Backhand, Forehand And Serve – 3 Basic Tennis Strokes
Once you start playing tennis, you will need to learn rules and techniques in order to be able to play well. It will take some time, but be persistent. It is the only way to make progress. If you are not satisfied with your strokes, you can improve them significantly with hard work and practice. Since professional players have perfect strokes, watching them play will help you to realize what you should do to improve them.
You don’t need a lot of strength to perform these strokes, but the right technique. Learning the key elements of preparation and the correct way to create momentum will result with better shots on a consistent basis, which will give you the advantage over the opponent.
Tennis serve will probably be one of the first things you’ll need to learn after you start practicing tennis. It is a smooth and silent delivery of the tennis ball over the net, and there is an area of the tennis court that it must land in for the serve to be considered valid. Professional players are able to land the ball in a precise location every time they serve. It is one of the elements of surprise that every tennis player brings to a match.
To perform a serve, stand on the baseline and hold the tennis racket in the dominant hand, while the tennis ball should be in the non-dominant hand. The front foot should point towards the net post (approx. 45 degrees) and the back foot should be parallel to the baseline. You should use the continental grip while serving. To begin, press the ball and the racket together in front of you, then, simultaneously toss the ball in the air with a straight arm, while swinging the racket back in a relaxed motion. The knees should bend, your eyes should follow the ball, and you should transfer the accumulated energy from your feet, through your body and arm, to the ball. Remain open sideways until the contact. When practicing the serve, always practice the ball toss together with the backswing. They should not be practiced as two separate elements, because they are not, so you shouldn’t try to perfect them separately. Important is also to bear in mind that your full body needs to snap in order to hit the ball with the full force. You’ll need to relax your muscles and stretch your body to do so, as tension in your muscles won’t do any good.
You will need to be patient, because it will take a while before you learn how to perform an outstanding serve. The time spent learning to serve the ball will be time well spent, because the serve will one day be the one thing that could mean the difference between winning and losing. The serve motion will feel difficult at first, but if you are consistent with the practice, it will start to feel natural as breathing.
Backhand is any shot hit from your non-dominant side and it may be the most intimidating stroke in tennis. It can also be one of the player’s top weaknesses, so it needs to be practiced intensively to master the proper technique.
There are two main ways to hit a backhand: one-handed or two-handed. Both ways have their advantages, various strengths and weaknesses, and you should try both options to see which one is right for you. Two-handed backhand allows you to create more power, gives you more stability and control, and is good weapon when hitting higher balls. On the other hand, one-handed backhand is better for returning balls which are coming into the body, and it gives you a longer reach.
If you’re hitting a one-handed backhand, you should aim to hit the ball on the side at about waist-height. Your arm should go away from your body in a large and effortless swing. This means that you’ll need to pull the racket behind from your shoulder, so that the racket head appears behind your back. If you stop and wait for the ball without the swing, you won’t be able to create momentum and generate enough energy for hitting a powerful backhand. If your swing is good and you make sure your whole arm is loose and relaxed, without tension (especially the grip), you’ll hit the ball with little effort and let it fly with full power. It’s the same principal as for a successful serve: you need to act as if your body is a rubber band – you pull back in order to let it rip.
With two-handed backhand, a slight tension forms in the shoulder of your non-dominant arm, so you’ll need to muscle the ball through. Important is to pay attention to the rotation of your whole body – you are not just taking the racket back, but you are stretching and extending your dominant arm behind you in a large swing, and your hips and torso need to follow in order to gather enough energy and to have an explosive release of the racket. Pay attention to creating a loop when taking the racket back. The motion should be fluid, coming from above to down, because this way you’ll be able to deliver the racket to the ball properly. Some of the pro-tennis players have both arms cramped and bent when hitting the ball, but the suggestion for a club-level player would be to have both arms straight, as this will create the most power with the least effort. You should finish the stroke with your chest facing the opponent and your racket behind the shoulder of your dominant side.
To sum up, backhand is a long swinging motion, so you need to focus on the ball, good timing, balance, racket position and footwork, rather than hitting force. Work hard to learn how to use the backhand against your opponent, as it is one of the best weapons you can have.
The forehand is considered a player’s strongest move, as the players use their dominant hands to execute it. Key points to pay attention to are: footwork, balance and racket preparation. If you are hitting the ball from the baseline, you need to make sure to swing the racket from low to high, always starting at about a foot below the contact point, for a guaranteed net clearance. You should also always think about closing the racket face at the low point of the backswing, because you’ll probably send the ball well over the opponent’s baseline if you keep the racket open. Also, keep the racket vertical throughout the contact area, which should come rather naturally if you keep it closed at the low point. If you open the racket in the contact area, the ball will go long, and if you close it, you’ll just roll the ball over. Only after the contact are you free to relax your hand and arm across.
Same as for the backhand stroke, momentum and transferring the energy correctly is the key to a good forehand. You need to bend your knees, twist your hips and torso, and make a big swing behind you in order to generate the most power. You need to do the work with the largest parts of your body instead the smallest, which would be your arm and hand. Also, make sure to keep your arm relaxed, as the stiff arm and hard grip will only block the momentum and you’ll end up working really hard to create petty results.
Forehand is influenced by factors like age, body style, and optimal style of play, agility, strength and other factors that may influence it. A younger player may be able to handle more extreme grips, larger swings, and other progressive tennis, techniques whereas a seasoned player may benefit from more compact strokes and more traditional tennis grip choices. Either way, practice will make it perfect!
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