August 11, 2017
Tennis can get very complicated with the correct technique and footwork to make the ball go where it should. If you've had a lesson before, I'm sure there was a time of being overwhelmed with the concepts that were being taught to you. Although this can be important with specific elements to your game, trying a more broad approach may help you achieve more with your form. Let's take a look at some examples of this.
Narrow Your Vision.
When I started teaching myself tennis, I didn't know what the word "technique" really was. I just looked at the results of when I hit the ball and proceeded from there. For example, if I was hitting the ball in the net, I would try to get so low that I could see the bottom of the ball before I would swing. This was the only thing I focused on until I saw improvement. By adjusting your mindset to one thing when working on your game, you may find it easier to get the results you are looking for. Another example of this is toover correct your shots. When I'm teaching a lesson and want the player to step into the ball and follow through with an aggressive swing, I don't tell them this. That's a lot of moving parts to put into play. Rather I will say "aim for the back fence" and they proceed to hit a nice, deep ball into the court. Sometimes it just takes you to overcompensate to find your sweet spot of your swing.
Point of Contact
To make things even more simple when you go out hitting, think about the most important part of the swing: point of contact. No matter how "pretty" your strokes are, if you are not hitting the middle of the ball with your racquet at an angle that is perpendicular to the ground, you most likely will miss your target. How you get to that point of contact creates the spin (if any) that will be placed on the ball. Although you can't see it from the picture below from Nadal's forehand, his racquet head was below the plane of the ball, allowing him to hit with a lot of spin. The next time you go out hitting with a friend, pay attention to the spin and trajectory of your ball. The trajectory of the ball will give you plenty of feedback on whether you are hitting the center of the ball with the correct angle and the spin of the ball will give you feedback on where your racquet was right before contact.
I want to take a moment to mention that it isn't quite this simple for high level hitting. There are many other factors in play here, including how hard you hit the ball and the grip you use. I hit a lot of spin so my racquet head on contact is slightly closed most of the time but this is a great start for you to have that conversation with yourself on how well you're hitting the ball.
This idea will hopefully narrow your focus to help you improve your game without all the surplus of information that can often undermine your goal of improving your technique. For more information on this topic, check out the video below: