Quantcast
nodot nodot
Turbo Tennis
February 2011 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 Petra Kvitova
tennis ball Simona Halep
tennis ball Eugenie Bouchard
tennis ball Agnieszka Radwanska
tennis ball Ana Ivanovic
tennis ball Caroline Wozniacki
tennis ball Na Li
tennis ball Angelique Kerber
 ... more profiles
 
Top Pros (Men)
tennis ball Novak Djokovic
tennis ball Roger Federer
tennis ball Rafael Nadal
tennis ball Stanislas Wawrinka
tennis ball David Ferrer
tennis ball Tomas Berdych
tennis ball Kei Nishikori
tennis ball Marin Cilic
tennis ball Milos Raonic
tennis ball Andy Murray
 ... 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

 
The Ideal Modern Player... How To Become One

Ron Waite Photo
Ron Waite, USPTR

Those of you who read column regularly will recognize that I firmly believe that there is no single right way to play this wonderful game of ours. Whether you look at the touring pros, collegiate and high school competitors, or the weekend warriors; there are many variations in how one strikes the ball. Some of these, if successful, should not be abandoned... even if they are significantly unorthodox. Indeed, some time back, I addressed the whole reality of unorthodox strokes in one of my columns: The Orthodoxy of Unorthodoxed Strokes.
 
For nearly 20 years, I have played, taught and coached this great game. I have competed in USTA sponsored tournaments, been a ranked regional player by the USTA, visited at one time or another numerous tennis academies within the U.S. and Europe, and most importantly, I have had the wonderful opportunity to photograph the touring pros at tournaments through my sports imagery business, Photosportacular.
 
Believe me. I have seen most of it, if not all of it. I have lived through wide body racquets, staggered stringing patterns, racquets that reached new lengths (literally) and a host of different synthetic string types.
 
I suspect that a tennis legend like Bill Tilden would hardly recognize the modern game. The reality is that tennis in the 21st century is a different game. Increased money to be made on the professional level, tennis technology, the emphasis upon hard court competition, more tennis schools, a deliberate application of "scientific" principles through video analysis and the greater attention given to our sport in the academic competitions that occur on a collegiate and high school level... each has had an impact on why there is what is often called The Modern Game of Tennis.
 
If you were to read an instructional book from, let's say, the 1950's and compared its content to one written in the last few years; you would discover instantly that the nature of stroke production has changed profoundly.
 
In addition, the average "body type" associated with both male and female competitors on both tours has changed significantly. Generally, it is safe to assume that the modern pro is taller, stronger, and maybe even faster, than pros of the past.
 
Of course many of us, who play this wonderful game, do not meet the body type trends evident in modern professional competition. Still, this is not to suggest that we cannot tailor our games to be as "modern" as is possible. It is to this end that I write this month's column.
 
First, the modern game is characterized by powerful groundstrokes, huge serves and deep court play. It is difficult to be able to play the serve/volley and/or chip/charge game on any other surface than grass. Why? The modern groundstrokes and speed of the game make closing the net difficult. Unless you are very accomplished and very fast, you are likely to find yourself being passed when trying to take the net.
 
Although Roger Federer and others today do possess great speed and outstanding volleys, players of this type are the exception... not the norm. Perhaps the last great serve/volley player who used this approach as a norm is Stefan Edberg. Before him, the great John McEnroe was the leading successful proponent of net play tennis.
 
Hopefully, this form of competition will find a resurrection among pros of the future. But given the power exhibited in the modern game, it may take some time. Jack Kramer was known to have said that serve/volley and chip/charge tennis comes and goes in waves. I hope he is right. Net game tennis is a wonderful thing to see when executed properly.
 
Well, what we must first determine is whether you are a tall, average or somewhat diminutive player with respect to height. Let's start with males. I am 6'2" and I perceive myself as being average when looking at professional and collegiate men's players. If you are less than 5'10", you are in my mind a smaller player. If you are above 6'3", you are a taller player.
 
One would think that the height parameters for women would be significantly lower, and indeed, they are lower. But on the professional level, the differences are not as pronounced as on the collegiate and high school levels. I have stood next to Venus Williams and we really are about the same height.
 
Still, these are the criteria that I would put forth for women. Less than 5'7" is to me small in terms of height. 5'8" to 5'11" would be what I perceive as average height. If you are 6 feet or taller, you qualify as a tall player in my schema.
 
Height is critical in this game. It dictates the power potential of your first serve, and truly, it influences what grips you should adopt on your groundstrokes.
 
In the modern game, powerful first serves are most likely to come from taller players. Why? Well, the additional height enables them to have a more advantageous angle when serving. Literally, their height allows them to have an angle that clears the net while still landing within the service box. If you are a tall player and have not worked on "owning" a powerful first serve, you are wasting your potential.
 
