Spin is one of the most useful tools in a tennis player’s toolbox, and all of the best tennis players use it. If a player has great spin control, their shot selection is endless, and they can give themselves the opportunity to get out of any tough situation. The thing is, learning how to hit a flat ball is a lot easier, so kids tend to use this style of play first. While they are young, a flat ball can get them far, but once kids get bigger and faster, a flat ball player can no longer hang with the best of the best. In this article, we will go over what a spin player is, when to teach your child how to use spin, and how to go about doing so.
What is the difference between a spin and flat player? Spin players put spin on their shots. The spin allows them to change the flight path of their shots giving them more control and more options. A flat ball player hits with relatively little spin hitting the ball straight from point A to point B (pic below). While this is quite effective at a young age while kids have trouble covering the court, it becomes less useful as opponents grow and become more athletic.
(The difference between a flat and spin ball is the flight path of the ball. A spin ball has a lot more movement.)
As Coach Stephen Ondish at MRC likes to say “spin is like toilet paper, when you have it you can use as much or as little as you need, when you don’t… you’re not in a good situation.”
When to teach your child spin
If your child is 16 or older and is already a good player and looking to play in college, then you might just want to leave their strokes be. Unfortunately, it can take up to a year to change a person’s strokes, and with college applications around the corner, this might not be the time to change your child’s strokes. While they are learning new stroke mechanics, their level of play and ranking will drop. Once they have the new technique down, they will be able to get better faster and surpass their previous best but only after they put in the time. It can be a conversation worth having with your kid.
If your child is under 16 then, I would absolutely consider changing their strokes to add more spin. While their ranking and level of play might drop a little bit in the short run, they will be able to get a lot farther in the future because of it. However, anytime you want to change something in your child’s game it is important that they are on board before you pull the trigger. If their heart isn’t in it, then it could take much longer for them to change adding a lot of pain and frustration to the process. Making a change is a conversation that you should have with your child when contemplating action.
How to teach your child spin
To get your child to start using more spin, you should look around for a good technical coach. One way to do this is by simply looking for kids at tournaments that have good strokes and spin and ask their parents about their coach. Then ask around about that coach to try to get some more information. If you think they could be a good fit, try and see if you can get your child a lesson with them to test the waters before committing.
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