ETI 047 | Will Staying Sideways help you hit up on the serve?

The common problem I see at the club, as well as on television, is where the server flexes at the waist at the hit – more or less jackknifing to create a little more ball speed.

And this action creates both forward and downward forces – and is generally associated with netted serves.

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ETI 043 | Point of Contact Area of Contact

Ball control – ours is a game of accuracy, of consistency, but equally it is a game of timing for the opponent will send us shots of varying spin, speed, length and difficulty. Timing describes the relation between the incoming ball and the swinging racquet – and certainly the entire game revolves around the moment…

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ETI 042 | Measure Twice Cut Once

https://dg2e30wx7kvei.cloudfront.net/eti_podcast/ETI_042_Measure_Twice_Cut_Once.mp4 The carpenter measures twice to cut once, to make sure the cut is accurate, for if too much is cut off that mistake cannot be undone. In tennis consider measuring as preparing first to the side for the incoming ball, but then to measure precisely the height of the backswing such that the racquet…

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ETI 041 | Quantum Tennis/Golf

Many interesting parallels have been drawn between the tennis serve and the golf swing. Once the tennis player (or golfer) gets the feel for the mechanical elements of the serve (or golf swing) then rhythm becomes the overriding issue. Does the swing build smoothly and gracefully? Is there economy of effort? Can the server (golfer) swing easily yet hit hard? Are the body parts coordinated so that the force from the legs moves to the hips, and then to the torso, and then to the shoulder, then the arm, then the forearm, then the hand, and finally the fingers?

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Mac the Knife – Wall to the Ball – Part 2

John McEnroe – 78 atp doubles titles, and 77 tap singles titles – could this record be greater than any accumulation of doubles titles only (the Brian Brothers) or singles titles (Federer, Sampras, Nadal) But through it all there was and is a simplicity to McEnroe’s game – highlighted, as usual, with his on court…

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Deconstructing the Volley – Mac the Knife – Part 1

John McEnroe – 78 ATP doubles titles, and 77 ATP singles titles – could this record be greater than any accumulation of doubles titles only (the Brian Brothers) or singles titles (Federer, Sampras, Nadal …) But through it all there was and is a simplicity to McEnroe’s game – highlighted, as usual, with his on…

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ETI 038 | Dead Hands

The 3 R’s of tennis – ready, read (where the ball is going) react!

As to your reaction – what precisely is your first move? What moves first, what initiates your preparation?

Really an important question.

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ETI 035 | The Dead Spot on the Racquet Face

Swing path, type of spin, power, 3d playback (with Zepp) but perhaps the most interesting as well as the most useful is the data that shows where you make contact on the racquet face.

And before going further, one of the most important (IF NOT THE MOST IMPORTANT) skills in the game of tennis is concentration, focus, and closely and continually watching the ball.

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ETI 033 | Throwing vs. the Pendulum

Consider the elements in a strong and fluid overhand throw – and how the actions of the hand and elbow can be used or even copied in the modern forehand as well as certainly the serve.

Once when racquets were heavy and wooden, we could see (and still see now and then) a type of pendulum swing – back and forth with little whip or acceleration. Interestingly McEnroe still uses such a forehand to truly devastating effect.

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ETI 030 | Forward Spin

Squaring up – Hitting the ball true – precise contact on the back of the ball.

We all know about topspin – but have you ever tried to strike the ball with true topspin – where the ball rolls forward – precisely forward?

The following drop hit drill will improve your time spent practicing on court – and help you with your forehand and or your backhand.

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ETI 025 | Drop Shot – playing North to South

Play the ball to the open court. Run your opponent. Hit it where they “ain’t” (sorry).

Too often we focus on moving the ball east and west, meaning from side to side. Another option, in some instances a better option, is to play the ball deep and short, very deep and very short. Think of this as moving the ball north and south.

Drop shots will do the trick. Backspin, finesse, stroking from high to low with an open racquet face. But, and this is most important, always meet this ball on the rise, from inside the baseline.

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ETI 023 | Borrowing Pace – Tennis Ju-jitsu

Tennis ju-jitsu. Blocking, borrowing, deflecting the ball, playing with angles and change of pace.

The game is not always about power and winners. Just as easily the game can become one of rebounding the ball, using the opponent’s force and incoming shot to create our own.

This style, ju-jitsu if you will, comes from shorter strokes, firmer grips at contact, and a willingness to look for angles, dinks, drops and more.

McEnroe was the unquestioned master of this – try it out for yourself.

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ETI 021 | Deep and Up the Middle

Time and Angle.  Tactics – plain and simple.

