Tennisopolis : Tennis Social Network

Have you ever used a sponge ball (those oversized orange/yellow now sold for kids) and played it back and forth over the net with your hand?

This is perhaps the most basic and most helpful drill of all.

If you don't have a partner, you can do this drill against a wall or your garage door. Once you are proficient with your hand, then do it with a racquet, first holding it short, then normal.

For the backhand, hit barehanded with the left hand first, then with the racquet, with the left hand short on the grip, then with your two-handed grip.

Work on control mostly, doing the three Fs (Find it, Feel it, and Finish), where you give the ball a good lift and at the finish you point to where the ball went with the butt of the racquet.

Brush up and across as well during the contact.

Initially, there will seem to be too little a time to finish the stroke as above, but with practice you'll feel a different rhythm and quite comfortable.

Move like a gazelle or a dancer, naturally, avoiding the skipping steps that complicate your performance.

Adopt a comfortable distance from the net or the wall, where you can easily keep the ball in play, back and forth.

Tennis is like a dance.

Oscar Wegner -

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Comment by Tim Prapong on September 6, 2013 at 3:56pm

Good drill. But if the student really knows the possible paths of the racquet face and where exactly to "swipe and shape" on the ball, the mystery is no longer there.

Comment by Lucile Bosche´ on September 5, 2013 at 5:36pm

I used it today with a senior player who was taught conventionally.  Although she had initial difficulty finding the ball, once she slowed down and actually looked at the bounce she successfully lifted the foam ball up and over the net with a nice finish, which she then immediately translated into a modern topspin FH stroke.

Comment by Oscar Wegner on September 5, 2013 at 5:28pm

Thank you, Lucile. Do you do this drill with most of your students?

Comment by Lucile Bosche´ on September 5, 2013 at 5:23pm

You would be surprised at how many players, at ALL levels, have initial difficulty with this simple drill.  

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