Elbows on Court

 

Perhaps the most important element in the game is to PREPARE

But for sure there can be many ways to turn and get ready

My childhood coach, Blackie Jones (pictured at the left) at Acalanes High School in Lafayette California taught me to line up for the ball by pointing the bones in my forearm PRECISELY at the ball

I now know this method ensured a full and complete turn, but also with the elbow bent and in line with the ball somehow the leverage improved

And for sure more

Now I see the same thing with the bones of the non dominant arm when preparing for a forehand, as well as for accelerating the overhand throw

At your end – consider an experiment with a heightened awareness of your elbows – on the one handed backhand, or on the forehand, or when tinkering with your throw

And even reminisce about one of your earliest coaches.  One of my special students gave me a quote, that as regards Blackie, totally rings true.  “A teacher never knows when their influence ends.”

 

10 Comments

  • Brian Taylor

    Reply Reply September 27, 2019

    That’s a good tip, Jim. I think it would work well with a 2 handed backhand too as we can get a bit lazy with rotation due to the extra strength afforded by using 2 hands.
    It’s consistent with a tip I received as a lad batting in cricket (I know you don’t play the game in the US) but I was told point my leading elbow at the ball being bowled. It worked there, too.

    • Jim McLennan

      Reply Reply September 27, 2019

      Brian – I do not know cricket but for sure like your reference – thanks mate – Jim

  • Ken

    Reply Reply September 27, 2019

    Acalanes is still produces high quality players on its tennis team so now I see the heritage. It’s my second year helping out with the women’s team at Las Lomas: Besides the correct grip for serve, I tried to tell them to “lead with the elbow” and go for fluidity rather than power. That is, a player get the perfect motion when I suggests serving at only 25% power… but the moment player trying to hit harder, muscles get tense and elbow no longer bends.

    • Jim McLennan

      Reply Reply September 27, 2019

      Ken – thanks for the note, I was there in the mid 1960’s (phew a long time ago) – and I so like you working with rhythm on the serve – somehow that is not commonly taught – nice work – Jim

  • peter cheng

    Reply Reply September 27, 2019

    Great insight!

  • OLIVER

    Reply Reply September 27, 2019

    Thanks a lot Jim I am regarding only your advises, as the rest on internet has no value. Continue please. I would be glad if you can advise all the older players over 65 how to move on the court and spare their knees better. I ammore thinking on hobby tennis players not these very competitives amateuur players who then at 65 cannot play at all… Thanks and regards OLIVER

    • Jim McLennan

      Reply Reply September 27, 2019

      Oliver – I will work on that topic – the short answer is the concept of playing nearly the entire game in the mid court to reduce movement, and the ability to play with finesse using angles drop shots and more – traditional rallying lengthens the points, also at any age I think the serve can be improved by experimenting with the whip – best Jim

  • Gordon Ripley

    Reply Reply September 27, 2019

    Jim, once again sage advice and comment from a man who knows exactly what he’s talking about. Thank you. Gordon.

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