If you move the opponent well behind the baseline – you will have more time to respond, and their angle of play becomes smaller.

If that opponent is as deep but in one corner or the other, their angle remains the same but their cross court shot will cross the sideline at a steeper angle.

The famous Jack Kramer was known to play the ball deep and up the middle, whenever he had not gained control of the point with his serve or volley.

The same will work for you.

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Drop Hit One Handed Backhands – a hidden practice gem!!

Start a rally; deliver a ball to the adjacent court when responding to “ball please.” In nearly every instance the swing is a drop hit forehand. Sometimes those forehands are deliberate and practiced (that is good). Other times those forehands are wristy, in poor form, somehow not acknowledged as genuine practice opportunities. Truly – practice…

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ETI 019 | Fire the Extensors

Many elements are combined to produce the serve – and one of the secrets is to have all the elements firing in the appropriate sequence.

Timing – we have all felt the effortless hits and unfortunately we all have at one time or another, felt the effortful hits.

One of the most important sequence during the serve occurs with regard to the racquet drop and the knee bend.

In general, on the serve, one must fire in quick sequence large muscles first leading to smaller and then smaller muscles, culminating in a whip at the top of the swing.

As regards the racquet drop and knee bend, the best one I heard on this was from Vic Braden, who said, “Fire the extensors baby!”

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ETI 018 | The Heavy Ball

One of the most common phrases in tennis today is ‘hit a heavy ball’. So what is a heavy ball?

The incoming shot “feels heavy” when that shot has a lot of momentum.

Generally heavy shots are produced with a combination of racquet speed as well as body weight “against the ball.”

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SloMo Analysis of Sam Stosur’s Kick Serve

I had a chance to be courtside at a WTA tournament in Stanford California, marveling at as well as filming  Sam’s incredible serve. With an impressive run at Roland Garros to reach the finals in 2010 and her US Open title in 2011 over Serena Williams, Sam Stosur has played at the highest level of…

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ETI 010 | The Pete Sampras Snap

At the net put your forearm at net level and parallel to the net strap, with the racquet head at right angles to your forearm.

Now practice quickly turning your hand and wrist such that the racquet head snaps forcefully against the net strap.

Take your time, keep experimenting – and once this feels somewhat natural – toss up a few (rather than tossing down a few) and see how it feels on the serve.

You may be pleasantly surprised!

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ETI 009 | Waiting and Weighting

If you want to hit the ball with less effort and more power, take a page from the baseball batter or the boxer – both wait with their body weight on the back foot before swinging the bat or delivering a punch.

Too often players pay too much attention to grips, swings, and spin without ever mastering their balance. And truly even the pitcher puts their back foot on the pitching rubber before hurling the pitch.

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ETI 007 | The top of the bounce

Watch the professional players who are adept at moving inside the baseline to finish the point. They will invariably make contact when the ball is well above the net, if not the absolute apex of the bounce.

And at this height (which is nearly always above the level of the net) the net is less an obstacle. In fact, in many instances it appears the stroke and follow through are almost level if not slightly down, that is they are driving the ball over the net but down and into the court.

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ETI 006 | Looking through the net

Tennis is a game of “UP.”

Suzanne Lenglen, French world champion in the 1920’s, was trained by her father. And the story goes that they would have a tennis outing to a park in Paris, but, and this is an important but – they would play as long as she did not hit a single ball into the net. And the practice stopped (dead in its tracks) with her first netted error. Long, or wide and they continued, but the net was the obstacle to be avoided at all costs.

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ETI 005 | Holding your finish

Holding your finish for just a moment clarifies your balance as well as the quality of your stroke and follow thru.

Further, this method has been used by so many famous coaches – Tom Stow, Robert Lansdorp and more. It will help you as well.

Stow remarked that if the stroke started correctly (balanced on the back foot with a compact but loose preparation) and finished correctly (weight shifted forward and arm well extended toward the target) then everything between the start and finish – meaning contact – would be just fine.

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ETI 003 | Corkscrewing – using your legs for topspin and power

Push on the ground and the ground pushes back. This is somewhat a common phrase from mechanics and physics, but it dos take some explaining. Meaning if you were on thin ice and pushed on the ground, it would not push back but rather you would break through the ice.

Said another way, if you are on a bathroom scale and you drop and suddenly land you will be lighter when dropping but heavier when you land. And this down and up action adds to the power of the upward drive.

So when using the ground to create more topspin and more power, the key is how you push on the ground, and whether you can create an upward rotational movement.

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