Two things make a great tennis player, Athletic Ability, and Technique.
Athletic ability is how explosive your child is, their physical strength, and how fast they move their feet and react to the ball. Without these things, your child will not be able to move themselves into position to hit their best shots.
Technique refers to your kid’s stroke mechanics and how they hit the ball. Proper technique is compact and allows players to use spin. Bad technique impedes your child’s performance by limiting what they can do.
You can and should be working on both of these. However, some of your child’s athletic ability is predetermined making technique that much more important. Since technique is taught, they can always change it to make it better, ensuring your child reaches their full potential.
In this article, we’ll go over what to look for in proper technique. Keep in mind every kid is different and will need improvement in various areas. Make sure to consult your child’s coach for more detailed and personalized instruction.
Compact and Simple
When watching someone’s technique, it should look compact and simple. Too much movement in your child’s strokes will increase the chances that they hit an unforced error since there will be more opportunities for the stroke to break down.
More movement means it takes your child more time to prepare their shots. If an opponent notices this, they can take time away from your child by either hitting the ball hard or moving in and coming up to the net. By taking away time from your kid, they will force them to hit more errors because they won’t be able to set up for their shots. Now, if your child is young (12 and Under) you probably will not see this problem because the kids aren’t big and strong enough to do this yet. Once children become old enough to exploit a weakness such as a long stroke preparation time, the only thing your child can do to get better would be to change their strokes.
Allow For Lots Of Spin
Aside from being compact and simple, technique should allow your child to hit with a lot of spin. Spin is what allows someone to adapt to their situation and change things up to throw their opponent off. Someone who only hits flat shots can’t switch to spin when needed making their game one-dimensional and easier to handle. Meanwhile, someone with spin can change things up and mix in shots such as high spin balls, softer short angles, and flatter harder balls always keeping their opponent off balance. You can see how much spin a player uses by looking at the balls they hit. A heavy spin ball will have a lot of movement in the air and will look like it is curving into the court. These are the types of balls your child should be hitting and what will help them become great players in the long run. You can find out more about spin in my article here. Just about all pros use a TON of spin. It is the spin that they use that allows them to be consistent, hit a variety of different balls, and hit the ball so hard. You can also check out my breakdowns of each stroke here.
When looking at your child’s technique, it should be compact, simple, and allow your child to hit a spinny ball. If it does not, you might want to find a coach that focuses on teaching technique and take a few lessons with them. You DO NOT have to give up their old coach or permanently switch coaches, but improving their technique will allow them to reach their fullest potential in the long run.
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