb Tennis Classic Tickets 11/22-11/23
 
2015 BNP Paribas Open Tickets Indian Wells 3/11-3/22
 
2015 Miami Open Tennis Tickets 3/23-4/5
 
2015 US Open Tennis Tickets 8/31-9/13
 

 

Tennis MindGame

 
Popular Tennis books:
 
Smart Tennis by John Murray
 
Winning Ugly: Mental Warfare in Tennis-Lessons from a Master by Brad Gilbert, Steve Jamison
 
The Best Tennis of Your Life: 50 Mental Strategies for Fearless Performance by Jeff Greenwald
 
The Inner Game of Tennis by W. Timothy Gallwey
 
Most Recent Articles:
 
December 15, 2014 Between The Lines: Player of the Year 2014 by Ray Bowers.
 
Tennis Warrior: The Racket-Back Myth by Tom Veneziano.
 
November 2014 Tennis Anyone: Coil by John Mills.
 
November 2014 Turbo Tennis: Double Your Pleasure by Ron Waite.
 
November 11, 2014 Between The Lines: Woman of the Year 2014 by Ray Bowers.
 
October 2014 Wild Cards: Roger Rolls Through 300; Serena Wins First Championship In Cincinnati by Vince Barr.
 
Tennis Warrior: Five Powerful Tennis Concepts by Tom Veneziano.
 
October 2014 Tennis Anyone: Why Can I Not Poach? by John Mills.
 
October 2014 Turbo Tennis: Momentum Revisited by Ron Waite.
 
August 2014 Wild Cards: The Tennis Round Table: Interviews With Jim Courier, Todd Martin & Mark Philippoussis in Arizona by Vince Barr.
 

 

 

 

 
 
Featured events in the Tennis Server Ticket Exchanges:
 
  Featured Tickets:
BNP Paribas Open Tickets Indian Wells CA Tennis Garden
Miami Open Tennis Tickets Miami Key Biscayne FL Crandon Park Center
 

  Featured Tickets:
Western & Southern Open Cincinnati Tennis Tickets Session 13 W&SFG Cincy Mason OH Lindner Family Center Financial Group Masters
Western & Southern Open Cincinnati Tennis Tickets Session 14 W&SFG Cincy Mason OH Lindner Family Center Financial Group Masters
Western & Southern Open Cincinnati Tennis Tickets Session 15 W&SFG Cincy Mason OH Lindner Family Center Financial Group Masters
Western & Southern Open Cincinnati Tennis Tickets Session 16 Finals W&SFG Cincy Mason OH Lindner Family Center Financial Group Masters

  Featured Tickets:
US Open Tennis Tickets Session 11 Third Round New York City NYC NY Flushing Meadows Corona
US Open Tennis Tickets Session 10 Men's Second Round Women's Third Round New York City NYC NY Flushing Meadows Corona
US Open Tennis Tickets Session 9 Men's Second Round Women's Third Round New York City NYC NY Flushing Meadows Corona
US Open Tennis Tickets Session 8 Second Round New York City NYC NY Flushing Meadows Corona

  Featured Tickets:
Sony Open Tennis Session 13 Tickets Miami Men's Singles 3rd Round Women's Singles 4th Round Key Biscayne FL Crandon Park Center
Sony Open Tennis Session 14 Tickets Miami Men's Singles 3rd Round Women's Singles 4th Round Key Biscayne FL Crandon Park Center
Sony Open Tennis Session 15 Tickets Miami Men's Singles 4th Round Women's Singles Quarterfinals Key Biscayne FL Crandon Park Center
Sony Open Tennis Session 16 Tickets Miami Men's Singles 4th Round Women's Singles Quarterfinals Key Biscayne FL Crandon Park Center

  Featured Tickets:
Sony Open Tennis Session 21 Tickets Miami Men's Singles Semifinals Women's Doubles Semifinals Key Biscayne FL Crandon Park Center
Sony Open Tennis Session 22 Tickets Miami Men's Singles Semifinals Women's Doubles Semifinals Key Biscayne FL Crandon Park Center
Sony Open Tennis Session 23 Tickets Miami Woman's Singles Final Men's Doubles Final Key Biscayne FL Crandon Park Center
Sony Open Tennis Session 24 Tickets Miami Men's Singles Final Women's Doubles Final Key Biscayne FL Crandon Park Center
Great American Beer Festival Tickets Denver CO Colorado Convention Center

 
 
"Tennis Server" is a registered trademark and "Tennis Server INTERACTIVE" is a trademark of Tennis Server. All original material and graphics on the Tennis Server are copyrighted 1994 - by Tennis Server and its sponsors and contributors. Please do not reproduce without permission.

 

Tennis Server
Cliff Kurtzman
Editor-in-chief
2323 Clear Lake City Boulevard
Suite 180-139
Houston, Texas 77062-8120
Phone: (281) 480-6300
Fax: (281) 480-7715
Online Contact Form
How to support Tennis Server as a Sponsor/Advertiser
Tennis Server Privacy Policy