It is important to remember, there is no perfect way to play a tennis stroke, but there are some fundamentals that can improve any tennis player’s game. Here are five important tennis tips:
Get the right forehand grip
Despite often being overlooked, how you grip a tennis racket is one of the most important aspects of the game. The majority of professional players use a grip known as ‘continental’ on their serves and volleys. The simplest way to achieve this grip is to simply pick up the racket and hold it as if your shaking hands, the knuckle of your index finger should be on the top right bevel (angle) of the racket. For groundstrokes however, the most common grip is called ‘semi-western’. Simply move your index finger knuckle round to the bottom right bevel of the racket. The majority of professionals use this grip because it imparts a much greater amount of topspin on the ball, bringing more power and control.
Prepare early for groundstrokes
Once you know where the ball is going to bounce, move yourself into a position where you feel most comfortable playing the shot. The higher you make your backswing, the more power you are likely to generate. However the more complex the swing, the more that can go wrong under pressure, so finding the right balance is key. Try using your other hand to support the racket as you take it back, this will ensure that when you follow through, you will be getting good rotation, which can lead to more power in your strokes.
Keep your head still when playing tennis
If you find yourself mis-hitting shots, try making sure that you are not lifting or moving your head as you play the stroke. Follow the ball onto your racket, and keep your head still until the shot has been played. Making sure you do this will improve your balance and the consistency of your game.
Practice your tennis ball toss
When serving, one of the most common problems for beginners is that they struggle with their ball toss. Getting a bucket of balls and practicing the ball toss, without actually hitting the ball, is a relatively easy way to rectify the problem. The ball should go straight up and come straight down about 18 inches (approx 45 cm) in front of your leading foot. This gives your serve some forward momentum and adds speed to it.
Don’t be hard on yourself during tennis matches
It is very easy to become over critical of your own misses, especially if it’s a shot you would normally make quite comfortably. If you miss an easy shot, just say to yourself “I won’t do that again” and practice the stroke with the correct motion. Even if you miss the exact same shot on the next point, as long as you are keep plugging away with the correct action, it will eventually come good, and you will be a better player for it.