LEARNING THE GAME OF TENNIS - A PERSPECTIVE by
“Tennis For the Rest of Us”
Fun. Having fun is probably the most motivating reason for playing tennis for the majority of players who are not collegiate or professional players. Basic to the fun factor is the concept of competition, which includes suspense. Although many players appreciate the mental and physical health benefits, most of us would not participate for very long without some level of inherent excitement and reward.
Reward is found in the process of doing. If you are fortunate enough to be able to take lessons, your efforts in a broad sense, no matter how good you are at the moment, are about getting to the next level. A feeling of improvement, or accomplishment is a key element involved in reward. Over a period of time if we don’t feel like we are getting better, we likely think about trying another sport, or worse, becoming a couch potato.
Improvement. The best road to improvement in tennis is to take private or group lessons from a competent teacher. Many people cannot afford private lessons, and if this applies to you, then group lessons are the way to go. Group lessons can be obtained through sports clubs, private tennis clubs, independent coaches, and city recreation departments.
“The Truth.” I don’t recall ever seeing a similar pronouncement in print… Realistically said, learning the sport of tennis has its inherent difficulties. From an overall viewpoint, tennis is not intuitive. This inopportune certainty is based on the reality that very little comes automatically in tennis, even to the athletically gifted. Most basic aspects of tennis require someone to physically model and explain essential movements which are required for consistency.
Tennis Information & Instruction. Once you develop an early level of stroke production from a qualified coach, you may want to search out additional info such as found in tennis websites, instructional publications, or videos. There is a lot of useless or even misleading information out there. Advice from an experienced tennis coach is a good avenue to follow when hunting for helpful materials.
Improper Form or Incorrect Playing Patterns. Obviously if you are plagued with bad hitting habits they may be difficult to unlock.
Poor Form, example. If you are in the early months of learning how to hit the ball, and you unconsciously tend to hit the ball flat, that is, without topspin or underspin, you will be held back at a low playing level indefinitely. Remedy: Spin is your friend. Learn how to hit topspin, or slice (underspin), and you will have better control for the rest of your playing life. Control is the name of the game.
Improper Playing Patterns, example. If you get in an early habit of playing in no-man’s / no-woman’s land, which is several feet or so inside the baseline, as soon as your opponents begin to hit the ball deeper in your court near your feet you will be hitting more defensive shots and losing more points. Remedy: Develop a habit of playing most of your groundstrokes from behind the baseline, or alternatively, learn to play up at the net more proficiently.
Your instructor. In any case, if you are not getting what you think you need from your teacher, discuss your opinions or feelings with him or her. Candor is preferable to silence. If you still are not satisfied with your progress as time goes on, it may be time to make a coaching change.
[2B-Learning the Game of Tennis – A Perspective by TennisTom] [Rev 5-30-11]