Helpful Hints from the Coach

      1. The most important thing to remember in tennis is to “look at the ball”: Point of contact concentration. (There comes a time when in order to win you must forget about how you’re hitting and concen- trate on where you’re hitting. Don’t work on strokes when playing an important match. Concentrate on point of contact and where to hit. You have to assume your strokes are right. “You can’t hit well when thinking about how to hit.”

2. Correct one error at a time. Don’t ball up your mind trying to do too many things at once.

3. Move in as far as you can on volleys. If you can get on top of the net – be there. Don’t hit it up if you can take one quick step in and hit it down.

4. Volley low balls deep. Angle high volleys.

5. When playing at the net and on the right hand side, use a continental grip . Many good players volley on both sides with a continental grip.

6. Use your left hand to adjust your grip from forehand to backhand. It is good insurance.

7. Don’t cut your shots too fine. This is to say don’t try to hit within 6 inches of the line when a ball inside 3 feet will do. Don’t make it any harder than you have to. Many players do all the work to get the set up shot and then blow the shot by trying to hit a great shot. Finish the point. Put the cap on it. “Good players, don’t miss easy shots.” Short overheads are the most common spot for this error.

8. You can work on your weaknesses by forcing your self to execute them in play – practice situations. For example, if your second serve is weak, play your practice matches with one serve only. Or, if your patience and consistency is hurting, force your self to practice with- out coming to the net. For backhand problems – avoid running around it in practice. Force yourself to execute your weakness.

9. If a player is a weak volleyer, yet strong baseliner you can often draw him in by hitting short balls. Probably his backhand approach will be weak. Hit a short ball, to his backhand; his weak backhand approach might give you an easy pass.

10. Basically a player has to decide whether he is going to play offensively or defensively. Many college players can be beaten simply by keeping it back in, or “skyballing” them to death. Develop a game suited to your ability. Don’t try to do things you can’t do percentage-wise. Then add new wrinkles when you’ve mastered your play.

11. Often you can open the way to a weakness by hitting to a strength. For example, a player with a weak backhand will often run around it. If he overplays the forehand hit it sharply to his forehand for a placement, or perhaps to move him wide to the forehand, thus forcing him to hit a backhand on the second return.

12. Often a player’s apparent strength is actually his weakness. For example, many players have a weak looking but steady deep backhand; and, while their forehand is well paced and looks good, is actually a poor percentage shot because the player tries to do too much with it.

13. One strategy that works well often, particularly against slow, lazy opponents, is the “drop-shot and lob” strategy. Drop shot them and when they lope up to the net simply lob over their heads. Do over and over again.

14. “Never change a winning play – always change a losing plan.”

15. Pressure pays off. Some players can’t stand it. It takes a lot of ability to apply constant pressure but it pays big dividends. Take the ball on the rise to apply pressure. Move in and take the court away from him.

16. Some players employ the “center theory” against certain players. If you approach down the center you eliminate passing angle. This often works against weak but accurate angle hitters. Some slow court players hit well on the run but can’t get anything on a ball hit straight at them. Players with a great return of serve should often be served at “down the center.”

17. One of the most difficult shots to get any pace on is a high or medium lofted backhand that is deep. Matches have been won in this one strategy. The best place to return a high backhand is to a high backhand. Some big hitters are completely frustrated by this simple shot.

18. Against net rushers, low chips with angle often frustrate them. If you can chip it low they often have to volley up and it opens them for an easy pass.

19. High spin serves at the backhand are often effective (Roswell vs. Roche, U. S. Open 1970)

20. Welby Van Horn – Balance is the clue to tennis (a)You have to know how to hit it (b)You have to get to it so you can hit the way you know.

21. It might be good to approach on your short forehands only. If your backhand approach is weak, crosscourt it to eliminate angled shots as you back up.

22. Cross courts get you out of trouble.

23. Approach down the line; Approach crosscourt at obviously weak passing shots.

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