The key to a powerful first serve includes the following:

  1. Use a continental or eastern backhand grip. These grips allow you to break the wrist as you make contact with the ball and this bending of the wrist will generate more power.
  2. Use a loose arm when serving. Tensing your muscles while serving to generate power is counterproductive. A relaxed arm through the entire service motion will ultimately result in producing more power.
  3. Transfer your weight as you make contact with the ball. You want to fall forward into the court when hitting a first serve. Thus, you will need to toss the ball a bit in front of you, or you will not naturally achieve this weight transfer.
  4. Making contact with the ball as high as you can is desirable on first serves in that this creates a more desirable angle for the ball when it passes the net. Literally, you have more margin for error.

Players of average or smaller height can benefit from all of the above. However, these players may literally need to become "airborne" when serving. Taller players can use this technique, but others need to be off the ground and as high up in the air as is possible when they make contact with the ball. Higher tosses and deeper knee bends that propel you upward are requisites in trying to hit your serve from an "airborne" position. You will need to deliberately practice higher tosses, deep knee bends, and launches to make these a natural part of your service motion. This probably means that you will need to revisit your entire service motion to develop a fluid and consistent, "airborne" serve. But, believe me. It is well worth the effort.
 
Now, there is a downside to the "airborne" approach to serving. Since you are tossing higher and using a more complex motion, you are likely to have some difficulties on very windy days. Unfortunately, every benefit in tennis usually has a drawback associated with it.
 
This is why I work so hard on having a reliable kick serve that I can depend upon as a second serve. On very windy days, I may use the "kicker" for both first and second serves.
 
There are only two grips that I recommend for the forehand groundstroke when playing the modern game: the semi-western forehand and the western forehand. Teaching the continental forehand grip has been abandoned for decades. It just doesn't allow for reliable groundstrokes given the pace of modern strokes, and more important, the higher bounce that hard courts provide. I truly admire John McEnroe. He can still hit a continental forehand on a high bouncing service like clay even today. Most of us wish we could hit our forehands as well as he does. But, the reality is that modern tennis does not reward the player who uses the continental forehand.
 
The eastern forehand is still an acceptable grip, but I find that in the modern game it cannot generate the topspin in a reliable manner that we seek in the powerful forehands hit today.
 
I recognize that some of you may not be familiar with grips, contact points, stances, etc. If you fall into this category, you will want to review my previous column The Grip: Picture Perfect.
 
For tall and average height players, I recommend the semi-western. It will allow you to generate power and topspin and not force you to be as bothered by lower bouncing balls (as one would experience if one's opponent was hitting with slice).
 
Average height and certainly smaller players want to use the full western grip. Since you are lower to the ground, balls that bounce lower require you to bend your knees a bit less. The full western grip will allow you to hit with lots of power and impart massive amounts of topspin which helps keep the ball from bouncing long.
 
If you watch little kids as they learn tennis, they almost always adopt the full western grip. The smaller you are, the more likely you are to benefit from the full western forehand grip.
 
Regardless of height, always try to hit your groundstrokes "on the rise." By this, I mean make contact with the ball before it reaches the apex of its bounce and begins to drop. In doing this, you will be using the power of your opponent to help make your shot more powerful. In addition, any funky spins are less likely to affect your stroke production.
 
Although there are many great one-handed backhand players, I would suggest that the two-handed backhand is most desirable in the modern game. Why? Well, the two-handed stroke takes what is usually the physically weaker wing and allows the player to hit with power. This is particularly true if you are hitting a ball that bounces high. In my mind, one-handed players on the ATP tour have a difficult time winning Roland Garros, in part because they are presented with so many high bouncing balls to this side. In rallies, this may be negligible in consequence, but when returning serve, the one-handed player has difficulty with the high bouncing ball to his/her backhand wing.
 
Granted there are great clay court players who use one-handed backhands. But if you are going to be a successful one-handed backhand competitor, you absolutely need to be able to come over the ball and hit with powerful topspin. To achieve this, timing and footwork are critical.
 
Recently, I did an informal count of those players within the top 100 players on both tours. Those players with two-handed backhands outnumbered those who opt for the one-handed variety. I don't think this is a fluke. Rather, I believe the modern game's "normal" backhand is the two-hander.
 
The two-handed backhand is more forgiving in terms of ball height, timing and footwork. Still, every player needs to be able to hit one-handed slice. You cannot compete without this stoke in your arsenal.
 
Despite the fact that serve/volley and chip/charge are not the norm in the modern game of singles competition, every player needs to be able to play both with some element of proficiency. On very fast surfaces where the ball stays low, these are the ideal strategic approaches. But playing the periodic serve/volley or chip/charge point when you are up in a game will keep your opponent honest. Indeed, he/she may be so surprised to see you use it that he/she may not know how to counter... at least initially.
 
Everyone likes to win "free points," as is the case when you ace your opponent. The periodic serve/volley or chip/charge point can win you many "free points" as well.
 
