How and Where to Hit Tennis Balls
By Gavin Dye
How to hit tennis balls it is described in tennis as 'technique'
Technique is learnt so you will be better in a match.
The first thing you will need in a match is to get the ball over the net and into the court.
The following basic advice will help you get the ball over and in when you are hitting forehands and backhands - otherwise known as ground strokes.
1. Hold the racket in a way that is comfortable for you. On the forehand, a good way is to hold it with the palm behind the handle (imagine you were hitting the ball with your palm, then put the racket there).
On the backhand, you can use two hands or one hand. If you use two hands, probably best to have your dominant hand at the bottom and your supporting hand just above it on the handle, though not overlapping.
2. Watch the flight of the ball. Move to where it will be after it has bounced and after it has stopped rising. Reading the flight path of the ball is vital to move to the right place. ...The right place involves the following...
3. Stance - for beginners on the forehand and backhand, sideways on is good enough.........tennis is a moving game so try to get your shoulders sideways to the ball, even if you can't get your feet sorted out!
4. Contact point - try to hit the ball ...
a) comfortably at the side of your body,
b) slightly in front of your body
c) between waist and shoulder high
5. Swing the racket at the ball .........from low along to high...make sure the strings are pointing where you want the ball to go as you swing - it is a bat and ball game, so use the bat to direct the ball!
To serve, the following advice is the basic stuff:
- Stand sideways on to the net.
- Throw the ball into the air so that it hangs nicely in the area where you want to contact the ball (see below for where that is!). The throw-up is also called the 'placement' coz that's what it should really be.
- The action of hitting the ball should be very much like a throw.
- Try to contact the ball in the middle of your throwing action at full stretch, slightly in front of you, and above your hitting shoulder. This sounds easy! Trouble is you can't do it if you've just thrown.... or even placed (!) the ball backwards and three feet away!
If you get to the net, volleys are without hitting the ball, and the action should be a simple blocking action. Because you are at the net, you can use the power.
Where to hit it
A 'tactic' is a plan to win the point.
There are five basic tactics.
First is to keep the ball in play - by getting the ball over the net into court. If your opponent can't do this and you can...you will win. If they can though...
.... Try to make your opponent move in order to hit the ball. Try to get them off balance or at least hitting on the move and test their skill on the move.
Whilst doing this...you will be better placed to hit each ball if you maintain a good position on the court before and after each shot. Be like a goalie defending the gaps - do not get caught out of position to one side of the court or stuck half way between the baseline and the net.
Once you can do the above tactics successfully, try to play to the weakness of your opponent ...this might be their forehand, but is usually their backhand.
Equally, use your own strength/s as much as possible. If you can use your strengths against their weaknesses... would be a fiendish plan to bring off.