- 9 year old Matthew has come to 2 Tennis camps with his schoolfriend Jadyn twice. The first time he attended, I worked a fair bit on correcting his footwork and swings. The second time, a term later, Matthew looks quite good when he swings and hits the ball, but he rarely hits the ball where he aims, and he has a hard time getting any topspin on both his Forehand and Backhand. In matches, Matthew can’t compete with Jadyn or Hassan who are both 9 and have been taught Tennis Blast’s footwork and stroke methods. The first reason why he loses, is because his footwork is out of alignment by 30-50 %; he steps forward only partially into the ball almost 45-90 degrees away from where he should. The 2nd reason why his strokes are inaccurate is that his swing lines don’t follow the direction he is aiming because Matthew’s down-the-line and inside out (off side as they say in cricket) swings don’t follow the line of direction that he is aiming for. This bias towards hitting cross court is common.
- Andrew is a lawyer who has played Tennis for 40 years and learned his style in the 1970s. I worked very hard on his Forehand for a few months. Like many people who were taught Tennis in this era, Andrew’s Forehand would have no control and would go up and if hit hard, often hit the back fence. To fix this, we (1) showed him Tennis Blast’s footwork for hitting strokes in different areas of the court and (2) the new style Forehand grips. Andrew improved his understanding and his control of his Forehand and learned how to generate topspin. Andrew learned how to pivot, spin and rotate his hips, trunk and shoulders and how to hit topspin and down-the-line and inside out with accuracy.
- In conclusion, modern footwork and modern grips, sing shapes and swing lines and the use of topspin are key technologies players of any age and standard must learn to reach their full potential as a player. Sound technique will ensure that the more a person players, the better they will play, and that they’re strokes will be efficient.
It takes a lot more work, time and skill to fix poor technique than teach it when there are no bad habits or faults. To acquire good stroke and footwork technique, it is important to study both areas scientifically.
Efficient strokes have the following advantages
- Accuracy and power
- Flow and consistency
- Conservation of energy and injury prevention
- Strokes that look stylish, smooth and co-ordinated.
See New York Times about David Bailey and his study of Federer’s footwork here
Buy our Get Fit With Tennis App for the footwork and the fitness that underlies it.