After moving to Pennsylvania in 2002, I needed to find a new racket stringer. Fortunately, I found Bev McGean. Bev has an enormous amount of experience stringing rackets and works with players to find just the right string and tension combination that is best for their game. Bev was the first stringer to introduce me to hybrid string combinations and has experimented with me and others to gain knowledge few possess. I highly recommend Bev to be your next stringer. She can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
1. When practicing serves, place the basket of balls 5 feet in front of you, so that every time you need to grab new balls, you will be forced to walk forward. This will help you develop the good habit of leaning forward as you serve.
2. Many teaching professionals will tell you to keep your eye on the ball. What they really should be saying is to “keep your head still.” Lifting your head at the last moment before contact with the ball causes movement in your shoulders, which are attached to your arm and end with your hand holding the racket.
Any sudden movement of your head will cause a movement in your racket head and create a miss hit. Take a second to watch this slow-motion video of Roger Federer hitting a forehand. Look how still his head is before and after hitting the ball, all the way to the end of his follow-through.
3. If you are ever having trouble hitting the ball cleanly, look for the seams on the ball as it is coming towards you. Actively doing this for a few points will help you laser in on the ball, tune out distractions, and get back into your groove.
4. Not all points are created equal. The set-up points — points that lead to a game point — should be played with a higher sense of awareness and urgency. When the score is 30-0, 30-15, 30-30, or deuce, take extra care to keep the ball in play. It’s easier to be aggressive on the following point when you have a game point in hand (and can afford an error).
5. In doubles, set your team up for a win by setting up your partner. Too often one player on a doubles team feels compelled to win every point — even from a bad position. For example, the player in the back of the court’s primary job is to set up their partner to win the point from up front. The over-aggressive player tries time and time again to pass the opposing net player, putting their own partner in a precarious position.
Wait your turn to be the hero! When you’re at net it will be your chance to hit those winning volleys.
6. Improve your serve by leaving your tossing arm straight up in the air — pointing at the ball — until the ball reaches its peak. This will help you develop better control over your toss and position your body for greater shoulder rotation as you reach up to stroke the ball.