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.

Once you see whether the incoming ball is a forehand or backhand, turn to the side and get onto the back foot.  And if you need to move to the ball, move in twos so that you always arrive on the back foot.

Stepping in, shifting your weight, getting the body involved, this all begins with your weight on the back foot as you wait for the incoming ball.

34 Comments

  • Danny Cummings

    Reply Reply June 1, 2012

    Dear Jim,

    Another brilliant piece of advice.
    I have already learned so much from you with the products that I have acquired.
    You have a refreshing style in the way in which you communicate your ideas etc.

    Thanks

    DC (UK)

  • tom

    Reply Reply May 31, 2012

    are there any drills that help pratice foot work,balance,timming etc to the ball…just learning basic skills to get proper distance,studder steps weight transfer

  • Dino

    Reply Reply May 31, 2012

    Jim,
    Excellent footwork; very fluid.
    I will try to practice the “move in two” (two steps) with my inside out forehand.
    I would like to view your footwork for a run around forehand on one of your future videos.
    As usual, thanks again for great instructions and I always incorporate them with my games.
    .

    Dino

  • harry bogorad

    Reply Reply May 31, 2012

    Great podcast. Weighting and other preparation thoughts seem to all happen if one turns to either forehand or backhand side while KEEPING BOTH HANDS ON THE RACQUET.

  • Jerome

    Reply Reply May 30, 2012

    Nice podcast, Jim. Though I think that Nadal, for me the best clay court player of all time, is so strong for another reason than his weight shift…

    My impression is that most players – including myself, including a certain mr. Federer – are indeed step-wait-hit players. Just as you advise.

    Nadal is a step-step-hit player. He only puts his weight down (and up again!) at the moment he hits the ball. That doesn’t mean he takes more steps than Federer per se, but he times it so that the last stip flows into the hit, immediately. A bit like Connors in his heydays… but then a little better because Nadal hit wit much more spin, speed and variation.

    I am not saying everybody should do it. I don’t think everybody can do it. But I marvel at it every time I see Nadal play.

  • Michael Greene

    Reply Reply May 30, 2012

    This is ideal information specifically for setting and balancing on red clay. Keep your feet moving and make the short footing adjustments for balance and weight distribution. Can we work on sliding balanced now?

  • Mestengo

    Reply Reply May 30, 2012

    What does any of this have to do with Roddick’s French Open under performance?
    Are you using Andy’s name in place of shouting “fire” to get attention? What’s next starting your email marketing with “I just started playing naked…”?

    Cut down on the soy; your cognitive functioning level will improve.

    • Jim McLennan

      Reply Reply May 30, 2012

      Mestango
      sorry – it may be that Roddick was misqouted – but I could not overlook how his comments were so different from the teachings of Tom Stow – again sorry if you felt the “soy” was too strong
      Jim

  • Pranav

    Reply Reply April 7, 2012

    Dear Jim,

    Your videos and articles are awesome and very helpful! I love them! Awesome-ly written!

    I experience a lot of pain in and around the elbow region of my arm. I play right-handed and a single-handed backhand. I am extremely interested in tennis and have been learning it mostly myself over the last 5 years.
    I was told during a brief tennis camp I attended that my backhand technique was wrong and was corrected. After correction, i don’t have any pain while rallying, but whenever i serve, i get a numbing pain in my arm. I asked the coach at the camp. He says there is nothing wrong with my service technique. I use the platform stance, by the way. I have been doing push-ups of late to increase arm strength. And, i use a Wilson K-Blade Tour.

    What could be happening? What do you suggest i do? Please help….

    Thanks a lot!

    —Pranav (from Chennai, India)

    • Jim McLennan

      Reply Reply April 7, 2012

      Pranav – truly it is impossible for me to suggest anything without seeing your serve – sometimes there is chronic pain in the elbow that occurs from the slightest mishit – other times from an overly tight grip on the racquet especially when serving – consider purchasing a stroke review where you upload something to Youtube and I examine and analyze your serve – the price is very fair
      Jim

  • Rodger Schuester

    Reply Reply March 7, 2012

    Thanks for the timely reminder.

  • Cindy B

    Reply Reply January 6, 2012

    Great tip, but could you explain move in twos?

    • Jim McLennan

      Reply Reply January 6, 2012

      Cindy – that will be one of our next podcasts – and it is also covered in depth within the product Mastering the Ground Game – but the essence is that if on the forehand your first move is a turn with your weight going to the back or right foot – then taking two or four or six steps to the ball means you will arrive with your weight on that back foot – so that you could always step in with the front or left foot
      Jim

  • Gilles (Brussels, Belgium)

    Reply Reply December 3, 2011

    Ha ha ! Jim,

    Spot on. I went on practicing. The result makes me smile and feel serene.

    Respect …

    Gilles

    • Jim McLennan

      Reply Reply December 3, 2011

      Giles – I got your note with my morning coffee – and I am smiling as well
      Jim

  • Ghobad

    Reply Reply October 23, 2011

    Jim,
    I tried waiting & weighting this morning, being prepared on the back foot to return the ball. It was amazing.
    Thanks,
    Ghobad

    • Jim McLennan

      Reply Reply October 23, 2011

      Ghobad – I got this from Tom Stow – it was he that was amazing – but so was the feeling
      thanks
      Jim

  • jesty salvo

    Reply Reply October 21, 2011

    Jim,
    Been a teaching pro since ’79-PTR.
    I have to say, you are one of the best in communicating the essence of our game.
    Kudos.
    Jesty

  • ray

    Reply Reply October 16, 2011

    is there any reason this is showing up on FB but not on itunes podcast?

