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Tennis Warrior
June 2003 Article

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MYTH - You should bend your knees on all of your shots

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Tom Veneziano

TRUTH - Most top players do what is necessary for a particular shot. If the ball is low they bend their knees more, if the ball is higher they do not bend as much. Some players dip the racket head down instead of bending their knees quite as much. Some pros bend more from the waist on certain shots than would be accepted in conventional wisdom. Actually if a top pro were to take a conventional tennis lesson he or she would be completely incorrect in most of his technique because he or she has their own style...NOW, I TELL YOU WHAT - I'M NOT GOING TO TELL THEM...YOU TELL THEM!

Can't you just hear the conventional coach giving a lesson to a top pro? "You know Pete, you have a few problems here. You jump off the ground on most of your shots, you swing upward instead of outward, you hit entirely too much with the open stance, your racket preparation is much too late, you are not staying still and balanced on each shot, you definitely are not staying down through the stroke, you are hitting too many times with your body weight moving backward, your knees are not always bent, your racket head drops below your wrist too many times, and you are rolling your wrist on your groundstrokes just about every time. In short, you are a mess! I think you need about ten hours of lessons a week for the next year to straighten all of this out."


Yes, sometimes you bend your knees and sometimes you do not bend quite as much. Avoid the pitfall of making "bending the knees" a rigid axiom that has to be followed before you can play tennis well. Play relaxed and look like an athlete bending naturally and when necessary.

Personally I rarely tell any of my students to bend their knees. Actually, I believe it has been years since I have uttered the words "bend your knees." I have discovered that in time most players begin bending their knees automatically and naturally without having to mention it. So, I leave them alone and let the natural process teach them when to bend a little and when to bend more. It works!

Think about it. Did you ever approach a low ball when playing tennis and think to yourself, "that ball is REALLY low, I believe I will stand straight up to hit it." Of course not! If you know the ball is low the tendency would be to bend down to reach it. The problem is most players, especially beginners, intermediates, and some advance players do not know the ball is low until they get close to it. As time goes on, as you practice and play, you will recognize that the ball is going to be low ahead of time and begin bending you're knees automatically.

How's that! One less thing to think about. We will have you playing relaxed, automatic, and instinctive tennis in no time.

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This column is copyrighted by Tom Veneziano, all rights reserved.

Tom is a tennis pro teaching at the Piney Point Racquet Club in Houston, Texas. Tom has taught thousands of players to think like a pro with his Tennis Warrior System.


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