Swish, squeak, thwack…. Ahhh the sweet, sweet sounds of summer. Wait, no, the sweet sounds of tennis. Summertime = tennis time, so either word fits, right?
As the days get longer and the sunshine gets warmer, it’s the perfect time to start working on your game. Dust off your racket and take a moment to learn five, quick, and useful tips to improve your tennis game.
These five tips come from Riemer Sijbring, the Tennis Pro at Santa Barbara Beach & Golf Resort in Curacao. Curacao experiences summer-like weather all year long, and as a result, Riemer gets to work on his game, and help others work on theirs, all-year-long.
Raised in the Netherlands, Riemer has traveled across Europe throughout his tennis career. He played in the Netherlands, Germany, and Portugal, and eventually made his way to idyllic Curacao where he remains today (because really, after visiting Curacao one does find it hard to leave).
Full of experience and knowledge, when asked which tips are most useful and easily implemented, Riemer responded with five of his favorite tips from Peter Burwash International (PBI) tennis tips. Riemer believes in the philosophy and teaching of PBI, and has shared the following for your enjoyment – and use!
Here Are Five Free Tennis Tips
1. Loose Wrist on The Serve
Maintaining a relaxed wrist on the serve is fundamental for power. The action on the serve is similar to throwing a ball. When your arm and wrist are loose you’re able to throw the ball farther. You can’t throw far with a tight arm. In the same way, a loose wrist allows you to “snap” on top of the ball and hit your serve with more power. The wrist also has to be loose in order to determine the direction that you give your serve.
2. Balance on The Serve
Another fundamental on the serve is balance. You have to be in balance on the serve for good power and direction. Many times people move their front foot or even both feet on the serve after they’ve tossed the ball, which causes them to be off balance and makes them more likely to hit the serve in the net or out. Keep your front foot in the same position for balance, whether you step in with the back foot or keep it anchored to the ground. You’ll find many more of your serves going in.
3. Think “Catch” on The Volley
Whenever you volley, hold the racket up high, well in front of your body in the ready position, and think “catch” as you step forward to make contact with the ball. Step forward with a crossover step whenever you can. Keep your racket out in front of your body the whole time: don’t take a backswing. The motion of the volley is very similar to catching a ball. Have your partner feed a ball and catch the ball out in front of you without your racket a few times to practice the motion, then practice with your racket.
4. Avoid Taking Your Racket Back on Every Shot
Just as you shouldn’t take your racket back on the volley, there are many more instances on the tennis court when you shouldn’t be taking your racket back. Think of the return of serve, especially when you’re playing against someone with a powerful serve. You’ll find yourself hitting the ball late and missing the return every time if you take a big swing at the ball. Just try to block the ball back. The same goes for a hard hit ball, or a ball hit right at your body. In these cases, just make contact with the ball and the strings of your racket and the power of the incoming ball will do the work. Don’t always think racket back as the ball is approaching, rather think to prepare the racket, which can sometimes mean taking a backswing and sometimes mean just blocking the ball back.
This is a tip on footwork. Make sure you do your “split-step”, which is a little hop right at the moment or even slightly before your opponent or hitting partner makes contact with the ball. You’ll find yourself being able to get to more balls. Don’t stand flat-footed waiting for the ball. High-level club players all the way up to the best players in the world from Federer, Nadal, Serena Williams, to Sharapova, all split-step before each ball they hit. So you should too!