  • Ed

    Reply Reply October 14, 2011

    Great tip, this worked for me as I hit mostly of my forehands on a semi closed stance and my backhand on a semi open stance, this weight transfer technique sure helped me, but need more practice on this.

  • Chavdar

    Reply Reply October 13, 2011

    Hi Jim,

    Didn’t want to offend you by the “all you pros”.

    I was just making a point.

    And as much as you have the right to regard yourself as different and better,
    I have the right to doubt what I see on the Internet that is offered as the ultimate instruction.
    I am an electronics engineer with quite an experience in mechanics and quite some in bio-mechanics. Logical thinking is what I am pro in.
    That is why I have the right of doubt.

    I apologize if I unintentionally offended you.

    As to your work, in most cases it’s excellent.

    After watching your latest podcast I downloaded everything by you that was available on YouTube .
    Though those are tips, they work, they are practical and resulted from years of experience..
    I went to court this afternoon and was able to hit some of my best kickers just having in mind
    what you taught about the serve.
    Thank you.

    I think there is no need to get angry on somewhat not so flattering comment by one of your regular readers and a devoted tennis fan.
    We love the same game: it is your business but it is also my passion.
    By the way, I am your age and have been playing tennis for more than 30 years.
    So I know quite a bit about the game but respect and listen to guys like you that make their living
    teaching the game.

    So, thanks once again.

    Warm regards,
    Chavdar

  • gabor

    Reply Reply October 13, 2011

    Excellently practical and useful. Brings the point home. Just wish, you , or a student of yours would do a bit more actual demonstration with the ball, perhaps full court.

    • Jim McLennan

      Reply Reply October 13, 2011

      Gabor – thanks for the note and we will do more demonstration – sometimes it doesnt fit as well on podcasts but I will make it work
      Jim

  • Irwin Flink

    Reply Reply October 13, 2011

    Great point. As you have stressed, ANTICIPATION, PREPARATION (weighted & waiting)), and BALANCE are the most important ingredients of the game. Thanks again for your insights. Irwin

  • Juan

    Reply Reply October 13, 2011

    Jim,

    Thanks for sharing those wonderful tips, I find myself doing the “one, two and a half and three” so I can stay focused and find my rithm when I play tennis. As usual you are right on the money. I remember a tip you shared before on waiting for the ball, and I just do that, wait and wait and wait, balanced, and my goodness what an improvement! Thanks again! -Juan-

  • Dario

    Reply Reply October 13, 2011

    Very interesting theme…. I have used this secret all the time an works very well when I’m hitting on the drive. But when I hit backhand (I’m a one-backhanded player) I have the tendency to keep the weight on the back leg and keep this position all the time, thus the ball always goes high and weak. How to solve that problem? I hear suggetions.

    • Jim McLennan

      Reply Reply October 13, 2011

      Dario – start to practice and develop a cross court topspin backhand – and that shot requires you play the ball early and out in front – and over time when you get better at this your will be hitting less and less off your back foot
      Jim

  • Chavdar

    Reply Reply October 13, 2011

    Hi Jim,

    I feel that you’re right again.

    But if you wait, you stop the motion, or the “swing”. So you stop and then again accelerate.

    Other coaches say that is to be avoided by all means and that the swing and the shot itself should be executed in one smooth motion.

    This is just another example of directly contradicting instructions that mix up our amateur’s mind. I can give many other examples.

    Sometimes you pro guys pick up an individual characteristic of a certain player and develop a theory out of it. And that doesn’t help either.

    Going back to your podcast, what you say about the weight transfer is fundamental for may be 90 % of the shots in tennis. And may be with practice the shot becomes apparently a single smooth motion, still containing the “wait” element. This is how I see it.

    What do you think?

    Thank you and all the best!

    Chavdar

    • Jim McLennan

      Reply Reply October 13, 2011

      Chavdar – we may be picking apart too many details, yes the swing is in one smooth motion, but it does begin with the weight back – and if you please do not put me in the category with “all you pros” – I like to think of myself as far different from most of those in my profession
      best
      Jim

  • john

    Reply Reply October 12, 2011

    As always, simple, precise, but so true….good stuff

  • ricardo

    Reply Reply October 12, 2011

    Understood, but…it looks more difficult to run forward or backward to adjust your postion once you are already in such an unusual side position to move your body, fast, quick and accurate.
    Is clear the benefits to charge the weight at the moment of hitting… in the front leg but to adjust your position doesn´t look so easy, lets work and later I will resend my comments
    Thanks

    • Jim McLennan

      Reply Reply October 12, 2011

      Ricardo – truly many suggest this is difficult, but in another vein it is so basic that you should if not must simply find a way to make it work – and it might be that you are backing up too much – for Agassi did it this way and hugged the baseline throughout
      Jim

Leave A Response

* Denotes Required Field