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Tennis Anyone
February 2006 Article

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Have More Fun at the Net

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John Mills, USPTA

In order to have more fun at the net, I give my students names for all their shots:

  • When you are getting attacked with hard balls while playing at the net, I call that volley a "glove catch." Hold the glove (your racket) still and allow the oncoming ball to hit it. Sometimes I call that shot a "1-count" volley. It feels like you have just 1-second to return it.

  • High volleys, up high out of your comfort zone, I refer to as "2-count" volleys. They make you feel like you have 2-seconds to return them. I teach my students to hit these shots with a straight or stiff arm (no wrist snap). These shots do not quite give you time to hit a full overhead. I also call this a "save." Save the point, typically it might not win the point.

  • Higher balls that hang up for awhile, commonly called an "overhead," I refer to as a 3-count ball or 3-seconds to hit it because you have the extra time to snap your wrist. 3-count balls hit over your backhand side can allow you time to move around and hit it as an overhead.

  • Soft, floating balls coming to you are referred to as a "closing volley" or "finishing volley." Take this ball for the point. Try to make yourself move forward to attack this ball before it falls below your waist. Also, keep moving forward even after the hit. Balls that you receive below your waist, whether they are in the air or right off the bounce, I refer to as "walk the dog." Imaging walking your dog with a short lead. Try not to "jerk" the dog off the ground. Walk to the shot and continue to walk during the hit. This shot will not typically win the point, but will help you continue the point.

  • Balls landing inside the service line that come up to shoulder height, I refer to as a "kill shot." Go for the point. Take a backswing and attack the ball to finish the point.

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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