Work on your volleying technique. Learn to chip a return of serve off of both the forehand and backhand sides. Practice serving and volleying. Just because these are not the norm in the modern game does not mean that they don't have their place from time to time.
 
Since the modern game is built upon power, foot speed is critical. In this area, smaller players usually have an advantage over taller players. Really, the sprint is the basis of modern game tennis movement. Bursts of speed followed by drifting back to the center of the court are the mainstay movement of groundstroke tennis.
 
It is my contention that the really tall players on either tour are doomed to shorter careers. I say this because so much of tour tennis is played on hard courts. Hard courts take their toll on every joint in a player's body. This is why you will see senior, recreational players opting for the comfort of clay courts.
 
Taller players are generally not natural sprinters. Shorter players in my experience are. Thus, the smaller player is physically at an advantage to move to shots with less pressure on her/his body, and usually with much greater speed.
 
Regardless of height, the modern player needs to worry more about speed with respect to running than endurance. Distance running has its place when training for the modern game, but bikes, elliptical and even treadmills are better options for endurance training. All of these take time, but are much kinder to one's joints that distance running.
 
Running sprints is the best option for the modern player when it comes to off court training. Some years back, I wrote a column where I described a series of sprints that I call "Saddlebrooks." I named them after the resort/academy in Florida where I learned them. The reader can access this column by going to Mindless Movement.
 
I assure you that Saddlebrooks will greatly improve your speed and movement on the court.
 
So as we (north of the equator) enter February and begin to anticipate outdoor tennis, each of us should try to modify our game play towards the modern game of tennis. I assure the reader that if you can adapt and modify your game and make it more "modern" you will in no time become 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:
 
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.
 
October 12, 2014 Between The Lines: Home Stretch 2014 -- On the Hard Courts of Asia by Ray Bowers.
 
Tennis Warrior: In Tennis, Principle Trumps Emotion by Tom Veneziano.
 
September 2014 Tennis Anyone: Things To Do and Not To Do by John Mills.
 
September 2014 Turbo Tennis: The Only Thing You Have To Fear Is Fear Itself!!! by Ron Waite.
 
September 9, 2014 Between The Lines: Dissecting U.S. Open 2014 by Ray Bowers.
 
August 2014 Wild Cards: The Tennis Round Table: Interviews With Jim Courier, Todd Martin & Mark Philippoussis in Arizona by Vince Barr.
 
May 2014 Wild Cards: Michael Chang Wins Cancer Treatment Centers of America Tennis Challenge 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 9 W&SFG Cincy Mason OH Lindner Family Center Financial Group Masters
Western & Southern Open Cincinnati Tennis Tickets Session 10 W&SFG Cincy Mason OH Lindner Family Center Financial Group Masters
Western & Southern Open Cincinnati Tennis Tickets Session 11 W&SFG Cincy Mason OH Lindner Family Center Financial Group Masters
Western & Southern Open Cincinnati Tennis Tickets Session 12 W&SFG Cincy Mason OH Lindner Family Center Financial Group Masters

  Featured Tickets:
US Open Tennis Tickets Session 16 Fourth Round New York City NYC NY Flushing Meadows Corona
US Open Tennis Tickets Session 15 Fourth Round New York City NYC NY Flushing Meadows Corona
US Open Tennis Tickets Session 14 Men's Third Round Women's Fourth Round New York City NYC NY Flushing Meadows Corona
US Open Tennis Tickets Session 13 Men's Third Round Women's Fourth Round New York City NYC NY Flushing Meadows Corona
US Open Tennis Tickets Session 12 Third Round New York City NYC NY Flushing Meadows Corona

  Featured Tickets:
Sony Open Tennis Session 9 Tickets Miami Men's Singles 2nd Round Women's Singles 3rd Round Key Biscayne FL Crandon Park Center
Sony Open Tennis Session 10 Tickets Miami Men's Singles 2nd Round Women's Singles 3rd Round Key Biscayne FL Crandon Park Center
Sony Open Tennis Session 11 Tickets Miami Men's & Women's Singles 3rd Round Key Biscayne FL Crandon Park Center
Sony Open Tennis Session 12 Tickets Miami Men's & Women's Singles 3rd Round Key Biscayne FL Crandon Park Center

  Featured Tickets:
Sony Open Tennis Session 17 Tickets Miami Men's & Women's Singles & Doubles Quarterfinals Key Biscayne FL Crandon Park Center
Sony Open Tennis Session 18 Tickets Miami Men's & Women's Singles & Doubles Quarterfinals Key Biscayne FL Crandon Park Center
Sony Open Tennis Session 19 Tickets Miami Women's Semifinals Men's Singles Quarterfinals Men's Doubles Semifinals Key Biscayne FL Crandon Park Center
Sony Open Tennis Session 20 Tickets Miami Women's Semifinals Men's Singles Quarterfinals Men's Doubles Semifinals Key Biscayne FL Crandon Park 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