What’s Up With The Toss?

For sure the game has changed, and will keep changing The same goes for the toss Years ago on Tennis Channel there was a clip of a doubles exhibition – with Rod Laver, Arthur Ashe, Bjorn Borg and Ilie Nastase. Just an exhibition, but I remember thinking they all had the same serve – rhythmic,…

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Second Serve – The Glancing Blow

There is a lot here Rod Laver,”You are only as good as your second serve.” Pete Sampras about his 7 Wkmbledon titles, “I had the best second serve in the game.” Whenever possible  the first and second serve deliveries should be similar And certainly when watching Federer, the first and second delivery appear remarkably similar…

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Roger Federer – Sequential Photos

The following sequence is excellent – with very basic elements highlighted Within the 7 images please note the following He tosses with his weight on the back foot, his tossing arm is parallel to the baseline His body weight is centered as he extends his tossing arm but his right hip is lower He accelerates up…

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Mixing Things Up – Changing Length Speed and Spin

The drop shot Federer disdained the drop shot in his early years. But Roger believes it helped him capture the French Open in 2009 when opponents were often positioned deep to run down his shots At your end, if you are unable to hit through or around your opponent, or you are simply playing one…

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(Re) Building the Serve

Balance Rhythm and Efficiency – your keys to an Effortless Service Delivery The following materials are suitable for juniors and adults The primary target are those who are young and developing service habits, or those who are older and are willing to try something different I will be using Roger Federer and Serena Williams as…

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Transitioning to the Net

The most difficult aspect of the game, may be the ability to play in “open” areas Meaning, closed skills are repetitive – the serve, bowling, movements that are repeatedly similar Open skills are totally random, each event may be different from the previous – and for sure when learning how to follow your shot to…

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Tennis on the Theory of Golf – Explore with an Open Mind

Your back knee – as in, “the knee bones connected to the hip bone” In golf, as you finish your swing, you are able to easily walk down the fairway Similarly, Tom Stow (who taught the game based on the form of a 3/4 nine iron) trained that on the follow thru if you so…

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The Dog Wagging Its Tail

In this photo Djokovic demonstrates perfect posture, and how his body (dog) has truly pulled the arm and racquet (tail.) So how to synchronize the arm and body? Getting the racquet back is not the issue, but rather the rhythm of the racket back and the rotation of the body. Do you take the racquet…

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Sidespin – means hitting the side of the ball

The following is meant to be visual, with very few words about how to serve, which grip to use, or really anything else. I am choking up on the racquet so that positions of the butt-cap highlight various moments in the action. I am demonstrating with a slow swing, the toss is exaggerated well to…

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A Teacher Never Knows …

How I got here At 11 years old I would bicycle to Acalanes High School, sit in the shade amidst the trees, and watch Blackie Jones give lessons.  He was firm, he was gruff, but equally he loved the game and his students.  His lessons were interspersed with questions to see if the student was…

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This and That – Looking back

We are, as likely are you, sheltering in place. Quite a bit of time for me to revisit 10 years of work on this site, and the previous 20 years of work on TennisOne. One of the teaching notes I have been given reads, “A good teacher tells you where to look but not what…

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Loosening the Fingers – think Quantum

In physics, a quantum is the minimum amount of any physical entity involved in an interaction 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.…

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Centering the Opponent- Deep and Down the Middle

Jack Kramer (hopefully you have one of the old Wilson Kramer autograph wooden frames) played deep and down the middle when in a rally.  Note, with his serve and volley game, rallies were less frequent, but if he was stuck in a neutral position, he favored deep and down the middle. Deep and down the…

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Jo-Wilfried Tsonga – Contact in Front

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga – from an excellent camera angle One of our best coaches once described simply 4 keys to hitting the ball Early preparation Quick light steps Contact in front Finish on balance And though this is an intentional oversimplification – use your eyes to capture how Tsonga seems to dance to the ball, make…

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Squaring the Face on the Volley

The keys to improve your volley include Simplify the preparation – on the first move the strings must face the ball Use a brief but solid blocking action Finish with the racquet face in an identical alignment – means no wrist actio Certainly there are exceptions that vary with the nature of the incoming ball…

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Placing the Toss

For me, the phrase “place the toss” describes accuracy But more than that, this dialogue is about whether you swing at the toss, or toss the ball into the swing. (This was one of Blackie Jones’on court lessons) Your answer will always be influenced by the height of your toss Use the repetitive videos to…

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Elbows on the Serve

The following is yet another attempt to “keep it simple” Notice the following: The toss appears to PEAK within the contact area – which years ago was the norm The tossing arm begins parallel with the baseline As he turns away his elbow is bent and well “back” As he unwinds the elbow travels up…

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Is there TOO MUCH information?

The short answer is YES The longer answer may lead you yo examine (or reexamine) your point of view. Whether discussing tactics, footwork, ball striking, the mental game, and more – there are myriad online presentations. A new student/friend aptly described, “It is so hard to know where to start” And when she and I…

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One Handed Topspin Backhand

Dominic Thiem plays Stefanos Tsitsipas in the ATP World Finals on Sunday We will enjoy a demonstration of full throated one handed topspin backhands Heavy crosscourt exchanges And the match may revolve around the boldness and precision when either threads the needle up the line Both have deadly forehands  – but the backhand exchanges will…

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First Things First – Preparation

What is your first move when you read the incoming ball? Move your feet? Racquet back? How soon? When in relation to the bounce of the incoming ball? For Tom Stow, the first move may have been the most important aspect of the shot. He said, “If it starts correctly, and finished correctly, probably it…

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Agility – Hsieh Su-wei

Agility – the ability to move quickly and easily Perhaps we overlook this basic training approach – nothing about force, power or even strength Just about posture – turning hips and shoulders to the ball as the leading foot drops just a bit and preparing the racquet when about to hit instead of running with…

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The Badminton Clear (from the archives) to Unscrew the Lightbulb

From the archives (yes I do look younger) – and as usual this is about hitting up instead of forward or down on the serve! Badminton – Many parallels exist between the badminton overhead clear and the up and out snap on the serve. And I have found that experienced badminton players ALWAYS serve extremely…

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Footwork Secrets -and the “Crazy Rich Asians” by Jon M Chu

There is a story here. Some many years ago a talented high school senior filmed “The Secrets of World Class Footwork” (sowcf) He had been a tennis student – and this was Jon M Chu If you have seen Crazy Rich Asians you may know of him, of his vision, his talent – and for…

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ETI 051 | Reality Therapy – Facing the Truth on Court

Winning matches will not always lead you to work on your “weak spots” But for sure, there is stark reality if those same weak spots cost you the match. And, in those instances, are you able to go back to the practice court with renewed focus?

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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…

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