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Tennis Tip: Developing a Winning Attitude
Like Mohammed Ali seemed to 'float like a butterfly, sting like a bee," tennis players can also achieve this fluid and effective performance. Any trainer will tell you to keep moving-this is to keep your muscles warm but there's more to this mantra!
Moving toward the ball is simple logic but how you get there is skill. The goal in reaching a fast-moving ball is getting to the ball and making contact as soon as possible. However, taking many small steps rather than large lunges will tighten your precision and position in hitting the incoming ball. Making smaller adjustments to your movement allows you to make corrections before the ball is at hand. Thinking smarter about getting into position will make you a more consistent player.
To give this a try, take on doubling the number of steps you normally take to get to the ball and begin to feel where you would like to be, ideally, to hit the stroke you want-this means you have ample room to swing and you're happy with your placement. Now don't take your time tippy toe-ing at the pace of a turtle- keep it quick and productive. Be intentional with getting to the ball with the purpose of setting up for the shot in mind.
Too often we just fixate on "trying to get the ball back." This mindset is lazy and defensive-that's not what we're here for-we're focused on improving your game one step at a time.
Problem Positioning to Notice:
1. Are you getting jammed up?
2. Are you swinging from too far away from the ball?
3. Are you turning your elbow inside out just to reach the ball?
4. Are you swinging at anything that comes your way?
You wouldn't purposely swing a serve at a bad toss so why swing silly at a ball placed improperly? You can't change how the ball is bouncing toward you but you can adjust where you take this ball-height and length from your body. This can happen by taking smaller steps to your destination keeping in mind where you need to be to hit that perfect shot.
Keeping it moving allows you to position your body toward the court and the ball. Fancy footwork just means smarter placement of your feet while reaching the sweet spot in time. Standing flat-footed can be done by anyone who steps on the court-you will step up your game by taking charge of how YOU will handle each shot. Play your game, not theirs.
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