A Deep, Weighty Issue
A lot of beginner tennis players struggle with making proper contact with the ball on their ground strokes. A good deal of it can be attributed to the fact they are still learning proper footwork. Other issues include getting a handle on their racket’s swing path and post-contact follow through.
But one issue that has to be emphasized is keeping their weight centered and moving it forward through the stroke.
When I rally with my students, I make sure I mix in some easier shots with some deliberately hit deep balls, to see if they can get a grasp on the importance of moving back and then striking forward. The majority of out balls they hit up in the air and/or over the baseline are due to the fact they don’t get back quickly enough, and end up hitting a shot that has traveled too far and outside their ideal strike zone. (Remember, a properly hit ball comes off the racket slightly in front.) They make contact on their heels. All of the desired forward momentum is eaten up by their weight coming up, because they aren’t centered and driving into the shot.
Here’s what I recommend
Work on their recognition of the deep ball. Have them stand at the baseline without their racket and instruct them tell you where your feeds will land by moving to the spot. Have them prepare early by getting back to the proper location on deep balls, so eventually when they have their racket in hand, their weight moves forward and propels them into the shot.
Remind them of the Golden Rule of Tennis: “Get to the ball with your feet before you get there with your racket!”
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